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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Turbine Engine Is Army's Number One Priority, Shyu Says

By Pat Host

The Army's new Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) is the service's "number one" priority, according to its acquisition chief.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Heidi Shyu said Monday the Army wants a new turbine engine so its helicopters can fly in high and hot conditions anywhere in the world. ITEP's increased range, she said, will also save the Army in the number of helicopters it needs.

Shyu said here at the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) conference that, ultimately, ITEP is to bridge a capability gap by supplying new engines for UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters before the Army fields its Future Vertical Lift (FVL) fleet. FVL is a new start program scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2017.

An Army official said last May it wanted new ITEP engines fielded by the mid-2020s and that ITEP engines could improve power and range between 15 and 18 percent (Defense Daily, May 5).

Shyu told Rotor & Wing after her presentation the Army is trying to get ITEP approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). She added the program looks "pretty sound" and that the Army has already developed its acquisition strategy.

So far, two contractors are pursuing ITEP, Shyu said: General Electric [GE] and a Pratt & Whitney-Honeywell [HON] joint venture called Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC). Both contractors, Shyu said, have invested a "fair" amount of their own money in addition to the Army's science and technology (S&T) investment. Neither GE nor Pratt & Whitney responded to a request for comment by press time.

Shyu said she wasn't sure if additional companies would enter the ITEP competition. Rolls-Royce also develops engines for rotary wing aircraft. Company spokesman George McLaren said Monday in an email Rolls-Royce is not under contract for ITEP but is closely following several follow-on opportunities with the Army.

Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp.

Related: Military News

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