ITEC ships first F124 turbofan to MDC for Australian T-45 bid

THE FIRST F124-400 turbofan for installation in a McDonnell Douglas (MDC) T-45A Goshawk has been shipped to MDC by AlliedSignal Aerospace's International Turbine Engine (ITEC) for eventual demonstration to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The installation is being hastened to allow flight-testing to begin within the next two months. Despite the urgency, it is not known whether the condensed programme will allow enough time for MDC to demonstrate the F124-powered T-45 to the RAAF before it makes its long-awaited decision on the choice of a lead-in fighter, at a cost of $1 billion.

MDC selected the F124 as the primary engine choice for its RAAF bid, preferring it to the Rolls-Royce Turbom,ca Adour Mk 871, the standard power plant for the British Aerospace Hawk and its T-45A derivative. The programme also supports ITEC's long-held goal of unseating the Adour on the US Navy T-45A fleet. The T-45A and Hawk are being pitched at the RAAF business against the Rolls-Royce Viper-powered Aermacchi MB339FD.

ITEC president Pat Hurley says: "We believe the F124's digital engine controls, high reliability, low life-cycle cost and improved performance are competitive advantages in the competition." R-R is countering the ITEC attack with a large packet of upgrades to the Adour, which includes an improved combustor, redesigned low-pressure nozzle guide vanes, and upgraded jet-pipe (Flight International, 5-11 June).

The US Department of the Navy has formally approved the advanced digital display, known as the "Cockpit 21", for the McDonnell Douglas T-45A Goshawk advanced trainer.

The new layout includes two multi-function displays in each crew station and a head-up-display in the forward cockpit. The first production T-45A to receive Cockpit 21 will be No8 4, due to be handed over in October 1997.

Source: Flight International