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General Electric F404: Wikis


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F404 / F412 / RM12
An F404 turbofan being tested on board an aircraft carrier
Type Turbofan
National origin United States
Manufacturer General Electric
Volvo Aero (RM12)
First run 1978
Major applications F/A-18 Hornet
JAS 39 Gripen
Developed from General Electric YJ101
Developed into General Electric F414
General Electric GE36
General Electric LM1600

The General Electric F404, F412, and RM12 are a family of afterburning turbofan engines in the 10,500–19,000 lbf (85 kN) class (static thrust). The series are produced by GE Aviation. Partners include Volvo Aero, which builds the RM12 variant. The F404 was developed into the larger F414 turbofan, as well as the experimental GE36 civil propfan.


Design and development



GE developed the F404 for the F/A-18 Hornet, shortly after losing the competition for the F-15 Eagle's engine to Pratt & Whitney, and losing the Lightweight Fighter (LWF) competition to the P&W-F100 powered YF-16. For the F/A-18, GE based the F404 on the YJ101 engine they had developed for the Northrop YF-17, enlarging the bypass ratio from .20 to .34 to enable higher fuel economy. The engine was designed with a higher priority on reliability than performance. Cost was the main goal in the design of the engine.[1]

GE also analyzed "throttle profiles" and found that pilots were changing throttle settings far more often than engineers previously expected; putting undue stress on the engines. GE also sought with the F404 to avoid compressor stalls and other engine failures, and would respond quickly to control inputs; a common complaint of pilots converting from propeller planes to jets were that early turbojets were not responsive to changes in thrust input. GE executives Frederick A. Larson and Paul Setts also set the goal that the new engine would be smaller than the F-4's GE J79, but provide at least as much thrust, and cost half as much as the P&W F100 engine for the F-16.[2]

Due to a fan designed to smooth airflow before it enters the compressor, the F404 has high resistance to compressor stalls, even at high angles of attack. It requires less than two shop visits per 1,000 flight hours and averages 6,500 hours between in-flight events. It also demonstrates high responsiveness to control inputs, spooling from idle to full afterburner in 4 seconds. The engine contains an in-flight engine condition monitoring system (IECMS) that monitors for critical malfunctions and keeps track of parts lifetimes.[3]

US Navy 050617-N-6009S-001 Sailors assigned to the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) jet shop lower a F-A-18 Hornet engine into its container.jpg

GE developed the F110 for the Air Force as an alternative to the Pratt & Whitney F100 for use on the F-16 and F-15 based on the F101 and used F404 technology.[4] GE developed the F404-GE-402 in response to a Swiss requirement for more power in its F/A-18 version.[5] The new engine version was used on Kuwaiti Hornets, later U.S. C and D Hornets, and subsequent Hornets.[5]


The Volvo Aero modification of the F404 consists increased performance, greater resistance to bird strikes and designed for single engine use safety criteria.[6]

60% of the engine parts are produced by GE and then shipped to Sweden for final assembly. The fan/compressor discs and case, compressor spool, hubs, seals and the entire afterburner are designed and produced in Sweden. Maximum thrust is 80.5/54 kN (wet/dry).


GE developed the F404 into the F412-GE-400 non-afterburning turbofan for the A-12 Avenger II. After the cancellation of the A-12, the research was directed toward an engine for the Super Hornet, which evolved into the F414.


Volvo RM12

Engines on display

Specifications (F404-GE-402)

General characteristics

  • Type: Afterburning turbofan
  • Length: 154 in (3,912 mm)
  • Diameter: 35 in (889 mm)
  • Dry weight: 2,282 lb (1,036 kg)


  • Compressor: Axial compressor with 3 fan and 7 compressor stages
  • Bypass ratio: 0.34:1
  • Turbine: 1 low-pressure and 1 high-pressure stage


See also

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists


  1. ^ Spick, Mike ed, Great Book of Modern Warplanes, pp. 274-278. MBI, 2000. ISBN 0-7603-0893-4.
  2. ^ Kelly, Orr (1990). Hornet: the inside story of the F/A-18. Novato: Presido Press. ISBN 0-89141-344-8. 
  3. ^ Jenkins 2000, p. 144.
  4. ^ GEAE: F110 Engine
  5. ^ a b Jenkins 2000, pp. 62,-63 93, 97.
  6. ^ IDG: Reaktionsmotor 12 - både vacker och stark
  • Jenkins, Dennis R. F/A-18 Hornet: A Navy Success Story. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. ISBN 0-07-134696-1.

External links


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