Rolls-Royce C-130 Engine Upgrade Update
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. "It's just down to paperwork at this
point," said Tom Hartmann, Rolls-Royce senior vice president for defense, during a briefing
with reporters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The Series 3.5 engine
enhancement is designed to enable the Air Force to operate its C-130H fleet out
to 2040. The upgrade provides fuel savings of nearly 10 percent, plus
performance and reliability improvements, said Hartmann. Interest from international C-130 operators continues to grow, he noted,
estimating about 17 different potential buyers. "We believe it is going to
be a strong global program as everyone retrenches and tries to make do with the
equipment they have and get it to last longer," said Hartmann. As Rolls-Royce
waits on the Air Force to commit to the program via a production contract, the
company has started low-rate production of the upgrade kits. (See also No
Vanity, Just Better Vanes.)
In More Depth
|Gates Versus the Air Force
In his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the Air Force as “one of my biggest headaches”—a perception USAF leaders were never able to turn around during his tenure.
A Systemic Problem
Air Force Secretary Deborah James acknowledged the Air Force does “have a systemic problem” within its nuclear forces, though she said she is confident the mission itself remains strong.
The A-12, Settled At Last
After a 23-year seesaw legal battle in which both sides were at some point “up” by more than a billion dollars, the Navy and its A-12 contractors have put the A-12 controversy to rest with a settlement.