has issued type certification for an upgrade to the T56, the engine that powers the U.S. Air Force fleet of C-130H military transport aircraft.
The upgrade, dubbed the T56 Series 3.5 by engine maker Rolls-Royce, demonstrated an increase of nearly 10 percent fuel efficiency during flight tests performed in October 2012 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Enhancements include new materials for the engine blades and vanes, improved aerodynamic designs for the turbine airfoils and upgraded performance in "hot and high" conditions to reduce emissions.
A study conducted by the Air Force concluded that the Series 3.5 upgrade will enable the Air Force to continue operating its fleet of C-130H transport aircraft through 2040, with a long-term savings on operating costs exceeding $2 billion. There are 220 C-130H models operated by the Air Force that are eligible for the upgrade, according to Rolls-Royce.
U.S. Air Force qualification for the T56 Series 3.5 upgrade is expected prior to the end of the year.
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