F110-GE Turbofan Engine.jpg
A F110-GE-100 turbofan engine to be used in an F-16, ca.1986
Type Turbofan
National origin United States
Manufacturer General Electric
First run 1980s
Major applications General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
Grumman F-14 Tomcat
McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle
Mitsubishi F-2
Developed from General Electric F101
Variants General Electric F118

The General Electric F110 is an afterburning turbofan jet engine produced by GE Aviation. The engine is derived from the General Electric F101 and shares its core design, and primarily powers tactical fighter aircraft. The F118 is a non-afterburning variant of the F110. The engine is also license-built in Eskisehir, Turkey by TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI).[1][2]

Design and development

The F110 emerged from an intersection of efforts in the 1970s by General Electric to reenter the U.S. fighter engine market and the U.S. Air Force's desire to address the reliability, longevity, and maintenance issues with the Pratt & Whitney F100 engines that powered its F-15s and F-16s. In 1975, General Electric used its own funds to begin developing the F101X, a derivative of its F101 engine for the B-1 bomber; the F101X would inherit much of the core design while having a smaller fan so that its thermodynamic cycle and thrust was better suited for a fighter engine. The cancellation of the B-1A by the Carter Administration (in lieu of the Advanced Technology Bomber which became the B-2) meant a loss of business for General Electric, and provided further impetus to provide the F101X for the fighter engine market. The engine attracted the interest of the Air Force's Engine Model Derivative Program (EMDP), and in 1979 began funding it as the F101 Derivative Fighter Engine, or F101 DFE. The Air Force saw the F101 DFE as a potential alternative to the F100 and also a way to coerce better performance from Pratt & Whitney in addressing issues with the F100.[3]

An F110 engine undergoes performance testing at the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center.
An F110 engine undergoes performance testing at the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center.

Following the completion of ground tests in 1980, the F101 DFE was first fitted on an F-16 for flight testing, where it showed considerable improvement in performance and operability over the existing F100. In 1982, the Air Force began the full-scale development of the F101 DFE as an option to compete with the F100 for application in future F-15 and F-16 production; the engine was eventually designated the F110-GE-100. The threat by the F110 has been cited as a reason for Pratt & Whitney to more quickly rectify the issues affecting the F100 and developing the improved F100-PW-220 variant.[3][4] Seeking to drive unit costs down and improve contractor performance, the Air Force implemented the Alternative Fighter Engine (AFE) competition between the F100 and F110 in 1983 in what was nicknamed "The Great Engine War", where the engine contract would be awarded through competition. The Air Force would buy both engines starting in 1984, with contracts being competed every fiscal year and the percentages of F100 versus F110 would vary based on contract; the competitions eventually ended in 1992.[5]

The F-14B prototype, BuNo 157986, testing the F101 DFE, which the Navy would eventually adopt as the F110-GE-400
The F-14B prototype, BuNo 157986, testing the F101 DFE, which the Navy would eventually adopt as the F110-GE-400

The F101 DFE was also tested in the F-14B prototype in 1981, and the aircraft saw considerable performance improvement over the existing Pratt & Whitney TF30.[6] Although further testing was halted by the Navy in 1982, it would use the results of the Air Force's AFE evaluation to choose the powerplant for future F-14s. The F101 DFE was eventually chosen and was designated the F110-GE-400.[3]


Video of F110 testing

The F110-GE-100/400 is a low-bypass axial-flow afterburning turbofan. It has a 3-stage fan driven by a two-stage low-pressure turbine and a 9-stage compressor driven by a one-stage high-pressure turbine. In contrast to the ambitious performance goals for the F100 of high thrust and low weight, the F110 placed a greater emphasis on balancing between reliability, operability, and performance. The engine has an electronic and hydromechanical control system that was much more forgiving of rapid throttle inputs. The -100/400 had an uninstalled thrust of 16,600 lbf (74 kN) in intermediate power and 28,200 lbf (125 kN) in afterburner.

Further developments

In the mid-1980s, the Air Force sought greater power for its tactical fighters and began Improved Performance Engine (IPE) programs for the F100 and F110, with the goal of achieving thrust in the 29,000 lbf (129 kN) class, while retaining the durability achieved in the F100-PW-220 and F110-GE-100. The result would be the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 and General Electric F110-GE-129. Compared to the -100, the -129 incorporated component improvements, including a full authority digital engine control (FADEC), that allowed maximum thrust to be achieved in a wider range of conditions and across larger portions of the flight envelope, while retaining 80% commonality. The -129 was first fielded in 1992.

A non-afterburning variant of the F110, designated the F118, would power the B-2 stealth bomber and the re-engined U-2S reconnaissance aircraft. A variant of the F110-GE-100 fitted with a 3-dimensional axisymmetric thrust vectoring nozzle, referred by General Electric as the Axisymmetric Vectoring Exhaust Nozzle (AVEN), was tested on a specially modified F-16 called the NF-16D VISTA under the Multi-Axis Thrust-Vectoring (MATV) program.[7]

The F110 would see the development of a further enhanced variant starting in 2000 with the F110-GE-132, initially referred to as the F110-GE-129EFE (Enhanced Fighter Engine).[8] The -132 incorporates an improved fan that is more efficient and can increase maximum airflow, composite fan duct, durability improvements to the hot section, radial augmentor (or afterburner), and control system improvements. The engine leveraged research performed under the Integrated High Performance Turbine Engine Technology (IHPTET) program. The -132 produces 32,500 lbf (145 kN) in afterburner but can also be tuned to run at -129 thrust levels to increase inspection intervals; the older -129 can be upgraded to the -132 configuration. The F110-GE-132 was selected to power the F-16E/F Block 60 for the United Arab Emirates.[9][10] Engine flight tests began in 2003, and first delivery was in 2005.[11]

Major applications


The F-14A entered service with the United States Navy in 1973 powered by Pratt & Whitney TF30s. By the end of the decade, following numerous problems with the original engine (and similar problems with the F100 on the F-15 and F-16), the DoD began procuring the upgraded TF30-P-414As. While these engines solved the serviceability problems, the fuel consumption and thrust was comparable to the initial model—considerably less than what the F-14 had been designed for.

An F110-GE-400 viewed through the exhaust nozzle of a Grumman F-14D Tomcat
An F110-GE-400 viewed through the exhaust nozzle of a Grumman F-14D Tomcat

After reviewing the results of the Air Force's AFE evaluation, the Navy would choose the F101 DFE to re-engine the F-14 in 1984, with the variant designated the F110-GE-400; the primary difference between the -400 and the Air Force's F110-GE-100 is length — the -400 had a 50-inch (1.3 m) tailpipe extension to suit the F-14 airframe, which was fitted downstream of the augmentor (afterburner section). The engine produced 28,200 lbf (125 kN) of uninstalled thrust with afterburner; installed thrust is 23,400 lbf (104 kN) with afterburner at sea level, which rose to 30,200 lbf (134 kN) at Mach 0.9.[12] This provided a significant increase over the TF30's maximum uninstalled thrust of 20,900 lbf (93 kN).[13] These upgraded jets were initially known as F-14A+ before being re-designated as the F-14B, as were production aircraft powered by the F110. The same engine also powered the final variant of the aircraft, the F-14D. Proposed upgraded variants of the F-14, such as the ST-21, were to be powered by the F110-GE-429, the naval variant of the F110-GE-129 IPE.


The F-16 Fighting Falcon entered service powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100 afterburning turbofan. Seeking a way to drive unit costs down, the USAF implemented the Alternative Fighter Engine (AFE) program in 1984, under which the engine contract would be awarded through competition. The F110 currently powers 86% of the USAF F-16C/Ds (June 2005). The F110-GE-100 provides around 4,000 lbf (17.8 kN) more thrust than the F100-PW-200 but requires more airflow, which led to the increase in the area of the engine intake; the F-16C/D Block 30/32s were the first to be built with a common engine bay, able to accept both engines, with Block 30s having the bigger inlet (known as "Big Mouth") and Block 32s retaining the standard inlet.

An F-16C Block 50 fitted with the F110-GE-129.
An F-16C Block 50 fitted with the F110-GE-129.

The F-16 Block 30 and 40 were powered by the 28,200 lbf (125 kN) F110-GE-100, while the Block 50 was powered by the 29,500 lbf (131 kN) F110-GE-129 IPE. The United Arab Emirates' F-16E/F Block 60 is powered by the 32,500 lbf (145 kN) F110-GE-132, as was the proposed Lockheed Martin-Tata F-21, initially designated F-16IN and based on the Block 60, for the Indian Air Force MMRCA competition.[14][15][16] Derivatives of the F-16, the Mitsubishi F-2 and the General Dynamics F-16XL, are powered by the -129 IPE.


A South Korean F-15K with two F110-GE-129 engines fitted.
A South Korean F-15K with two F110-GE-129 engines fitted.

Although the Air Force chose the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 as the IPE for the F-15E Strike Eagle, a pair of F110-GE-129s were mounted on one aircraft for flight testing.[17][18] South Korea would choose the -129 to power 40 F-15K fighters, the first time production F-15s were powered by a GE engine. The GE engines were manufactured through a joint licensing agreement with Samsung Techwin Company. It has also been chosen by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to power its F-15SG.

The F-15E would be further developed into the Advanced Eagle with a new fly-by-wire control system that incorporates the F110-GE-129's FADEC. The Advanced Eagle would be the basis for Saudi Arabia's F-15SA, Qatar's F-15QA, and the U.S. Air Force F-15EX.[19]





Data from General Electric,[21][22] American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME),[8] MTU[23]

General characteristics




Data from General Electric, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Forecast International[25][10]

General characteristics



See also

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists


  1. ^ "TEI > Welcome". Archived from the original on 2014-11-26. Retrieved 2014-11-07.
  2. ^ F-16 Air Forces - Turkey. F-16.net. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  3. ^ a b c Frank Camm (1993). The Development of the F100-PW-220 and F110-GE-100 Engines: A Case Study of Risk Management and Risk Assessment (PDF). RAND (Report).
  4. ^ Coalson, M.S. (18 April 1982). "Status Report of the USAF's Engine Model Derivative Program". American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). doi:10.1115/82-GT-183.
  5. ^ "F110-129, the end of an era". U.S. Air Force. 21 November 2014.
  6. ^ Reubush, David E. and Carlson, John R. (1 March 1982). Effects of installation of F101 DFE exhaust nozzles on the afterbody-nozzle characteristics of the F-14 airplane (Report). NASA.((cite report)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ "X-62A VISTA fact sheet". Edwards AFB (U.S. Air Force).
  8. ^ a b Wadia, A.R.; James, F.D. (2000). F110-GE-129 EFE – Enhanced Power Through Low Risk Derivative Technology (Technical report). ASME.
  9. ^ "GE Launches F110 Fighter Engine Variant with $400 Million Win at United Arab Emirates". General Electric. 14 March 2000.
  10. ^ a b "F110-GE-132 turbofan engines" (PDF). General Electric.
  11. ^ "GE starts up F110-132 test programme". Flight Global. 23 June 2003.
  12. ^ NAVAIR 01-F-14AAD-1A F-14D NATOPS FLIGHT MANUAL January 2004 PART 1 CH-2 Section 2.2 "Engine" pg "2-9".
  13. ^ Flight Global Archive
  14. ^ Global Security: F110 Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  15. ^ "F110-GE-132 Engine Completes Initial Flight Tests". GE Aviation. 16 June 2003. Archived from the original on 11 December 2005.
  16. ^ "The F110 Engine | GE Aviation".
  17. ^ DeLisi, J.W. (16 April 1990). "F-15E/GE-129 Increased Performance Engine initial development flight test program". American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). doi:10.2514/6.1990-1266.
  18. ^ "GE on F-15E". Flight Global. 30 April 1996.
  19. ^ "GE ships first engines for F-15EX fighter".
  20. ^ "General Electric beats Rolls-Royce to power Turkey's indigenous fighter jet". 31 October 2018.
  21. ^ GE Aviation F110-GE-129/F110-GE-132
  22. ^ datasheet GE-129 - pdf
  23. ^ F110-GE-129 datasheet
  24. ^ "F−14 TF30−P−414 TO F110−GE−400 ENGINE UPGRADE TECHNICAL COMPARISON" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-15.
  25. ^ General Electric F110