U.S. Navy’s First C/KC-130T Hercules Aircraft Equipped with NP2000 Propellers Performs Maiden Flight

The U.S. Navy’s first C/KC-130T Hercules aircraft equipped with NP2000 propellers performed its maiden flight on Sept. 27, in Kiln, Miss.

This is the first of the Navy C/KC-130T aircraft to receive this modification, and it was delivered to the fleet in five months.

In July this year, UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS), a unit of United Technologies Corp. (UTC), announced that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to support NP2000 propeller upgrades for 24 Lockheed Martin C/KC-130T aircraft. The company had already completed 9 of 12 contracted C-130H propeller upgrades for the Air National Guard (ANG).

With its eight composite blades and enhanced electronic control system, the NP2000 offers several benefits to operators compared to legacy systems, including:

+ Reduction in vibration and interior noise (approximately 15db sound reduction in the cockpit)
+ Thrust increase (approximately 20 percent increase in low-speed acceleration)
+ Associated fuel savings, depending on operating conditions.

Unlike the C-130’s existing system, the NP2000 propeller allows operators to remove and replace individual blades on-wing, without removing the entire propeller system. This enhancement provides critical value to operators by significantly reducing maintenance time and cost, while increasing the aircraft’s availability.

As an upgrade for the C-130H’s legacy mechanical control system from the 1960s, the NP2000 incorporates more electric and more intelligent technologies from UTC Aerospace Systems, including a digital electronic control system that improves speed holding and blade synchronization. These innovations provide greater comfort and safety for the crew as well as valuable fault diagnostics for aircraft maintenance teams.

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