Another $50.5M to Upgrade American F110 Jet Engines
General Electric Aviation of Cincinnati, OH received a $50.5 million contract modification which will provide newly redesigned High Pressure Compressor and High Pressure Turbine assemblies, newly redesigned Aging Engine Upgrade Components, initial provisioning spares, and new technical data to support the F110-GE-100/-129 jet engines’ Service Life Extension Plan (SLEP) and Aging Engine Upgrade initiatives. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the 448th SCMG/PKBC at Tinker Air Force Base, OK.
The F110-GE-100 engine flies in USAF F-16C/D Block 30 and Block 40 aircraft. The F110-GE-129 engine, which first entered service in 1992, equips F-16 Block 50 aircraft, which is the most recent USAF production version. Although Pratt & Whitney’s F100 was the initial engine for all F-16s, its maintenance and performance problems escalated to the point that the USAF began buying the newly-developed GE F110 engine instead, which featured more reliability and higher thrust. It also required a larger air inlet, hence the “bigmouth” F-16 designs from Block 30/32 onward. The resulting competition has spurred both manufacturers to improve their products over the years, and Pratt & Whitney’s F100-PW-229 has scored a number of recent wins among international F-16 customers, but most serving USAF F-16s fly with GE’s F110 engine.
As the 2005 contract date implies, this award is just one of a long series. The F110 SLEP upgrade uses technology from the CFM56-7 commercial engine core in use by modern 737s, 3D aero technology, and a redesigned flow path with changes to the combustor and high-pressure turbine. GE believes these changes provide up to a 25% improvement in cost-per-flying-hour, a significant time-on-wing increase, and elimination of special inspections, and estimates the potential life-long savings at approximately $1 billion for 800 F110 engines (FA8104-05-C-0053, PO0018).