Honeywell has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Army to demonstrate its upgraded T55 turboshaft engine on the CH-47 Chinook twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter.
The new 6,000-horsepower engine is 25% more powerful and consumes 10% less fuel than the current T55. New modifications also make the next-generation T55 easier to maintain with lower operating costs and increased readiness for the warfighter.
The new T55-GA-714C engine is specifically designed for next-generation military operators, and will improve the Chinook helicopter’s ability to lift troops and heavy cargo for the U.S. Army and National Guard. Because the engine is based closely on the T55 version currently in use, almost no airframe changes are required — the same intake, exhaust and engine airframe mounts are used. This provides the Army and National Guard with a major engine improvement without the need to retrain their maintenance and operational staff.
The design improvement will be demonstrated as part of the Cooperation Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) process with the U.S. Army. The engine upgrade can be incorporated either by modifying existing engines at overhaul in the U.S. fleet or with new production engines.
“Honeywell has spent years designing and developing the T55-GA-714C engine as part of our commitment to push the T55’s power beyond the needs of the Chinook helicopter,” said Dave Marinick, president, Engines and Power Systems, Honeywell Aerospace. “For 60 years, we’ve powered the world’s most premier heavy-lift helicopter, and this latest improvement increases performance while saving important program dollars and maintenance hours as well as increasing mission readiness. We are proud of our legacy on the Chinook helicopter, and we are committed to continuously improve the T55 engine.”
The installation and demonstration of the advanced T55 engine will take place on a CH-47F Chinook at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia, under the supervision of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (CCDC AvMC). The demonstration will show the ease of installation and prove out the engine’s new compressor design that brings additional performance and reduces fuel burn. After that, Honeywell will complete the final qualification process for the new engine design.
Honeywell first delivered the T55 engine to the U.S. Army in 1961 at 2,050 shaft horsepower on the CH-47A helicopter. Since that time, the engine’s power has nearly tripled to 6,000 shaft horsepower. Each performance increase on the T55 is accompanied by reduced fuel burn, increased reliability and decreased maintenance hours. The T55 engine is the world leader in powering heavy-lift helicopters. Over 900 CH-47 helicopters are operated today by various militaries around the world.