Hamilton Sundstrand plans to offer its new eight-bladed NP2000 propeller as a retrofit for older overseas- operated Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes and US Navy Grumman C-2 Greyhounds. This follows a launch order from the USN, France and Taiwan to equip their newer Group 2 and Hawkeye 2000 aircraft.

The USN has awarded Hamilton Sundstrand a $44.5 million production contract for 188 propellers, with the option for another 54. The propellers, scheduled for delivery before the end of 2005, cover the retrofit of 21 Rolls-Royce T56-427-powered Hawkeye 2000s on order or in service with the USN and 50 older Group 2-standard aircraft.

Also included are propellers for France's three Group 2 E-2Cs and Taiwan's four Group 2 aircraft and two Hawkeye 2000s. "There is a lot of interest, but these are older T56-425-powered aircraft, on which the blade still needs testing," says Mike Zalucki, Hamilton Sundstrand propulsion business general manager.

Hamilton Sundstrand is hoping to leverage off testing, due to start next January, of the new composite propeller on the similarly engined C-2 aircraft carrier compatible transport. The navy plans a follow-on depot retrofit of its 36 Greyhounds in 2006-7. The company also wants to offer the blade as an upgrade for T-56-powered Lockheed Martin C-130s and P-3s.

Japan is believed to be among the more interestedE-2C operators. It is upgrading its 13 Group 0aircraft to Hawkeye 2000s. Egypt is similarly upgrading its six Group 0 aircraft and is looking at the propeller, which offers a three to four times improvement in mean time between failure over the increasingly hard to support four-blade propeller.

The NP2000 is a development of the six-blade Ratier-Figeac 568F propeller on the ATR 42/72. Northrop Grumman opted for an eight-blade design to minimise the change to the airborne early warning aircraft's harmonics.


Source: Flight International