Press releases

GE’s Catalyst passes altitude tests


Turin, 1 August 19 - GE’s CatalystTM, a new, clean-sheet turboprop engine developed entirely in Europe with all EU technologies, has taken another important step in its development and certification program. It has successfully completing altitude testing at Canada’s National Research Council Altitude Test Facility, where the engine has been tested up to 41,000 feet (12,496 m).
To date, the Catalyst has passed 1,100 hours of testing, with over 850 starts. While the engine is gaining strong interest for civil applications, its technological characteristics and performance, also make it an excellent candidate for military markets (UAVs, Trainers and Light transport).

The Catalyst is the first clean-sheet turboprop engine to hit the general aviation market in more than 50 years, enabling better performance through proven GE European technologies. It currently has 98 patented technologies and is the first engine in its class to introduce two stages of variable stator vanes, cooled high-pressure turbine blades and 3-D printed parts from Avio Aero. It performs at an industry-best 16:1 overall pressure ratio. These key technologies enable GE’s Catalyst to extract more power at altitude, optimizing it for high-altitude operations with a small frontal section architecture that enables a significant reduction in drag. Performance is also a significant subject: the new cutting-edge technologies could allow a 15% of fuel consumption compared to competing engines, allowing a 10% increase in the payload capacity together with an increase in loitering time of more than 2 hours compared to a ‘typical’ UAV mission.

"The Catalyst engine stands out from other turboprops on the market due to the different and important characteristics that make it unique: the FADEC (integrated Full Authority Digital Engine and Propeller Control System) makes it easier to integrate the engine with the aircraft and allows Real-Time Health Monitoring together with the optimization and personalization of maintenance activities,” said Paolo Salvetti, Military Sales Director & Product Growth Leader of Avio Aero. “It has a high compression ratio and the compressor has a variable geometry. It is possible to increase the power of the engine by around 200 HP without hardware modifications.”

The other distinctive aspect of GE Aviation's new turboprop is its “European credentials”. The engine was not only designed entirely in Europe, but it will also be produced in Europe. Eight countries will be involved in its production, including Germany, which will benefit from its industrial return.

In addition to ensuring the European independence and the technological growth and capacity of our industries, the European flag, a distinctive feature of the Catalyst, offers another important competitive advantage: the ability to export without being bound by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR regime). The Catalyst is an ITAR-free engine, which means it is not subject to US export control. The military version of the Catalyst will be subject only to the Italian or Czech export regime.
GE’s Catalyst is expected to fly for the first time before the end of this year in Europe.

Information on Avio Aero

Avio Aero is a GE Aviation business that designs, manufactures and maintains components and systems for civil and military aviation. Today, the company provides its customers with innovative technological solutions to quickly respond to the continuous changes required by the market: additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping as well as technologies dedicated to the production of transmissions, turbines and combustors. The company's head office is in Rivalta di Torino, where its largest production facility is also located, and other important facilities are situated in Brindisi and Pomigliano d'Arco (Naples), with a total of over 4,200 employees employed in Italy, while abroad it has a production facility in Poland, with over 600 employees. Through continuous investment in research and development and a consolidated network of relationships with major universities and international research centers, Avio Aero has developed a globally recognized level of technological and manufacturing excellence, as evidenced by the partnerships signed with the world's leading aviation companies.

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