Honeywell is confident it can meet the US Coast Guard's Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin upgrade requirement with a new version of the LTS101 turboshaft, having received the USCG's outline power specifications. Competition is expected from the Turbomeca Arriel 2C1.

A decision is due in mid-2005, "so we have plenty of time to certify the development growth engine", says Honeywell programme manager Bob Miller.

The growth engine - the LTS101-950 - will have up to 23% more take-off power and provides the basis for a possible series of modular upgrades to the -750 and -850 variants. The improved axi-centrifugal compressor at the heart of the -950 will also be scaleable, says Miller, who suggests a smaller variant could be added. The result will be a new family covering 370-745kW (500-1,000shp), he adds.

Turbomeca has started flight testing a re-engined HH-65 under a USCG-funded demonstration programme. The engine is up to 28% more powerful than the LTS101 variant in the HH-65 and is performing well in tests, says the French company.

Turbomeca is also increasing the stakes by creating a US production line for its Arriel family of engines in Grand Prairie, Texas. The first engines will be produced in May, and production will eventually be divided equally between the US and French lines, with each producing around 150 powerplants a year.

Turbomeca says the new line is to diversify its production base and strengthen its US activities, but industry observers also see it as an attempt to answer criticism in the US Congress of a USCG-funded Arriel flight test.

Source: Flight International