F118 engine continues altitude performance testing at AEDC

AEDC Test Operations personnel make final inspections of an F118-GE-100 engine prior to altitude testing.  The engine, which powers the B-2 bomber, is part of the F118 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), which supports the Air Force’s Component Improvement Program.

AEDC Test Operations personnel make final inspections of an F118-GE-100 engine prior to altitude testing. The engine, which powers the B-2 bomber, is part of the F118 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), which supports the Air Force’s Component Improvement Program.

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN -- Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) is currently testing the F118-100 General Electric (GE) engine, power plant for the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, in the center's Engine Test Facility J-1 Test Cell.
This particular test is part of GE's Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), which is under the Air Force's Component Improvement Program that replaces several components of the F118, F110 and F101 engines with a common core system.
According to 2nd Lt. Ezra Caplan, the AEDC Air Force program manager for the test, the purpose of the SLEP program is to increase sustainability and support of the three engine fleets while preserving the performance on the aircraft itself.
"We want the aircraft to be able to fly like it has flown in the past, whether it's the U-2 or the B-2 program," he said.
The F118-100 is currently undergoing altitude performance tests to ensure the new engine components match the required performance for the aircraft. The tests will run through March with 90 hours of running time expected.
"Everything has gone smoothly so far," said Mark Cross, Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) senior project engineer. "We had a highly successful check-out run and we met 145 percent of our test objectives on the first run, which is beyond normal of what you would expect to get done."
AEDC also completed tests ahead of schedule on the F118-101engine, which is the power plant for the U-2, late last year. According to Caplan, this was one of the most critical tests performed in 2005.
"We really had a phenomenal effort by the J-1 test team," said Caplan. "They really did a great job taking in, not only what we had to do, which was more than enough for the short time period, but they also incorporated some additional test objectives."
"I would like to acknowledge the J-1 test team for their concerted effort to successfully complete the F118-101 test program ahead of schedule," said Cross.
"That test team includes the GE test group at AEDC and Evendale, Ohio, and the AEDC team comprised of the Air Force and ATA teams, including Test Operations, Instrumentation and Controls, Data Analysis and Processing, Project Engineering, Security and Plant Operations. The level of teamwork and professionalism exhibited is greatly appreciated."