$69.7M for F-16s’ F110 Engine Upgrades
The F-16 originally shipped with Pratt & Whitney’s F-100 engine, giving it commonality with the USA’s high-end F-15 Eagles. While the engine was a marvel of its time and its 1:1+ thrust-weight ratio offered the fighter strong performance, rival GE would eventually develop the higher-thrust F110 engine and capture the majority of the market for USAF F-16C/D variants. That success would later be cited in arguments to retain the GE/Rolls Royce F136 as a second engine option for the F-35 Lightning II.
General Electric Aircraft Engines of Cincinnati, OH recently received a firm-fixed price contract modification for $69.7 million to provide for newly redesigned High Pressure Compressor (HPC) and High Pressure Turbine (HPT) assemblies, and new redesigned Aging Engine Upgrade components to support the Service Life Extension Plan (SLEP) and Aging Engine Upgrade (AEU) initiatives applicable to keep the US F-16 fleet’s F110-GE-100/129 engines running for an other 20 years. DID covered a similar contract in December 2006, and some of the engine’s updates were also touted in GEAE’s sale of improved F110-GE-129s to Saudi Arabia. There, they will equip part of the Saudi F-15S Strike Eagle fleet, which currently uses the F100 engine.
The F110 improvements include the core of a successful CFM56 commercial engine, 3D aero technology, and the upgrades noted above. Together, they reportedly provide up to a 25% improvement in cost-per-flying hour, a significant on-wing increase, and elimination of special inspections. Tinker Air Force Base, OK holds the F-16 fleet upgrade contract, and all funds for this US contract have been obligated (FA8104-05-C-0053-P00012).