GE Begins First Adaptive Cycle Engine Tests at Arnold Engineering Development Complex

The U.S. Air Force and GE initiated Phase 2 testing of GE’s second XA100 adaptive cycle engine at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) in March. This milestone marks the first test of an Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) engine at AEDC.

“AEDC’s advanced testing facilities are a unique national asset. We’re thrilled to begin testing here and continue maturing this propulsion system that we believe represents the future of the F-35,” said David Tweedie, GE Edison Works’ general manager for Advanced Combat Engines. “Our testing to date has validated the XA100’s transformational capability, and we’re looking forward to seeing the performance data from Phase 2 testing.”

GE completed Phase 1 testing of this XA100 test engine in November 2021 in Evendale, Ohio. Phase 2 testing will take place entirely at AEDC, representing the capstone of AETP and signaling readiness to transition this technology into full-scale development.

GE’s XA100 became the world’s first ever flight-weight, three-stream adaptive cycle engine in December 2020 before initiating tests on its second engine in August 2021. GE’s engine is uniquely designed to fit both the F-35A and F-35C without any structural modifications to either airframe, enabling better aircraft range, acceleration, and cooling power to accommodate next-generation mission systems, while also ensuring durability and enhanced readiness.

“The XA100 simultaneously provides transformational improvements in fuel efficiency, thrust, power, and thermal management that simply cannot be matched by legacy propulsion systems,” Tweedie added. “These improvements will help ensure the F-35 remains a preeminent fighter platform not just in the near-term, but for decades into the future, and will enable lower operational and sustainment costs for the services.”