Pratt & Whitney Canada is studying the market potential of re-engineing Lockheed C-130s and P-3s with its newly developed PW150 turboprop.

Thermodynamically rated at 4,980kW (6,680shp), the engine is the most powerful turboprop ever produced by the Canadian-based manufacturer and would be offered as a replacement for the incumbent Allison T501 now powering almost 1,500 C-130s and 500 P-3s. P&WC says that "-even a small percentage of that would be a considerable market".

Hercules operators also have the option of upgrading their existing fleets. Some air forces have already gone down the latter route and others are likely to follow suite.

Although the studies are "at an early study phase", says the company, they include discussions with military and civil operators, governments and modification companies. If the programme gets the go-ahead, the modification centres would hold the supplemental type certificate for the conversion.

Despite the massive installed base and deeply rooted Allison support network for the current engine, P&WC believes that the PW150 offers potential cost savings. "It was designed with durability in mind and low operating costs," says the manufacturer, adding that the PW150 is lighter and smaller than the Allison powerplant.

The studies emerge as the PW150A is prepared for certification, probably next month. The engine has been developed principally for new generation regional turboprops and is entering production for Bombardier's de Havilland Dash 8Q Series 400. For this application, the engine is flat rated at around 3,780kW at take-off.

Despite its higher power rating, the powerplant's newly designed reduction gearbox operates at only 1,020rpm at take-off, compared to 1,200rpm for other PW100 family members, and at 850rpm in the cruise. Like Allison's newest C-130J engine, the AE2100, the PW150A is fitted with a six-bladed Dowty propeller.

Source: Flight International