TINKER HISTORY: General Electric J47 turbojet engine profile

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The General Electric J47 engine is an axial flow turbojet engine with afterburning configuration or provision for water-injection, when required. The J47 is an improved version of GE’s successful J35 engine.

According to an Air Force fact sheet, more than 30,000 engines of the basic J47 type were built before production ended in 1956. The engine was produced in at least 17 different series and was used to power such USAF aircraft as the F-86, XF-91, B-36, B-45, B-47 and XB-51.

Tinker has a 12-year history with the J47 engine through program management and full overhaul functions. Some 13,656 engines passed though the facilities in support of all the major flying commands between July 1949 and July 1961. This is a remarkable number for the time with more than 1,000 engines a year being overhauled. This is also the period in which the Korean War took place where J47 powered fighters ruled the skies in the form of the North American F-86 Sabre.

While powering some of the military’s most important aircraft of the day, GE’s J47 series engine achieved commercial success as well after becoming the first axial-flow engine approved in the U.S. for commercial airline use. However, there was not longevity for the J47 design as GE and other leading engine manufactures introduced more powerful and capable engines.

J-47s were officially removed from active military service in 1978 with the retirement of the jet-augmented KC-97Js by the Air National Guard. The engines remain in widespread use to power civilian- owned F-86 Sabre jets which are popular on the air show scene.