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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.)
—Merri Shaffer
6/5/2013
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