The Air Force has awarded General Electric a contract with a maximum potential worth of $185 million to continue developmental work that holds the potential of vastly improving the performance of turbine engines, the Department of Defense announced Nov. 3. Under the terms of the deal, GE will move into phase II of the Air Force Research Lab-led versatile affordable advanced turbine engines program that aims to mature revolutionary and innovative technologies by around 2017 that will enable an order of magnitude increase in affordable turbine propulsion compared to state-of the-art technology from 2000. GE will execute “some smaller efforts” for VAATE phase III under this deal, DOD said. VAATE-derived engines are envisioned for future strike aircraft and missiles as well as sensor platforms and reusable space-access vehicles. Just last week, the Air Force announced a contract award to Lockheed Martin for VAATE phase II and phase III work.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.