With the help of research by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Finnish Air Force (FINAF) has succeeded in increasing the operational life of the high pressure turbine (HPT) blades of its Hornet jet engines by 10%. The saving for taxpayers is an estimated 3 million US dollars, or over 2.7 million euros, compared to which the research investment was modest and the return (ROI) almost 100 times the research investment.
FINAF sent the VTT's research results and some used HPT blades to the engine manufacturer. On the basis of the research findings and its operational experience, GE increased the lifespan of the HPT blades for its F/A-18C/D Hornet engines (2 × General Electric F404-GE-402) by around 10%. The FINAF has adopted the new life limit into operational use since May 2015.
VTT's research for FINAF has therefore created savings for the taxpayer and will ensure expertise-based security of supply in Finland.
Further information on VTT's research on FINAF's HPT blades is provided in the publication: http://www.vtt.fi/inf/julkaisut/muut/2013/ICAF_FinlandReview_2013_issue1_3April13.pdf
Cracks on the leading edge of a HPT blade, opened crack circled.