US Air Force contract launches Rolls-Royce T56 Series 3.5 upgrade into C-130 fleet
Series 3.5 kit deliveries will begin in December 2015 and introduce the engine improvements into USAF and US Air National Guard C-130s. The Series 3.5 upgrade kits are already demonstrating success in a Hurricane Hunter WP-3D aircraft of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with fuel savings exceeding 12 percent.
NOAA flight data also showed significantly lower turbine temperatures, improved high-altitude performance and generated much faster engine starts.
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.
Phil Burkholder, Rolls-Royce, President - Defense Aerospace North America, said, “The T56 Series 3.5 technology has proven itself in challenging hurricane flight operations on NOAA aircraft and we are excited to launch the upgrades into the US Air Force C-130 fleet so they can achieve the same benefits. The improved fuel economy and enhanced performance demonstrate the value from the Series 3.5 upgrade – operators will benefit from lower operating costs and improved reliability.”
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-130 and received FAA certification for the commercial version of the T56 engine. The US Air Force has estimated that incorporating the engine enhancement into its C-130 fleet would save $2 Billion, while extending the life of the fleet for decades.