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General Atomics 200-Horsepower Engine Moves Closer to Certification

General Atomics has completed durability testing on its new 200-horsepower heavy fuel engine, which offers a maintenance-free operational period of 2,500 hours (over 100 days).

The Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) 2.0’s full operational period was simulated during the final test, featuring the highest flight loads possible.

It included “conditions simulating 1,250 full power take-offs and climbs to high-cruising altitude, and over 200 hours of cruise in worst-case generator loading conditions,” General Atomics explained.

Greater Power, Less Maintenance

General Atomics and General Atomics Europe partnered with global firms in the engine’s development, including Northampton-based propulsion technology innovator Cosworth.

The HFE 2.0’s new gearbox and dual brushless generators help reduce the engine’s field maintenance.

The General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems generators deliver over 50 percent more electrical power with the same size, weight, and power of the existing brushed generator.

Greater electrical power enables new payloads and mission requirements.

“Our HFE 2.0 engine is now the best heavy fuel engine in aviation,” General Atomics President David R. Alexander said 

“Hats off to our Internal Research and Development team whose ingenuity and technical sophistication inspired the HFE 2.0 program, allowing us to develop a more reliable and durable engine that also addresses diminishing manufacturing sources for aviation heavy fuel engines and components.”

Replacement of 180-Horsepower Engine

The HFE 2.0 powers the latest General Atomics unmanned aerial system, the Gray Eagle 25M.

Moreover, it is being considered as a replacement of the US Army’s 180-horsepower engine, powering the Gray Eagle Extended Range drone.

Final 150-hour qualification testing is scheduled to be completed in September followed by certification by the US Army.

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