Honeywell Engines has adop-ted a pioneering role in the U.S. Army’s Small Heavy Fuel Engine (SHFE) development program, an advanced joint program started five years ago to develop and demonstrate turboshaft engines in the 700-shp class. The program has sought to achieve a number of lofty goals including a 20-percent reduction in specific fuel consumption, a 50-percent power-to-weight improvement and a 35-percent reduction of life-cycle costs.
Ron Rich, director of advanced technology for Honeywell Engines, said testing and qualification of a fully assembled engine for the SHFE program will be completed this year. He explained that the “Heavy Fuel” term in the program title is a vestige of the original concept, which was to produce a turboshaft engine that could run on any kerosene-based fuel available to an Army unit at any place and time.
To date engineers have completed component rig tests including development and validation of compressor, combustor, high-pressure turbine, bearings and seals. Honeywell has also performed two successful runs of the core engine to full speed. The test included mapping the core engine aerodynamically and mechanically throughout the speed range as well as measuring stresses and pressures. The first full engine test took place at the end of last year.
On tap for this year are two additional full engine tests that will include demonstrations of engine performance under full and cruise power. Honeywell will also conduct a series of non-destructive durability tests.
The SHFE effort is the first in a joint service gas turbine development program called VAATE, for versatile affordable advanced turbine engine. Honeywell has a second VAATE program in progress, and it expects to add a third this year. The second VAATE program involves a small turbofan for use by the Air Force, in a power class applicable to manned or unmanned aircraft.
Meanwhile, the 1,000-shp-class HTS 900 turboshaft engine Honeywell is developing for the Army’s Bell Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter is in certification testing at the engine maker’s Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport center. Rich said prototype engines are currently powering two ARH helos in limited-use test flights at the Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in southwest Arizona, Honeywell also reports that the venerable T55 engine for the Boeing Chinook transport helicopter (in its -714 incarnation) continues to perform well. Following the 1994 AlliedSignal acquisition of Lycoming, the original T55 manufacturer, more than 1,200 T55s in progressively improved versions have been built in Phoenix at Sky Harbor Airport. Honeywell is filling an Army contract for re-engining its current Chinook fleet. Over the years, T55 horsepower has risen from the 2,500-shp class up to 4,700 shp along with improvements in both power-to-weight and reliability.
In the commercial arena, Honeywell is promoting retrofit of two upgraded LTS-101 versions into the Eurocopter AS350 BA and AS350 B2, and the availability for retrofit of commercial and FAA-certified remanufactured Huey T53 engines.
Rich said the LTS101 upgrade program will offer AS350 operators increased power, performance, temperature and speed margins while boosting takeoff shaft horsepower, from 615 to 650 with the LTS101-600A-3A for the AS350 BA, and to 732 with the LTS101-700D-2 for the AS350B2. Performance benefits claimed for the -600A-3A upgraded LTS101, compared to the Turbomeca Arriel AS350 option, include a 6 percent increase in takeoff power, up to 15 percent greater payload and a 15 to 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption.