Egypt Endeavors to Enhance F-16 Engines
On Dec 18/09, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [pdf] Egypt’s request to buy parts and services from GE Aircraft Engines, in order to upgrade its most modern F-16s. Egypt wants to upgrade 156 of the F-110-GE-100 engines that power its F-16 C/D Block 40+ fighters through the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). Egypt will also buy transportation services, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor technical support, in a complete package that could be worth $750 million.
The Egyptian Air Force is the 4th largest F-16 operator in the world. The EAF’s first 82 F-16s were F-16 A/B Block 15s and F-16 C/D Block 32s; all used the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine…
Those F100 engines were reportedly retained in the 1996 upgrade program that brought the “Peace Vector I-II” F-16s to Block 40/42 equivalency.
The Peace Vector III-VI deals from 1991-2001, however, delivered 138 F-16 C/D Block 40 fighters with GE’s higher thrust F110 engine. An October 2009 request would add another 24 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters, powered either by the F110-GE-129 IPE, or by Pratt & Whitney’s upgraded F100-PW-229.
This is an example of the very successful dual engine program that came into effect several years after the F-16 became operational with USAF squadrons, and has resulted in cost savings and performance improvements for F-16 and F-15 fleets around the world. Under steady competition from the original incumbent Pratt & Whitney, GE’s F110 has erased its late start to become the #1 F-16 engine, and recently began adding customers among international F-15 fleets. The need to compete for ongoing USAF and foreign orders, however, has not allowed either firm to become complacent. General Electric’s F110 SLEP development efforts are designed to provide a 20% improvement in non-recoverable in-flight engine failures, a 25% improvement in cost-per-flight-hour, and a 50% extension in engine phase inspections compared to earlier-model F110s.
The proposed EAF F110 engine upgrades will be spread out over a 6-7 year period, in increments of approximately 24 upgraded engines per year. Implementation of this proposed sale requires the assignment of 5 additional contractor representatives to Egypt for a period of 6 years, to provide training and technical assistance.