Flight tests have validated a new engine upgrade for Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines powering V-22 aircraft, maximizing “hot and high” capability up to 6,000 feet of altitude and 95°F.
The enhanced capability is part of a series of upgrades that will boost engine power 17 percent for the aircraft, as Rolls-Royce continues to add innovations to the proven AE 1107C engine. The flight tests were conducted in a Bell Boeing V-22 test aircraft, and completed this summer in the western United States.
Rolls-Royce, which was named a “Superior Supplier” by the US Navy this year, has incorporated the “hot and high” improvements at company expense through a MissionCare™ contract with the Navy. MissionCare, a Rolls-Royce designed package of services, incentivizes the company to design technology and affordability improvements to benefit the customer. Rolls-Royce has invested $90 million in capability and reliability improvements for the AE 1107C engine since 2009, reducing the maintenance cost per flight hour by 34 percent.
Tom Hartmann, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President Customer Business, said, “Rolls-Royce works continuously to develop improvements for the customer, focusing on enhancing capabilities and reducing costs. The AE 1107C engine is combat-proven and dependable – a powerplant that V-22 pilots and crew can rely on to complete their mission and return to base safely.”
Vince Tobin, Bell Helicopter, Vice President and Program Director for the Bell Boeing V-22, said “We are always grateful to see this type of innovation and support from our suppliers with the V-22 program. The team constantly seeks for ways to improve the capabilities we deliver to the fleet. We appreciate it when we can deliver enhanced performance that helps the customer maximize their own resources.”
The Navy recognized Rolls-Royce improvements for the AE 1107C with a Commander’s Award from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in 2011. The propulsion team developed, qualified, tested and fielded upgraded engines in only seven months, including what the Navy called “an unprecedented design change.” The improvements led to the doubling of Time on Wing in only one year. The AE 1107C has the potential to increase its power rating to over 8,000 shaft horsepower by applying the experience and component design technology currently within the AE product family. In ground tests, the engine has demonstrated the capability to produce over 8,800 shaft horsepower.
Rolls-Royce has delivered more than 730 AE 1107C engines and is currently testing the MT7, a naval variant of the engine which has been selected for the US Navy’s Ship to Shore Connector. Both engines are part of the AE family of engines, which has topped 61 million flight hours.