GE's second XA100 prototype completes Phase 1 testing

By Courtney Albon / December 15, 2021 at 10:57 AM

General Electric announced today it has finished the first phase of testing on its second XA100 adaptive cycle engine and is eyeing the start of Phase Two tests in early 2022 at the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

“Phase 1 testing allowed us to further characterize the operation of the engine and puts us in a great position to begin Phase 2 testing at AEDC,” David Tweedie, general manager for advanced combat engines at GE Edison Works, said in a press release today. “We continue to burn down risk with full-scale engine testing, which is why the XA100 is the lowest-risk, most capable, and fastest approach to keep the F-35 a preeminent fighter platform for the long term.”

GE developed the XA100 as part of the Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program -- a research and development effort to mature propulsion technology. Pratt & Whitney is also participating in the program.

As both companies’ prototypes -- which were designed to fit into an F-35 -- progress through testing, the Defense Department is considering how the F-35 program, in particular, could benefit from the improved propulsion capability.

The joint program office is working with the Air Force and Navy to develop options to either upgrade the existing Pratt & Whitney-made F135 engine or replace it with a more advanced system and expects to have a modernization plan in place sometime next year.