Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Air Force clears Rolls-Royce for C-130H engine upgrade

Jul. 9, 2014 - 03:25PM   |  
Yokota Brings Combat Airlift to Max Thunder
C-130H Hercules drop heavy equipment payloads April 18, 2014, over South Korea, during exercise Max Thunder. Rolls-Royce and the US Air Force are discussing engine upgrades for the aircraft. (Capt. Raymond Geoffroy/ / US Air Force)
  • Filed Under

LONDON — The Air Force has certified engine maker Rolls-Royce and its Series 3.5 engine upgrade for use on the service’s C-130H fleet, the company announced Wednesday.

Rolls is in preliminary discussions with the Air Force and expects to be on contract in roughly six to nine months on the upgrades, which company officials say will increase the lifespan and fuel efficiency of the aging transport aircraft.

Robert Settle, Rolls’ vice president for Air Force programs, said the company is eyeing 2015-2016 for initial installations and noted that it has begun low-rate initial production on the upgrade kits ahead of that expected contract.

The Series 3.5 engine enhancement would replace inefficient components on older engines by retrofitting parts from newer engines into the Series 3 T56 engine casing, used on the C-130H and other planes.

Among the parts involved are compressor seals from Rolls’ Series 4 engine and uncooled turbine blades from the Rolls AE-1107C design. Rolls says because the retrofit uses existing technologies and can occur during routine maintenance of the older engines it provides a cheaper alternative to replacing older engines outright.

Rolls estimates the engine upgrades will extend the life of the C-130H fleet to 2040, and an Air Force study has found it could save the service as much as $2 billion.

The program netted its first customer last November when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) adopted the Series 3.5 upgrade for two P-3 “Hurricane Hunter” surveillance aircraft, which uses the same engine as the C-130H.

As the Air Force looks more toward the modernized C-130J model, the C-130H market has shifted toward US Guard and reserve components, although the older model remains popular among international customers.

Rolls will be touting the engine enhancement at next week’s Farnborough International Airshow, held outside of London. The show could provide an opportunity to connect with the large international customer base that operates aircraft with the Series 3 T56 engine.

“There is certainly strong international interest in the benefits of the T56 Series 3.5 package for both C-130 and P-3 aircraft and we are always ready to talk about it,” Settle said. “Continued progress in the U.S., with the Air Force moving forward and NOAA test flights complete, will keep that interest high and demonstrate the benefits of this upgrade.”

Bringing international customers on board may prove important if Rolls is to build a base for this enhancement. While the Air Force has certified the program and shown interest in moving ahead with it, sequestration-imposed budget cuts remain on the horizon for 2016.

Settle said the company “remains optimistic” that the program will survive the next round of budget fights, pointing out that it received $15.7 million in funding for fiscal 2014.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

Your new NCOERs
Significant changes to report expected for Oct. 1, 2015

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook