RSS feed LinkedIn Watch us on Youtube

Activity title

Gas Turbine Engine Environmental Particulate Foreign Object Damage [EP-FOD]

Activity Reference



Applied Vehicle Technology

Security Classification



Awaiting Publication

Activity type


Start date


End date



Airborne Pollution, Dust, Engine, Gas Turbine, Ice Ingestion, Sand, Testing, Volcanic Ash


The operational deployment of military aircraft into harsh environments, whether they are fixed wing or rotary, requires informed judgement to be able to choose from available resources. In addition, the sustainability of those assets in Theatre will define the logistics tail, the deployed footprint and the strategic lift requirement. By increasing the coordination opportunities between different command levels, nations and non-military stakeholders to improve the level of situational awareness, the decision to deploy or not deploy the most appropriate assets can be made easier. Exploiting multiple information sources from NATO partners, industry and academia can assist decision-makers at strategic, operational and tactical levels when deploying military assets to operate in harsh environmental conditions. By utilizing available information systems, validated technological advances and communicating systems across the NATO nations the benefits can be increased survivability, increased availability, reduced maintainability and reduced overall cost. Over the past two decades NATO nations have been involved in military air operations in harsh environmental conditions, with there being a noted reduction in gas turbine lives and consequently an increase in cost of ownership. In response to these operational challenges significant work has been, and continues to be, carried out in Partner Nations relating to understand and mitigating the effects of environmental particulate foreign object damage. In addition, although the USA has the Joint Services Specification Guide (JSSG 2007A) that stipulates recommended test protocols there is currently no NATO-wide standardization to conducting harsh environment erosion testing of gas turbine engines. AVT-ET-137 was formed in 2013 to investigate common areas of interest within NATO in this area; the outputs from this have identified a need for a follow-on activity to collate knowledge on the types of environmental particulate to which the military operator is exposed and to examine and document their associated damage mechanisms, and investigate the options to standardize harsh environment erosion testing with the end result of developing a NATO-wide testing protocol in the form of a STANAG. LTAs relevant to the activity: Increased Self-Sustainment; Planning and Decision Support; Systems Analysis and Knowledge Development; Land Engagement Capability; Vehicle Mobility, Safety and Survivability.


Develop a catalogue of environmental particulates which are known to cause damage to gas turbine engines, documenting the damage mechanisms observed, the physics of failure, and the effectiveness of any mitigation strategies trialed. This will be done by bringing together gas turbine propulsion specialists from military users, national laboratories and industry. The catalogue will be developed such that it will provide technical advice to operational planners, strategic decision-makers, resource planners and will also support researchers and designers when attempting to improve the robustness of current and future gas turbine engines. In this context environmental particulates are limited to solid particles encountered in sand, dust and volcanic ash. Develop a harsh environment test protocol to act as best practice to the NATO community, possibly in the form of a STANAG.


The topics to be covered within this TG will, amongst others, include: • Operational effects/impact of environmental particulates • Gas turbine damage caused by environmental particulates • Likelihood of encountering environmental particulates in a given location • Review of mitigation options trialled for each type of environmental particulate • Review of testing methods for VA and sand and dust amongst industry and the wider the NATO community • Holding of a harsh environment test protocol workshop between industry and NATO members to define and develop an agreed test protocol • Promote the test protocol amongst the wider NATO community

Contact Panel Office