What does it take to build the world's largest jet engine? For GE Aviation's GE9X engine that will power Boeing's 777X aircraft, it will take more than 20 sites and an investment of more than $600 million in plant, equipment and tooling.
"The supply chain for the GE9X engine has a wide global footprint, stretching from our facilities in Canada, Italy, Poland and the US to our international participants located in Belgium, France, Germany and Japan," said Ted Ingling, general manager of the GE9X engine program at GE Aviation. "Several sites, such as Peebles, Durham, Batesville and Avio Aero's Pomigliano, had to make significant changes to accommodate the engine's large size."
The GE Aviation facilities in the GE9X supply chain are:
- Evendale, Ohio: Program management, development assembly and lean labs
- Asheville, North Carolina: Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) Nozzles
- Auburn, Alabama: Additive fuel nozzles
- Batesville, Mississippi: Composite fan stator
- Bromont, Canada: Compressor airfoils
- Dayton, Ohio: Turbine blades, ducts and tubes
- Durham, North Carolina: Propulsor assembly
- Greenville, South Carolina: Turbine blades
- Jacksonville, Florida (Unison): Turbine ignitions components, sensors and harnesses
- Lynn, Massachusetts: Seals
- Middle River, Maryland: Thrust reversers
- Muskegon, Michigan: Shrouds
- Newark, Delaware: CMC shrouds, nozzles and combustor liners
- Norwich, NY (Unison): Sensors
- Peebles, Ohio: Final assembly and development and production testing
- Rutland, Vermont: Compressor airfoils
- San Marcos, TX (CFAN): Composite fan blades
- Terre Haute, Indiana: Combustor assembly
- Victorville, California: Flight testing
- Wilmington, North Carolina: Rotating parts
- Winnipeg, Canada: Icing tests
Avio Aero facilities:
- Pomigliano D'Arco (Naples), Italy: Low pressure turbine assembly
- Cameri (Novara), Italy: Low pressure turbine blades
- Bielsko-Biala, Poland: Low pressure turbine vanes
- Brindisi, Italy: low pressure turbine case
- Rivalta Di Torino, Italy: Gearboxes
- Borgaretto di Beinasco (Turin), Italy: Gearboxes
The GE9X supply chain also includes international participants: IHI Corporation of Japan, Safran Aircraft Engines of France, Safran Aero Boosters of Belgium and MTU Aero Engines AG of Germany.
The 100,000-pound thrust class GE9X engine continues certification testing with flight testing on GE's flying testbed scheduled for later this year. The engine will have the largest front fan at 134 inches in diameter with a composite fan case and 16 fourth-generation carbon fiber composite fan blades. Other key features include; a next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio 11-stage high-pressure compressor; a third-generation TAPS III combustor for high efficiency and low emissions; CMC material in the combustor and turbine and the most efficient low-pressure turbine GE has ever built.
Almost 700 GE9X engines are on order.
To see the GE9X in action:
- Watch the GE9X during preliminary icing testing: https://youtu.be/YuW6hhKype4
- Catch the first GE9X engine to test: https://youtu.be/NwNoljF2tMA
- See what it takes for Avio Aero to build the low-pressure turbine: https://youtu.be/UR5riZaKy1E