Press release

October 07, 2008

GE Honda Aero Engines Prepares Hardware for First HF120 Development Engine

ORLANDO, Fla. -- GE Honda Aero Engines has begun releasing hardware designs and receiving manufactured hardware for its first HF120 development engine, in preparation for formal certification testing.

While the first HF120 development engine will begin assembly later this year, the program has experienced one of the most extensive engine test programs prior to the official start of FAA certification testing. To date, GE Honda Aero Engines has built and tested 10 HF120 engine cores and 10 full engine demonstrators.

"Utilizing design and field experience of both partners, GE Honda has optimized and fully verified the engine's design and performance," said Bill Dwyer, president of GE Honda Aero Engines. "This has given the team an unprecedented level of confidence as we look to begin our rigorous FAA development testing."

During demonstration testing at Honda's WAKO-Nishi R&D Center in Japan, the HF120 engine produced more than 2,100 pounds of thrust and exceeded its ambitious fuel efficiency target. The tests also verified the engine design's operability, thermal, mechanical and component efficiencies.

Certification testing will be completed in 2009 and will include flights on a flying testbed to enable the engine to undergo flight tests before flying on the customer certification aircraft in 2009. By entry into service, the HF120 is expected to have accumulated more than 15,000 cycles of ground and flight testing.

In August, GE's Lynn, Massachusetts, facility celebrated the opening of a dedicated GE Honda assembly area for the HF120 engine. Production will begin in Lynn next year and transition in 2010 to Honda Aero Inc.'s new engine production facility in Burlington, North Carolina. In less than 11 months after the groundbreaking ceremony, the Honda Aero facility is nearing completion. Tools and equipment are currently being installed, and employee occupancy is planned for next month.

The GE Honda HF120 engine was launched in 2006 and was selected to power Honda's advanced light jet, HondaJet, with service entry scheduled for 2010. The engine will also power the Spectrum Aeronautical "Freedom" business jet.

The HF120 engine, rated at 2,095 pounds of thrust, succeeds Honda's original HF118 prototype engine, which has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of testing on the ground and in-flight. GE and Honda redesigned the engine for higher thrust, while seeking new standards of performance in fuel efficiency, durability, and low noise and emissions.

The HF120 technologies include:

  • Fan: A wide chord, compound-swept front fan and two-stage booster. The front fan and booster are GE Honda blisk designs with the latest 3D aerodynamic design, the same technology used to design GE's GEnx engines and Honda's Formula One experience for lower weight and efficiency. The outlet guide vanes are composite for weight reduction.
  • Compressor: Features a high temperature, titanium impellor developed by Honda over the past 20 years for maximum engine pressure ratio and stall-free performance.
  • Combustor: Includes a compact reverse-flow configuration and single-stage air-blast fuel nozzles based on the Honda HF118-design. The liner is made of advanced material with laser-drilled, multi-hole cooling.
  • Turbine: Incorporated advanced materials, such as state-of-the-art single-crystal high-pressure (HP) turbine blade materials for durability. The low-pressure turbine (LP) is a two-stage configuration and a counter-rotating HP and LP spool shaft system provides further weight reduction.

The emergence of light, low-cost business jets creates considerable opportunity for highly reliable and durable jet engines. A key cost-of-ownership advantage of the HF120 will be the ability to operate at a best-in-class 5,000 hours major overhaul interval. Keys to this capability are the advanced airfoil materials and coatings that GE and Honda are maturing for the engine's high-pressure turbine section.

In 2004, GE and Honda formed its 50/50 joint company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, near the GE Aviation headquarters. The joint company integrates the resources of GE and Honda Aero, Inc., a Honda subsidiary established to manage its aviation engine business.

Honda (NYSE: HMC) is the world's largest engine manufacturer, annually producing more than 20 million engines for a wide range of products, including motorcycles, ATVs, generators, marine engines, lawn and garden equipment, and Honda and Acura automobiles.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings. GE traces its beginnings to Thomas A. Edison, who established Edison Electric Light Company in 1878.