NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center has awarded a $16 million contract to purchase up to three engines from General Electric Co. for use on the space agency’s experimental airplane now in development.

The contract from the research center at Edwards Air Force Base in the Antelope Valley calls for buying two GE 414 engines with an option to purchase a third through the end of September 2019.

The engines will be used on the Low Boom Flight Demonstration aircraft that NASA is developing with aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. to study the use of commercial supersonic flights over land.

Lockheed has done a preliminary design for the Quiet Supersonic Transport aircraft, or QueSST, and has done wind tunnel tests on a scale model of the aircraft at other NASA facilities.