Army’s Decision On Huge Helicopter Engine Program Will Impact GE, Honeywell, United Technologies

Sometime in the very near future, probably this month, the U.S. Army will announce the winner of a competition to develop a new engine for most of the service?s helicopters. Called the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), it is a multibillion-dollar effort that has often been described as the Army?s top aviation modernization priority.

It isn?t hard to see why. The weight of Army light and medium helicopters has been growing by 70-100 pounds per year since they debuted in the last century as new equipment, munitions and armor were added. As a result, both the Black Hawk utility helicopter and the Apache attack helicopter are under-powered when operating in ?high-hot? conditions, meaning above 6,000 feet in temperatures of 95 degrees or greater.


Black Hawk Turns 40

The U.S. Army doctrine of moving soldiers quickly into and out of enemy territory by air was a staple of Vietnam, which made the Bell UH-1 an emblem of the Helicopter War.

With 40 years of service ? much of it in combat ? the H-60 Black Hawk has achieved similar status as an ever-present aircraft delivering troops, rescuing wounded soldiers and hovering over U.S. operations in post-9/11 conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Since its introduction to service in 1978, Sikorsky has churned out more than 4,000 H-60 airframes in a variety of configurations. Now owned by Lockheed Martin, the company built 600 A-model Black Hawks, 800 UH-60Ls and 1,200 UH-Ms outfitted with a modern glass cockpit.