Rolls-Royce has delivered on the 25th of February the first T56 Series 3.5 engine upgrade kits to the US Air Force as the service introduces the improvements to its C-130H transport fleet.
The Series 3.5 engine upgrade kits are already demonstrating success in a Hurricane Hunter WP-3D aircraft of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with fuel savings exceeding 12 percent and improved range and payload capability. NOAA flight data also shows significantly lower turbine temperatures, improved high-altitude performance and much faster engine starts.
Phil Burkholder, Rolls-Royce, President – Defense Aerospace North America, said: “The T56 Series 3.5 technology has already proven itself in the field on the P-3 aircraft, and the US Air Force contract reflects confidence in the upgrade from the largest C-130H fleet operator in the world. Recipients of the Series 3.5 upgrade will soon reap the benefits demonstrated in the NOAA aircraft – significant improvements in fuel economy and enhanced performance, leading to lower operating costs and improved reliability.”
USAF and US Air National Guard C-130Hs will begin receiving the T56 engine upgrades, starting with Air National Guard units in Wyoming and New York State. The Air Force has awarded a $36 million contract to launch the Series 3.5 upgrades into the fleet.
The Series 3.5 upgrade, which was designed and funded by Rolls-Royce, allows T56 engines to operate at greatly reduced temperatures, extending parts life and improving reliability by 22 percent. The upgrades also provide improved “hot and high” performance. The Series 3.5 package can be installed on T56 engines on either C-130 or P-3 legacy aircraft.
The Series 3.5 technology, which is based on proven advances from other Rolls-Royce engines, can be added during regular overhauls to reduce cost and requires no changes to the aircraft or controls.
The T56 Series 3.5 engine enhancement package has already completed all requirements for US Air Force qualification on the C-130H and received FAA certification for the commercial version of the T56 engine. The US Air Force has estimated that incorporating the engine upgrade into its C-130 fleet would save $2 billion, while extending the life of the fleet for decades.