Honeywell Aerospace has begun testing of its T55-GA-714C engine as part of the US Army’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to develop a next-generation engine for its CH-47 aircraft fleets.
The company is the first organization participating in the project to reach this stage of development.
Design verification and benchmark testing of the first T55-GA-714C engine began in November at Honeywell’s Phoenix test facility, in preparation of the engine’s installation on a flight test aircraft, and testing is expected to be carried out over a two-year period.
To date, the engine has been successfully completed testing for Maximum Continuous Power, demonstrated mechanical operation, and acquired key performance data. Additional tests at higher power levels are also planned.
“First engine to test is a significant achievement for the program and is the culmination of detailed design work, component manufacturing, system integration and validation,” said Dave Marinick, President for Engines and Power Systems at Honeywell Aerospace.
More horsepower with lower fuel consumption
The T55-GA-714C engine is based on previous iterations of the Honeywell T55 engine, which have featured in Chinook helicopters since the inception of the CH-47A Chinook in 1961. The T55-GA-714C engine has the advantage of requiring minimal airframe modifications to install compared with its rivals due to this lineage, utilizing the same intake, exhaust, and engine mounts as its last-generation equivalents.
The new upgraded engine reportedly offers 6,000 horsepower – an increase of 23 per cent more power, alongside eight per cent less fuel consumption compared with last-generation T55 engines. Honeywell also says that the next-generation T55 engine will offer easier maintenance at lower operating costs for operators.
The next-generation Chinook engine project reaffirms long-standing ties between the two organizations. Honeywell was previously awarded a US$476 million four-year contract by the US Army for the provision of spare current-generation T55-GA-714A engines in March 2021. In addition, the US Army awarded a five-year repair and overhaul contract for the T55-GA-714A engines on its Chinook fleet in October 2020.
“We are proud to partner with the US Army on the CRADA program for the next-generation T55-GA-714C engine,” said Steven Williams, Vice President, Defense Aftermarket, Honeywell Aerospace. “We will be able to demonstrate the power, capability and reliability of the upgraded engine to the US Army. Additionally, we are on track and on schedule to deliver the new engines and meet the US Army’s needs.”