Honeywell [HON] this week announced the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) will purchase the Honeywell 55-L-714A engine and spares, valued at approximately $185 million, to retrofit their fleet of Chinook helicopters.
“Beginning next year, Honeywell will begin fitting U.K. Chinooks with its upgraded 55-L-714A engine that increases power by 17 percent, increases maintenance intervals and reduces fuel consumption by nearly 5 percent,” said Garrett Mikita, president, Defense & Space, Honeywell Aerospace. “The T55 has proven itself in the field for 40 years. The robust engine design and continual investment in improvements have made the T55 a workhorse in desert operations, where even the most abrasive operating environments of both sand and heat could easily rob a lesser turbine engine of its ability to deliver power in critical combat situations.”
Honeywell has delivered more than 5,300 T55 engines. The T55 fleet has accumulated more than seven million hours of operation around the globe, powering helicopters in military operations since the 1960s. In addition to the U.K. Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinooks, the Honeywell T55 engines are on Chinooks in the U.S. Army, Royal Netherlands Air Force and other fleets worldwide.
“Honeywell and the U.K. MoD have worked together for more than 20 years,” Mikita said “We have supported the U.K. MoD’s engine and depot needs since they acquired a Chinook fleet.”
“The fleet fit 714 upgrade is an essential and very welcome step change in U.K. Chinook capability,” said Group Captain Andy Taylor, Station Commander at RAF Odiham. “It will increase the lift capacity of our aircraft in Afghanistan, broaden safety margins when the aircraft is heavy, reduce operating costs and equip the aircraft through to its out of service date. Our early appreciation of what the engine will offer is enormously positive and I am confident that the proven joint collaboration between RAF Odiham, MoD, Helicopter Engines Project Team and industry will deliver this vital upgrade in record time.”
“Chinook is the aircraft of choice in Afghanistan for heavy lift and is providing a pivotal role in supporting the Front Line,” said Pete Worrall, the U.K.’s Director of Helicopters. “With the fleet wide introduction of the 714 engine we can now follow the USA’s success and gain the advantage of significantly more lift capacity whilst increasing fuel efficiency.”
The Chinook, produced by Boeing [BA] is a multi-mission, heavy-lift transport helicopter that primarily moves troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. Its secondary missions include medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, fire fighting, parachute drops, heavy construction and civil development.
The U.K. MoD will acquire the new helicopter engines in the next five years. The Royal Air Force will operate the fleet, which will be upgraded by Vector Aerospace at Fleetlands, Gosport.