Despite a less than auspicious debut into service the Royal Air Force’s Lockheed Martin C-130J is now racking-up the operational hours in support of deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reflecting the high fleet utilization rate, the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 engine has just passed the 500,000 flying hour milestone in the RAF. Maintenance is covered by the Hercules Integrated Operations Support contract which the Defense Ministry has with Rolls-Royce.
Not all Hercules engine platforms with which Rolls-Royce is involved are doing quite so well. Airbus’s TP400-D6 engine test-bed aircraft remains under the thrall of gravity, though the aim still appears to be to begin test flights before year-end.
The modified Hercules, fitted with a Europrop International TP400 turboprop, is continuing to undergo ground test runs at Marshall Aerospace in Cambridge. Integration not only of the engine, but also the flight test equipment, has proved challenging. A first flight had originally been planned for the end of 2006.
Picture Credit MoD/Crown Copyright