November 23, 1997 (by Lieven Dewitte) - General Electric Aircraft Engines has launched a program to manufacture an improved engine, meant to be installed in aircraft competing for the next Israeli purchase of US combat airplanes.
Called the Enhanced Fighter Engine, the improved F110-GE
-129 will be offered at a thrust rating of 34, 000 pounds, with demonstrated growth capability to 36, 000 pounds. The engine, which has already undergone tests, incorporates technologies developed for GE's Advanced Tactical Fighter engine and used on the F-18E/F combat aircraft and the B-2 bomber.
GE executives said the engine is meant for installation on the F-16 C/D and F-15E fighter planes. Both planes now are being offered to the Israel
Air Force in its tender for the next purchase of a squadron of combat fighters, scheduled to be awarded next October.
The engine's development are expected to be completed in 1999 and begin production the following year. The delivery of the first planes are scheduled for 2001. Industry sources said GE is trying capture a bigger piece of the combat aircraft engine market, now dominated by GE's competitor, Pratt and Whitney.
Lockheed Martin is considering an improved version that will increase its range. GE's F110 engine powers 75 percent of F-16 C and D models deployed in six air forces around the world, including Israel's. The engine is also in the F-2
of the Japanese Air Force.