Aircraft engines are normally designated by obscure numbers only an engineer could love but as a clear expression of market intent, GE is giving its new turboprop engine a name: the GE Catalyst Advanced Turboprop engine. (Heretofore, it was simply the ATP engine.)
GE announced the new engine in 2015 and last fall, it reported at NBAA BACE in Las Vegas that it had a conforming prototype running with an aggressive certification program planned. The engine will be available in power ranges from 1000 to 1600 horsepower with specific fuel consumption claimed to be 20 percent less than competitive engines. It will also have a 4000-hour TBO and won’t require the hot section inspections that operators of Pratt & Whitney’s engines love to hate. Cessna’s new Denali single-engine turboprop is a launch customer.
“The GE Catalyst engine is redefining what a turboprop can do for pilots, airframers and operators in business and general aviation,” said Paul Corkery, general manager for GE Aviation Turboprops. “It acts as a catalyst in an industry segment that has seen very little technology infusion in decades,” he added at an announcement in Prague, where GE has developed and will manufacture the new engine. You can see a video interview with Corkery on the Catalyst engine here.
GE has committed more than $400 million in development costs and will employ 500 additional workers at a refurbished factory in the Czech Republic. GE acquired the former Walter Engines in the Czech Republic in 2008 and has been leveraging the investment to expand into the turboprop market.