Rolls-Royce will postpone launching certification testing of the RR500 turboshaft after completing development in March, the company said on 13 February.

The decision will indefinitely delay the introduction of the 450shp (330kW) turbine for a wide range of potential helicopter and fixed wing applications.

As of last September, Rolls-Royce was still "locked in" to a plan to complete development and certification by the end of the first quarter this year.

However, the absence of a market recovery in the light general aviation sector prompted the manufacturer to shelve the project, according to Rolls-Royce's Greg Fedele, senior vice-president of helicopters at the show.

"We're going to pause," Fedele said. "When the market comes back we'll look at it again."

Rolls-Royce launched the new engine as a derivative of the RR300 core, which powers the five-seat Robinson R66.

The RR500 was aimed at several light helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. The programme would start with a re-engined Bell 206, which had been proposed as a supplemental type certificate by Uniflight.

The RR500 has completed about 1,000h of testing on the ground, including a 150h durability test, Fedele said.

In the light turbine sector, Rolls-Royce is focused on matching the swiftly rising demand for the R66. The airframer is doubling production capacity to six per week, and might boost output further to as many as 10 per month.

The manufacturer is also working on boosting the power of the Model 250 series by 9%.

A new kit upgrades three major components in the Model 250 - a diffuser ring, the impeller and the fuel nozzle, Fedele said. Combined, the upgrades boost power by 5%.

Adding a dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC) raises power output by another 4%, he added.

The US Army, which funded the FADEC development, is considering the package of Model 250 improvements for the Bell OH-58F Kiowa Warrior.

Separately, Boeing subsidiary Aviall has announced a new agreement on the Model 250. Aviall has partnered with Helicopter Services Company of Russia to support Model 250s in Russia.

Source: Flight International