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GE receives T700-401C/AH-1Z contract

June 02, 2008

Lynn, Mass. - Performance and persistence quite often do pay off. Case-in-point: After several years of working closely with the U.S. Navy and Marines Corps, GE-Aviation has been awarded $1.4 million in initial funding to perform nonrecurring engineering work associated with the integration of an engine upgrade into the AH-1Z helicopter.

This represents the first of three anticipated blocks of funding, each with a distinct set of deliverables. Under this arrangement, GE-Aviation, as a subcontractor to helicopter manufacturer Bell, will ship three instrumented T700-401C flight-test engines from its Lynn, Mass., facility later this year.

The original AH-1W Super Cobra is powered by two GE T700-401 engines, and serves as the Marines Corps' primary attack helicopter, seeing daily action in Iraq and elsewhere. Under the upgrade program, up to 180 existing AH-1Ws will be re-manufactured to the new AH-1Z configuration, transitioning from a 2-blade rotor to a 4-blade rotor powered by twin Lynn-built T700-401C engines, plus a new main gearbox and all new avionics.

The T700-401C offers nearly 10 percent additional power over the -401, and this boost in power is expected to truly elevate the warfighter. Steve Manton, GE's manager - T700 Navy and Marines Programs, said, "We are excited about this initiative and firmly believe that this engine upgrade offers the best solution for this platform and our military customer. It increases commonality with the Sikorsky Seahawk and Bell Huey platforms, another plus for the customer."

Overall, the AH-1Z features several enhancements over the baseline AH-1W, including higher loads, better maneuverability, flexibility, survivability, a full digital glass cockpit, plus advanced electronic warfare protection and a crashworthy fuel system to further reduce risk of fire. The AH-1Z will be able to operate from both land and sea platforms.

GE's successful T700/CT7 family of turboprop and turboshaft engines currently powers 25 types of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in service with more than 130 customers in more than 50 countries.

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