The paper trail for the budget of the F-35 Lightning II jet fighter is about to get a little bit longer. American defense contractor General Electric announced they’ve built a second prototype of the new XA100 adaptive cycle turbojet engine for the express purpose to use it for the Joint Strike Fighter program.
The first prototype of the XA100 engine went online in December of last year and marked the first time a flight-weight three-stream adaptive cycle engine had run successfully. According to General Electric, the XA100-GE-1000 engine uses three key innovations to bring the program to life.
Innovations made in adaptive engine cycling and thermal management have made for a powerplant that generates 10% more thrust and uses 25% less fuel according to research data. The engine will be able to operate on any U.S Air Force-approved biofuels under those specifications.
“The U.S. Air Force and Congress have invested more than $4 billion in adaptive cycle engine development over the past 14 years to mature its associated technologies,” said David Tweedie, GE Edison Works’ General Manager for Advanced Combat Engines.
“We’re confident this phase of the program will significantly reduce risk and prepare GE for a low-risk engineering and manufacturing development program, consistent with Air Force objectives.”
Once more prototypes have been completed and the first stage of testing completed, General Electric intends to send these jet engines to the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC). There, any final bugs will be thoroughly worked out before they’re certified to enter service with the most controversial military project of the 21st century.
The F-35 Program has cost nations across the globe over $1.7 trillion so far. With its innovative new jet engine design, General Electric hopes the plane’s new engine, at the very least, arrives on schedule and on budget.