GE’s prototype of its T901 turbine, selected by the Army for its Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP)

AAAA 2024 — The US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program is dead, but Sikorsky is using the remaining dollars for the year testing out a new engine it hopes to fly a UH-60M Black Hawk with early next year.

You could kind of view this as giving us a head start,” the company’s president Paul Lemmo told reporters on Wednesday.

After a lengthy delay receiving General Electric’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), also known as the T901, last year, Sikorsky and Bell began integrating them into their respective FARA prototypes. By February, though, the Army announced that they would halt FARA work at the end of fiscal 2024 and delay T901 production.

Since T901 is also slated to be integrated into the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache fleets and Sikorsky still has FARA money for its Raider X, it is using the last few months focusing on getting that engine ready for its Black Hawk fleet.

On April 10, the company “lit off” the T901 engine and turned rotors at a “low speed” for the first time on its FARA prototype, Lemmo said. 

“This is the first time it’s under a full load and a real aircraft, you know, turning rotors,” he added.

The plan is to continue doing similar ground runs to gather as much data as possible about the engine, while also getting a UH-60M Black Hawk ready for its integration. 

We are burning down risk for the ITEP engine to go on the Black Hawk,” he added. 

If all goes as planned, Lemmo said the company will receive a new T901 this summer, spend about a month integrating it into the Black Hawk and then spend five months conducting ground runs at various speeds. The goal is to have the helo up in the air shortly thereafter, around the early 2025 timeframe.