Earlier this year, the Army declared General Electric (GE) the winner of the competition for the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), which will replace the existing power plants on Black Hawk and Apache helicopters and potentially power the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). The award was based on a preliminary design review, essentially a paper description of the proposed engine. Limited testing of components was performed, but not of an entire working engine. The result is a greater risk to the warfighter. The Army would be wise to invest the relatively small amount of money required to take both that engine and the one proposed by its competitor, the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC), further into EMD, particularly to engine testing. Doing so would give the warfighters confidence that they were getting the best helicopter engine possible. I have written more on this subject here.
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