Three-shaft turboprop's high pressure-ratio core seen as good basis for trainer engine

Rolls-Royce could use the TP400 turboprop proposed for the Airbus Military A400M transport as the basis for a potential Adour turbofan successor. The A400Mengine competition, with Pratt &Whitney Canada offering the PW180, is now expected to be decided next month.

The three-shaft TP400, proposed by the R-R-led Europrop International consortium, uses high-pressure compressor technology from the company's Trent commercial turbofan.

"That gives us a high pressure-ratio core, which could be a good basis for a future trainer engine," says R-R defence aerospace president Colin Green. "That could be a good successor to the Adour," which powers the BAE Systems Hawk trainer.

A two-shaft turbofan derivative would have a low-pressure system derived from the intermediate-pressure spool of the three-shaft Trent. This would make the engine more powerful than required for a direct Adour replacement, Green says, and its development could be dependent on "whatever happens to the [EADS] Mako". As well as the yet-to-be-launched trainer/light-attack Mako, the engine would be suitable to power unmanned combat air vehicles.

Snecma will be responsible for the TP400's combustor and high-pressure turbine, while MTU will produce the intermediate-stage compressor and turbine and ITP the low-pressure turbine.

P&WC's PW180 turboprop is based on the core of the Canadian company's PW800 geared turbofan, in development for potential regional jet projects. The winning A400M engine is expected to be launched formally at the end of the year, or in the first quarter of 2003.

Rolls-Royce and Turbomeca would build the RTM322 turboshaft in the USA if the engine is selected to power the US101, a Lockheed Martin-led version of the AgustaWestland EH101s on offer to the US armed forces. The work would involve R-R in Indianapolis, with final assembly at Turbomeca's factory south of Dallas/Forth Worth Airport.

Source: Flight International