GA-ASI Completes Durability Testing for New Heavy Fuel Engine

U.S. Army is considering the HFE 2.0 engine to replace the current 180hp engine used on Gray Eagle-Extended Range UAS
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  • 09:42 AM, May 30, 2024
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GA-ASI Completes Durability Testing for New Heavy Fuel Engine

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has completed durability testing for its new 200-horsepower Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) 2.0 at its flight facility in El Mirage, California.

First flight of the HFE 2.0 engine took place on May 9, 2023.

The engine, which features a newly designed gear box and dual brushless generators from General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS), is engineered to achieve 2,500 hours between scheduled overhauls, extending maintenance-free operational periods.

The final durability test replicated the engine's full 2,500-hour lifespan under the highest operational loads, simulating conditions such as 1,250 full power take-offs, climbs to high cruising altitudes, and over 200 hours of cruising under worst-case generator loads. This rigorous testing ensures the engine's capability to perform in demanding environments.

The U.S. Army is considering the HFE 2.0 as a replacement for the current 180-horsepower engine used in GA-ASI's Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE ER) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Additionally, the HFE 2.0 is integral to the modernized Gray Eagle 25M (GE 25M) UAS, which is being produced to support future Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) UAS missions under a U.S. Army-funded program.

GA-ASI teamed up General Atomics Europe and propulsion technology innovator Cosworth to work on the engine. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) designed and built the engine’s dual brushless generators to reduce field maintenance and with the same Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) of the existing brushed generator, will deliver over 50% more electrical power for new payloads and mission capabilities.

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

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