Rolls-Royce demonstrates 13% fuel savings on T56 engine enhancement

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Rolls-Royce has completed assembly and ground testing of the first enhanced T56 engine for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) WP-3D aircraft, demonstrating fuel use reduction over 13 per cent.

NOAA's "Hurricane Hunters" will be the first aircraft to fly the Rolls-Royce T56 engine enhancement, known as the Series 3.5. While C-130 flight tests and engine ground tests have shown significant improvement over requirements, the Series 3.5 package requirements call for a 7.9 per cent fuel reduction.

Rolls-Royce and the US Air Force (USAF) have also started planning discussions for the introduction of the Series 3.5 into its fleet of C-130s. Initial funding of $15.7 million for the engine enhancement package was approved by Congress last month, launching the technology insertion for the USAF, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard fleets.

In addition to reduced fuel consumption, the enhancement package allows T56 engines to operate at significantly lower turbine temperatures, extending parts life and improving reliability by 22 percent.

Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce, President Defense, said: "The T56 Series 3.5 engine enhancement has demonstrated significant fuel savings and we have now started discussions to insert this technology improvement into the US Air Force transport fleet. A USAF study concluded this innovative technology would save the service $2 billion and extend the life of the fleet for decades."

The P-3 Series 3.5 flight test and qualification program, supported by Lockheed Martin, is planned to be completed later this year. The first fully equipped NOAA WP-3D aircraft with Series 3.5 enhancements is expected to enter service beginning in early 2015.

The engine enhancement package is in the final stages of completing all requirements for US Air Force qualification on the C-130 and recently received FAA certification for the commercial version of the T56 engine. Deliveries of the new engine enhancement packages to the Air Force are expected to begin in 2016.

The T56 Series 3.5 engine enhancement can be installed as part of a conventional engine overhaul, and does not require any aircraft or engine control system modifications. In addition to USAF and NOAA, international operators of C-130 and P-3 aircraft are also considering incorporating the T56 engine enhancement into their fleets.

  1. Rolls-Royce's vision is to create better power for a changing world via two main business segments, Aerospace and Marine & Industrial Power Systems (MIPS). These businesses address their markets with two strong technology platforms, gas turbines and reciprocating engines, for use on land, at sea and in the air.
  2. Aerospace comprises Civil Aerospace and Defence Aerospace. MIPS comprises Marine, Energy, Nuclear and Power Systems. Power Systems includes Rolls-Royce's 50% ownership of Rolls-Royce Power Systems (RRPS), a joint venture with Daimler AG. RRPS was fully consolidated in the results of Rolls-Royce plc for the first time in 2013.
  3. Rolls-Royce has a broad customer base comprising more than 380 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 4,000 marine customers, including 70 navies, and 1,600 energy and nuclear customers in 120 countries.
  4. Annual underlying revenue was £15.5 billion in 2013, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services. The firm and announced order book stood at £71.6 billion at 31 December 2013.
  5. Rolls-Royce employs over 55,000 people in offices, manufacturing and service facilities in 45 countries. Over 17,000 of these employees are engineers.
  6. In 2013, Rolls-Royce invested £1.1 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which connect the company's engineers with the forefront of scientific research.
  7. The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills. In 2013 we employed 379 graduates and 288 apprentices to our programmes worldwide.

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