Honeywell and the U.S. Army passed a major milestone in January when they completed the overhaul of the 1,000th T55 engine at the Corpus Christi Army Depot in Texas. A pair of the Honeywell engines power the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, a mainstay of the Army’s fleet and the only heavy-duty helicopter the service flies.
Under the program, worn parts are replaced in the T55 engines to restore the engine to like-new condition and return it to service. The overhaul is less than half the cost of replacing the engine and the Army has saved more than $36 million so far.
“This has been an extremely successful program that shows the power of government-industry partnership,” said Rod Hynes, Sr. Director of Army Programs at Honeywell. “The Army, Honeywell and KBRwyle work extremely well together to extend the life of this great helicopter that is so critical to achieving the Army’s mission and supporting warfighters in the field.”
The overhaul program began in 2005 and the first T55 was overhauled at Corpus Christi in 2006, according to Program Manager Mike Boies. “That engine is still flying on a C-47 based at Ft. Hood in Texas,” he said. “It’s extremely gratifying to everyone on the Honeywell-KBRwyle Corpus Christi team to know we are making a difference and meeting the Army’s needs.”
Quality and program performance are priorities for the team, which has enabled the depot to be ranked 100 percent capable for all engine overhaul process and achieve 100 percent on-time delivery for nine years.
Plans call for about 45 engines to be overhauled at the depot this year. Each overhaul takes 120-200 days, depending on the condition of the engine when it comes into the depot. The team overhauled about 100 engines each year at the program’s peak, during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Chinook is considered the workhorse of the Army fleet. It carries both troops and supplies and supports a full spectrum of operations including disaster relief, homeland defense and security, and overseas contingency operations.
Honeywell has produced more than 6,000 T55 engines, which have logged more than 12 million hours of operation on the CH47 and MH47 helicopters.