Honeywell has announced that it is finalising an updated version of the legacy T55 engine that powers the US Army’s Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.

The company has been developing the improved T55 engine that is proposed as a replacement for the legacy T55 engine, which has been in use on the Chinook for nearly 57 years.

The upgrade programme is undergoing optimisation and risk-reduction testing.

Based on the company’s estimates, the new T55 engine is expected to provide a 20% power increase at sea level and 10% more power at high and hot altitudes when compared to the legacy system.

In addition, the fuel consumption of the improved variant is claimed to be 9% less.

Honeywell Aerospace engines vice-president Dave Marinick said: “Honeywell is committed to continually improving the T55 engine to meet military needs and developing reliable, time-tested engines that require less maintenance and can withstand harsh environments.

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“Our dedication in continually improving the T55 is a testament to more than five successful decades working alongside the US Army to protect and serve its soldiers.”

The firm stated that the user does not need to make changes to the helicopter engine mount or engine interfaces to shift to the new engine.

To meet the heavy-lift needs of the user, Honeywell has incorporated advanced compressor technology in the engine for improved horsepower and range.

The T55 engine also features enhancements that are intended to enhance reliability while reducing maintenance costs over its lifecycle.

Marinick added: “Upgrading the combat-proven T55 is the lowest cost and lowest risk path to keeping Chinook fleets operating at maximum efficiency. There is no better option for today’s warfighter.

“The engine is a stepping stone to what Honeywell believes could be the lowest cost, best-value offering for propulsion power for US military future long-range assault aircraft (FLRAA), part of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme.”

According to Honeywell, the improved T55 solution can be provided as a kit to upgrade the existing engines or as a new engine option.