Every time a new US Navy pilot hits the throttle on a T-45 Goshawk while sitting on the flight deck, he or she is assured of one thing: that the engine will propel the two-seat training jet off the flight deck, and lift it into clear blue skies.
For an observer, the sight of a soaring Goshawk is breathtaking. For the young aviator in the cockpit, however, it’s the acceleration that is illuminating.
‘When you are a student starting out, you are kind of overwhelmed,’ says Navy Lt Commander Raymond Bieze, a pilot instructor with 709 flight hours in that vessel. ‘You are going (transitioning) from a turboprop to a turbofan engine – a pretty big step up in power. You are just kind of hanging on at the beginning. Once you get used to it, it’s a lot of fun.’
Bieze, with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, says that of all the worries and concerns that a new student pilot has, engine reliability cannot be one of them. And he adds: 'Everybody knows it's a Rolls-Royce motor. It's in the NATOPS (Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization) programme right at the beginning. We certainly count on its reliability on every flight and rarely are we disappointed.’
The Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour F405 turbofan inside the T-45 has helped more than 3,700 pilots earn their wings of gold, having logged over one million flight hours as a teaching tool since its introduction in 1992. The engine is an example of how Rolls-Royce has helped the flying branches of the military meet their missions for decades, trusting that our technology is the right fit in the hands of both rookies and seasoned aces. Our engines and systems have provided propulsion to more than two dozen different types of US Navy aircraft, from the giant airships in the 1920s to the vertical lift technology systems on today’s F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. And it’s why Rolls-Royce celebrated with the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard in recognition of the ‘100 years of Naval Aviation’ throughout 2011.
‘The Rolls-Royce team can be proud of the countless contributions it has made to safe, innovative propulsion,’ Craig McVay, Rolls-Royce Vice President, US Navy Aviation Programs (a former Marine Corps aviator with over 5,000 flight hours flown almost exclusively on engines made by Rolls-Royce and Allison), says. ‘They are truly amazing engines. The descriptions that come to mind are reliability, supportability, and maintainability.
Rolls-Royce clearly sets the bar when it comes to quality products. I flew Rolls-Royce powered aircraft in extreme and, oftentimes, austere conditions, and they just kept on running.’
McVay continues: ‘100 years of Naval Aviation is quite impressive and Rolls-Royce can be proud for having played a critical and integral role in that effort. Look at how far we’ve come and how much we've accomplished. We are now powering key unmanned aircraft … we’re able to do things that contribute to national security that we’ve never done before; I’m very proud we're a key part of all that.’
The US Navy’s T-45 Goshawk is powered by an Adour F405 engine.
A T-45 Goshawk on the deck of a US Navy aircraft carrier.