The U.S. Army delivered engines for helicopter prototypes at Fort Worth-based Bell Textron and Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky, as the companies compete to make the military branch’s next-generation scouting helicopter.
The delivery marks the next steps of the competition, completing the building processes. Sikorsky’s answer to the Army’s request is the S-97 Raider X. Bell’s entry is the 360 Invictus. Both companies promise aircrafts that can fly faster than predecessors.
Powering the Bell and Sikorsky’s prototypes are new 3,000-shaft horsepower T901 engines made by GE Aerospace. It’s the first aviation turbine engine to be developed and delivered since the T700 for the Black Hawk fleet in the 1970s, according to the Army.
“The T901’s fuel efficiency improves the enduring fleet’s range, and loiter time, while the engine’s reliability and life improvements reduce maintenance and sustainment costs,” the release said.
Bell said in a release that it will complete tests to make sure the aircraft is ready to fly for the first time.
“As well, we continue to advance and meet Army requirements for an open weapons system design that provides the next level of lethality and survivability into our warfighters’ arsenal,” said Chris Gehler, senior vice president and program director of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft program.
Lockheed Martin says the Army will also transition the new engine to the UH-60 Black Hawk fleet. Sikorsky’s Future Vertical Lift vice president, Andy Adams, said the engine is more fuel efficient and is more powerful.
“As the U.S. Army fields Future Vertical Lift aircraft, the Black Hawk will remain the foundational tactical air assault and utility aircraft for the U.S. Army,” Adams said in a statement.
The companies will fly their prototypes in late 2024.
Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @sbodine120. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.