Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, and the United States Air Force (USAF) have completed the final element of testing for the Series 3.5 enhancement for the T56 engine, leading to military qualification and FAA certification later this year.
Accelerated Mission Testing (AMT) was successfully completed ahead of schedule last month and proved the durability of the new blades, vanes and other parts of the T56 engine over a period of 400 hours and 1,000 cycles. The enhanced engine is undergoing inspection by a Rolls-Royce and USAF technical team.
Tom Hartmann, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President, said, “Completion of the final element of testing has underlined the results from earlier flight tests and demonstrates continued success for the Series 3.5 for the T56 engine. The fuel savings of 9.7 percent, plus performance and reliability improvements, give operators exactly what they need. Interest from US and international C-130 operators continues to grow and we look forward to US Air Force qualification and FAA certification by the end of the year.”
Flight test results exceeded expectations for reduced fuel consumption and reliability improvements. Using an installed Series 3.5 engine on a C-130, significant savings were made in fuel consumption as well as a significant reduction in turbine operating temperatures, which will translate into more than 22 per cent improvement in reliability.
The engine improvements can be installed 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 USAF C-130H models eligible for updating, as well as the fleet of international operators.
The Series 3.5 engine enhancement will enable the USAF to continue to operate its C-130H fleet until 2040 and a USAF analysis estimated its long-term savings from the program could exceed $2 billion.