General Electric’s big win in the race to re-engine U.S. Army attack and utility helicopters will support jobs in at least 12 states, including 100 engineering positions at the Massachusetts facility where the company has built the legacy T700 engine for decades.
It was announced Feb. 1 that GE beat out a Pratt & Whitney/Honeywell joint venture to produce the T901 as the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine, a drop-in replacement for the T700 in the Boeing AH-64 Apache and Sikorsky UH-60 helicopters. The $517 million engineering and manufacturing development contract almost certainly will lead to billions in follow-on production contracts.
GE Aviation will perform most of the work in Lynn, Massachusetts, where the contract will support 100 equivalent full-time engineers, the company said.
In Huntsville, Alabama, the company is opening two ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material production facilities “to ensure there is sufficient production capability for future engines like the T901,” the company said in a statement. Through the ITEP preliminary design review, GE showed that CMCs can improve performance in the hot section of single-spool engines.
The $200 million investment in those facilities will support another 300 workers.
Auburn, Alabama, already is home to a 300,000-square-foot additive manufacturing facility into which GE plans to pour another $50 million to prepare for additional production work. When the expansion is complete, the company will have invested a total $125 million and created 300 jobs in Auburn since 2011.
Aside from those two states, T901 engineering and production work will be conducted in Norwich, Conn.; Newark, Del.; Loves Park, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Madisonville, Ky.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Muskegon, Mich.; Hooksett, N.H.; Asheville, N.C.; West Chester, Evendale, and Dayton, Ohio and Rutland, Vt.
That work will proceed apace, barring a bid protest by the Pratt/Honeywell team, called the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC). A protest has not been filed and in a Feb. 1 statement, ATEC simply said it “remains fully committed to performing on current and future Army programs to provide critical capabilities to the Army’s aviators.”