First flight of the 3.5 Economical - Versatile - Reliable - Proven

Innovative technology from Rolls-Royce will bring significant savings for C-130 and P-3 fleets across the globe. 

This technology is estimated to save at least $20 million over two decades for a typical four aircraft C-130 Hercules fleet - the backbone of military transport systems.

A new engine enhancement for the T56 engine, using proven technology and materials from other Rolls-Royce engines, will improve fuel efficiency, reduce maintenance costs, increase reliability and enhance performance.

The enhancement package is known as the T56 Series 3.5.

Flight testing was completed by the United States Air Force in October 2012 (see photo above).


"The Series 3.5 shows great promise for improvement in performance and fuel efficiency for the T56 engine. A US Air Force study has projected $240 Million in fuel savings through 2040, which will help the service meet its goal for energy savings."
- Senior USAF official, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio, USA)

"I believe this program offers significant improvements that are needed to ensure mission flexibility and guarantee C-130H fleet viability needed to meet current and future tactical airlift needs of our Nation."
- The Adjutant General (TAG), Air National Guard

"My personal opinion of the 3.5 upgrade -- I believe you hit the bulls-eye on this ... This is hands down exactly what the C-130 community needs. Please thank everyone on your team."
- US Air Force C-130 Flight Engineer

Related Links

The venerable C-130 Hercules is stationed around the globe and flown by 60+ Air Forces to move troops and equipment. Operators are continually looking for ways to increase capability, while reducing fuel use and saving money during an era of budget uncertainty and demand on limited resources.

Using improved blades, vanes, and seals in the engine, the C-130 Enhancement Package demonstrates significant improvements:

  • 9.7 percent fuel savings 
  • 22 percent reliability improvement 
  • Enhanced performance
  • Improved capability, versatility and availability for C-130 fleet
  • 9.4 percent aircraft range improvement - or can carry heavier payload
  • Easy installation during routine overhaul - no changes to aircraft or controls
  • Upgrade costs offset by typical overhaul savings, if done as the same time
  • 6 year average payback - excellent investment return
Demonstrated Payback
Increased fuel efficiencyUp to 9.7% SFC improvement
TIT lowered ~70°CIncreased turbine life by ~22%
Increased operational flexibilityRange, payload, fuel load

External links

Rolls-Royce C-130 engine upgrade update
Friday, 6 June 2013 | Air Force Magazine
Testing and evaluation of Rolls-Royce's modifications to the legacy T56 turboprop engines on C-130H transports are finished and the company expects to see the completion of military and FAA certifications later this year.

No vanity, just better vanes
Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 | Air Force Magazine
Rolls-Royce modifications to legacy C-130H T56 turboprop engines yielded even better fuel economy and reliability than predicted in recent trials at Edwards AFB, Cali., announced the company on Dec. 10.

Related press releases

Rolls-Royce completes T56 engine enhancement testing
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
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 enhancment for

USAF C-130 completes first flight with enhanced Rolls-Royce Engine
Monday, 17 September 2012
National Harbor, US Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, and the US Air Force are conducting flight tests for an enhancedment for the T56 engine

Press Contact
George McLaren, External Communications Manager Defense
Tel: (317) 230-8260

Chris Culp
Senior Manager, T56 3.5 Sales & Marketing
U.S. non-DoD and International
Tel: (317) 230-2017

Bob Settle
U.S. Air Force Customer Executive
Tel: (317) 230-6268