The Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine (AATE) program is a 3000 horsepower engine demonstrator program to provide advanced propulsion capability for future Army rotorcraft platforms. Specifically, AATE focused on developing a new, advanced turboshaft engine to support modernization requirements to ensure the Apache and Black Hawk remain operationally effective well into the future.
AMRDEC’s Aviation Development Directorate (ADD) led the Science and Technology (S&T) effort to develop a new centerline engine, focused on three objectives:
- Significant reduction in specific fuel consumption (SFC).
- Significant improvement in shaft horsepower to weight ratio (Hp/wt).
- Significant reduction in Life Cycle Cost (LCC).
Development and Capabilities
The AATE program included two competing demonstrator engine approaches; one award with General Electric and one award with the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC), a joint venture of Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney engine companies. The AATE program culminated in 2014 by completing originally planned full engine system demonstrations including performance, durability, and sand tests for the two competing architectures. These system demonstrations along with many related component level demonstrations and associated design code validations significantly mitigate the risk of transitioning the advanced turboshaft engine technology to a planned program of record, known as Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP). The ITEP, managed by PEO Aviation, has completed its analysis of alternatives (AoA) phase and is positioned to enter into a technology maturation phase of development.
The AATE configuration was designed to fit into both the Black Hawk and Apache installation envelopes. The engine provides 50% higher power at the same weight as the current fielded engine. Significant effort was expended to ensure robust operation in austere environments to include the use of advanced inlet particle separation technologies, erosion resistant coatings, and ruggedized blading.
The improved fuel efficiency, reliability and maintainability characteristics, and the drive for lower engine production and maintenance costs with the new engine approach addresses the need for reduced Aviation O&S costs. The AATE technology enables improved range & payload capability and increased hot / high operational capability for Apache & Black Hawk platforms and is applicable to other service, current rotorcraft fleets as well as Future Vertical Lift (FVL) rotorcraft.