Rolls-Royce has announced that the Royal Thai Air Force is the first international customer to update its C-130H transport fleet with the Rolls-Royce T56 Series 3.5 engine upgrade.

The technology upgrade has achieved considerable success with the US Air Force C-130 and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) P-3 fleets, say the firm.

The Series 3.5 upgrade allows T56 engines to operate at greatly reduced temperatures, extending parts life and improving reliability by 22 per cent. It is available for installation on T56 engines powering either C-130 or P-3 legacy aircraft.

The firm claim that the Series 3.5 upgrade will help the Royal Thai Air Force to reduce operational costs due to reduced maintenance requirements and potential fuel savings exceeding 12 per cent.

It will also enable the fleet to remain in service until at least 2040, say Rolls Royce.

Paul Craig, Rolls-Royce, President – Defence Services, said in a release:

“Rolls-Royce is pleased to secure the Royal Thai Air Force as our first international customer for the T56 Series 3.5 upgrade. The Series 3.5 package has already proven itself with the US Air Force and we are pleased that the Royal Thai Air Force will now be able to benefit from the improved fuel economy and enhanced performance and reliability that this upgrade offers.”

The first phase of the upgrade involves upgrading 20 engines from a total fleet of 58 engines over the next three years.

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A 22% increase in reliability is pretty dam good.