Engine Upgrade for Legacy Herc Fleet

The Air Force issued Rolls Royce a $36 million contract to modify the legacy C-130 fleet’s engines to enhance performance, the company announced on Oct. 20. Upgrading the C-130H’s T56 engines with the company’s Series 3.5 modifications will improve the aircraft’s reliability and performance, especially in hot or high-altitude conditions. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration WP-3D Orion hurricane research aircraft equipped with upgrades has already demonstrated a more than 12 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, according to a release. “The T56 Series 3.5 technology has proven itself in challenging hurricane flight operations … and we are excited to launch the upgrades into the US Air Force C-130 fleet,” said Phil Burkholder, president of the company’s Defense Aerospace North America. “Operators will benefit from lower operating costs and improved reliability,” he added. The Air Force, which operates more than 370 legacy C-130 variants, including special-missions aircraft, estimates that fleet-wide modifications could save up to $2 billion over the life of the fleet, according to the release.