The Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), procured originally to replace engines in the U.S. Army's Boeing
AH-64E and Sikorsky UH-60M helicopters, also might power the Army's future vertical lift light assault rotorcraft, according to media reports.
Army officials told reporters recently that the capabilities requested in the ITEP make it "certainly a candidate" for FVL category set one, which calls for a light armed reconnaissance and attack aircraft that eventually replaces the Army's aging Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warrior. Current competitors in the FVL light category include AVX, Bell Helicopter
, Karem, MD Helicopters
and a joint venture with Sikorsky and Lockheed-Martin.
A recent Government Accountability Office report stated that the ITEP acquisition called for 68 engines during development and 6,215 through procurement. But if the Army selects the engine for its FVL light rotorcraft, more engines may be requested.
The ITEP currently is in the source selection phase. GE Aviation and the Honeywell-Pratt & Whitney joint venture Advanced Turbine Engine Co. are the primary bidders, with Turbomeca as a potential third option. The program began in 2009 to explore replacements for the 2,000-shp-class GE T700. The Army wanted a 3,000-shp engine that could be installed easily with minimal modifications into the Boeing AH-64E and Sikorsky UH-60M airframes that currently use the T700. This new engine also would improve aircraft power-to-weight ratio, fuel consumption, engine life, and production and maintenance costs.