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A fundamental change in the way gas turbine engine critical rotating components are managed is underway in both the gas turbine engine industry and the government. These components, whose failure would cause catastrophic damage to the engine and aircraft, were originally designed to operate to a "safe-life" and then be replaced. Under the new approach, they will be inspected at specified intervals and replaced only if they show signs of damage. The Vehicle Technology Center is an active participant in developing the Army's Retirement For Cause (RFC) philosophy both for existing engines and those currently under development. A report entitled "Life Management of Critical Components on the T700 Engine" was produced through direct input from VTC in cooperation with NASA, the Air Force, the Navy, and other commands within the Army. This study was prompted by the Army's need to find a less expensive way of maintaining an aging helicopter fleet while sustaining or enhancing flight safety. Continuing work will include: detailed plans for the implementation of an RFC program for the T700 engine: an examination of other existing engines as possible candidates for RFC; standards for future Army propulsion systems with an emphasis on minimizing engine downtime for inspections and maximizing flight safety.
POC: Peter J. Bonacuse
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Updated: March 12, 2004