Development of revolutionary engines at GE Aviation is setting the stage for the next 50 years in military aircraft propulsion, engineers there believe.
The engine can adapt in flight to give maximum thrust or long-range cruise, while a third stream of air will cool both the engine and the aircraft’s systems, explains Jean Lydon-Rodgers, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation’s military systems.
“The sixth-generation fighter engine is a big piece of the future of the business. That’s why we’re investing heavily in it,” says Lydon-Rodgers.
That investment also involves materials including ceramic matrix composites and titanium aluminides, and techniques such as additive manufacturing, to make the engines lighter and more robust while running hotter and providing more power. The military engines are benefitting from GE’s huge investment in such materials and manufacturing readiness for its next generation of commercial engines, which helps keep the costs down for the warfighter, she says.
Innovation! More range for fighters? Will this allow aircraft carriers greater stand-off range and improve our maritime security? Sure sounds like it.
Let me recommend again Vaclav Smil's Prime Movers of Globalization: The History and Impact of Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines, now available for Kindle:
What makes it possible for us to move billions of tons of raw materials and manufactured goods from continent to continent? Why are we able to fly almost anywhere on the planet within twenty-four hours? In Prime Movers of Globalization, Vaclav Smil offers a history of two key technical developments that have driven globalization: the high-compression non-sparking internal combustion engines invented by Rudolf Diesel in the 1890s and the gas turbines designed by Frank Whittle and Hans-Joachim Pabst von Ohain in the 1930s. The massive diesel engines that power cargo ships and the gas turbines that propel jet engines, Smil argues, are more important to the global economy than any corporate structure or international trade agreement.