US Army Accepts Engines of Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft

The US Army has accepted the first T901-GE-900 flight test engines that will power the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA).

The FARA initiative seeks to retain airspace dominance by developing a next-generation rotorcraft capability.

Alongside the upcoming helicopter, the new engine will be integrated into the service’s existing UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift and AH-64 Apache attack fleet.

GE Aerospace’s T901 Engine

Developed by GE Aerospace, the T901 turboshaft engine is based on the legacy T700 technology that has been powering UH-60s and AH-64s for some 40 years.

The firm said it curated the T901 to meet the US Army’s increasing requirements. On its current specifications, the engine has lesser fuel consumption while providing 50 percent more power compared to older iterations.

The solution’s simpler design was made with fewer parts, enabling reduced sustainment costs for operators.

Components used to fabricate the system included ceramic matrix composites and 3D-printed materials to produce more power at less weight.

According to GE, leveraging the T901 results in more payload, longer range, enhanced maneuverability, and low airspeed operability.

T901-GE-900 flight test engine
T901-GE-900 flight test engine. Photo: GE Aerospace

“We are thrilled to announce the acceptance of the revolutionary T901 by the US Army,” GE Aerospace Defense & Systems CEO and President Amy Gowder said.

“The performance, power, and reliability of the T901 – combined with GE’s decades of experience powering Army rotorcraft – will ensure our warfighters have a significant advantage on the battlefield.”

FARA Helicopter Developments

The US Army works with two selected prototypes for the future FARA vehicle.

The candidates include the RAIDER X developed by Lockheed Martin, and the 360 Invictus by Bell Textron. Both were announced as pitches for the effort in 2019.

In February, Bell announced that the Invictus was 95 percent complete. Lockheed said its platform was 92 percent finalized in October 2022.

The same year, the US Army completed the initial test for GE Aerospace’s T901 engine.

In November 2021, the army trialed the performance of a 20-millimeter Gatling gun that will serve as the FARA helicopter’s armament.

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