Thursday, September 23, 2010

General Electric F414

The General Electric F414 is an axial-flow turbofan engine which has been manufactured by General Electric Aviation to power the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F414 was developed from GE F404 as is a low risk derivative. In fact, the F414 engine was originally envisioned as not using any new materials or processes, and was designed to fit in the same footprint as the F404.

The F414 has an axial seven-stage compressor. Its combustor was annular and its turbine consisted of one low-pressure stage and one high-pressure stage. The engine had a maximum thrust of 22,000 lbf (98 kN). The F414 continues to be improved, both through internal GE efforts and federally funded development programs. By 2006, GE tested an Enhanced Durability Engine (EDE) with an advanced core. The EDE engine provided a 15% thrust increase or longer life without the thrust increase. It has a six-stage high-pressure compressor (down from 7 stages in the standard F414) and an advanced high-pressure turbine.

One of the major differences between the F414 and the F404 is the fan section. The fan of the F414 is larger than that of the F404, but smaller than the fan for the F412. The larger fan section increases airflow by 16% and is 5 inches (13 cm) longer. To keep the engine in the F404's footprint, the afterburner section was shortened by 4 in (10 cm) and the combustor shortened by 1 in (2.5 cm). Another change from the F404 is the fact that the first three stages of the high pressure compressor are blisks rather than dovetailed blades, saving 50 pounds (23 kg) in weight.

Specifications for the General Electric F414

Type: afterburning turbofan
Length: 154 in (3,912 mm)
Diameter: 35 in (889 mm)
Dry weight: 1120 kg
Compressor: Axial compressor with 3 fan and 7 compressor stages
Combustors: annular
Turbine: one low-pressure and one high-pressure stage
Maximum thrust: 22,000 lbf (98 kN)
Overall pressure ratio: 30:1
Thrust-to-weight ratio: 9:1