USAF C-130 Completes 1st Flight With Enhanced Rolls-Royce Engine
Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, and the US Air Force are conducting flight tests for an enhancement for the T56 turboprop engine, which powers the C-130H transport aircraft. The Series 3.5 Engine Enhancement is designed to deliver fuel savings and reliability improvements, resulting in improved life cycle costs.
The first C-130H test aircraft began flying recently at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. The Series 3.5 Engine Enhancement has already demonstrated greater than 8 percent fuel burn improvement in ground tests, using proven technologies from other Rolls-Royce commercial and military engines, including new blade and vane materials and advanced turbine airfoil aerodynamic designs. The Series 3.5 will also improve performance in 'hot and high' conditions.
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Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce, President, Customer Business – Defense, said, "We look forward to carrying out flight tests to confirm what we have already demonstrated in the test cell – significant savings in fuel costs, improved reliability and performance. Rolls-Royce has invested to help the US Air Force and other operators around the world meet their goal of reducing fuel costs, while also extending the life of the C-130 fleet and potentially saving billions of dollars."
The Series 3.5 Engine Enhancement program is expected to enable the USAF to continue to operate its C-130H fleet until 2040, and a USAF analysis estimated its long-term savings from the Series 3.5 enhancements could reach $2 Billion.
The engine improvements can be accomplished as part of a conventional engine overhaul, and do not require any aircraft or engine control system modifications. Each C-130 aircraft has four Rolls-Royce T56 engines, with approximately 220 C-130H models eligible for upgrades.
The Series 3.5 program will help the Air Force to achieve its goal of reducing consumption of aviation fuel by 10 percent by 2015.
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Source : Rolls-Royce Plc (LSE: RR.L)