Rolls-Royce has completed a new engine upgrade for the AE 1107C Liberty turboshaft engines that power the US Air Force (USAF) and Marine Corps’ V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft fleet.
Carried out at a site in the western US in a Bell Boeing V-22 test aircraft, the flight tests confirmed that the engine upgrade would enable the aircraft to fly at an altitude of 6,000ft at 95°F.
Rolls-Royce customer business senior vice-president Tom Hartmann 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."
Bell Helicopter vice-president and Bell Boeing V-22 programme director Vince Tobin said: "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 maximise their own resources."
The ‘hot and high’ improvements were incorporated by the company at its own expense under a MissionCare contract with the US Navy.
Since 2009, the company has invested $90m in capability and reliability improvements for the AE 1107C engine, thereby reducing the maintenance cost per flight hour by 34%.
A part of Rolls-Royce’s AE product family, the AE 1107 is a new-generation 6,000shp class turboshaft engine and consists of a 14-stage compressor followed by an effusion-cooled annular combustor, a two-stage gas generator turbine and a two-stage power turbine.
The combat-proven powerplant shares a common core with the AE 3007 and AE 2100 engines, and is housed in V-22’s wing-tip tilting nacelles, which enables the distinctive flight characteristics of the aircraft.
Manufactured by Bell-Boeing, the V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission aircraft used for amphibious assault, combat support, long-range special operations infiltration and exfiltration, transport, search-and-rescue, medical evacuation and fleet logistic support missions.
Image: The Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engine powers US military’s V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft fleet. Photo: copyright Rolls-Royce plc 2014.