Rolls-Royce has received an engine upgrade contract that will extend Thailand’s operational use of the Lockheed Martin C-130H tactical transport and also reduce the maintenance demands of its turboprop engines.

Announced on 18 June, the deal makes Bangkok "the first international customer to update its C-130H fleet with the T56 Series 3.5 engine upgrade", R-R says. The activity covers a total of 58 engines, with an initial three-year phase to cover upgrades on 20 of these.

R-R-authorised maintenance centre Segers Aero of Fairhope, Alabama, will perform the upgrade work, which the engine manufacturer says will be conducted during periods of scheduled overhaul.

"The Series 3.5 upgrade will help the Royal Thai Air Force to reduce operational costs due to reduced maintenance requirements, and [deliver] potential fuel savings exceeding 12%," R-R says. "It will also enable the fleet to remain in service until at least 2040."

Cirium's Fleets Analyzer shows that the Royal Thai Air Force has an active inventory of 12 H-model Hercules, aged between 26 and 38 years.

The T56 upgrade has previously been selected as part of a modernisation effort being performed on legacy C-130s for the US Air Force, and Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft employed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.