Described as an adaptive cycle engine, the XA100 should come with 10 percent more thrust (a total of around 45,000 lbf), 25 percent more fuel efficiency, and significantly higher heat dissipation, while maintaining pretty much the same size as present-day designs (we are not told with what type of engine performance levels were actually compared).
The engine is called adaptive cycle because it can be used either in high-thrust mode when in combat and in a hurry, or in a high-efficiency mode when loitering.
GE just wrapped up testing of the engine last week at its facility in Evendale, Ohio, earlier this month, and says the “performance and mechanical behavior were consistent with pre-test predictions and fully aligned with the U.S. Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) objectives.”
There is no exact date known for when the engine will be fully ready, but the USAF does plan to start fielding its sixth-generation fighter aircraft developed under the NGAD project sometime by the end of the decade.
The XA100 might also make its way in future versions of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning, and a second prototype of the technology is already being built by GE, with the goal of having it start testing be the end of the year.