Honeywell Takes T55 Engine to New Heights

June 12, 2019 | Author: John Russo

Every time a Chinook helicopter takes off it logs another milestone for one of the best-performing turboshaft engines ever built. A pair of Honeywell T55 engines has powered every model of the CH-47 twin-rotor for more than five decades, and we’re proving every day that you can teach a legendary engine new tricks.

The T55 engine has constantly evolved to meet the changing requirements of the U.S. Army and other Chinook operators around the world. The T55-714A engine that powers the CH-47F and MH-47G platforms Boeing is delivering today is considerably more powerful, reliable and fuel efficient than its predecessors.

Continuous improvement is our mantra for the T55 and for every turbine engine Honeywell produces for military and commercial aircraft. The T55 is a great example, because we’ve made seven major upgrades over the years to build on the engine’s proven performance record. As a result, the 714A variant is truly a 21st century engine, ready to take on the challenges of the future.

That’s why Sikorsky and Boeing came to Honeywell when they needed an engine in this power class to show off the capabilities of the SB>1 DEFIANT medium-lift demonstrator for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. The demonstrator made its first flight in March. We have been working with both of these aerospace giants for many years and we’re extremely proud they choose our T55 engines for the SB>DEFIANT demonstrator.

The T55 family continues to evolve. While the SB>1 DEFIANT uses production T55-714A engines fresh from our Engines Center of Excellence in Phoenix, our talented Engines & Power Systems engineering teams are in the final stages of development on the next version of the T55. This new variant will take performance to another level by incorporating technologies and lessons-learned from our commercial turbine business.

For example, we learned a lot about compressor technology while developing our latest and greatest business jet turbofan, the HTF7000. We’ll begin testing the compressor section for the new T55 variant this summer and expect to begin full up engine testing in early 2020. With the full range of improvements, the new T55 will set new standards with 25 percent more power and improved fuel efficiency. It will provide operators with increased payload, range, maintainability and reliability.

As excited as we are about the terrific potential of the Future Vertical Lift rotorcraft, we’re equally jazzed about providing the most-advanced T55 engine to extend the productive life of a still-relevant workhorse – the Chinook – which the Army expects to operate for another 40 years or more.

We’ve listened to operators and aircraft manufacturers to understand their needs. The power to lift ever-increasing payloads, including troops, equipment and supplies. The range to get where they’re going to support the warfighter wherever he or she needs to be. The reliability to make sure the aircraft is available for every mission. The fuel-efficiency to complete the mission and shrink the logistics pipeline. The maintainability that makes the engine easy to work on. They get all that – and more – with our new and improved T55 engine.

John Russo

John Russo

John Russo is a Sr. Product Director for Military Turboshaft Engines at Honeywell Aerospace.

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