Rolls-Royce is proposing to re-engine US Marine Corps Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion heavylift helicopters with the AE1107/T406 turboshaft used in the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.

R-R's Dick Lewis says the T406 was designed to be compatible with the three-engined CH-53E's General Electric T64. The USMC and navy operate around 185 CH-53s.

Lewis says R-R's proposal is driven by fears that service-introduction of a CH-53E follow-on could slip because of difficulties defining future requirements. USMC deputy chief of staff for aviation Gen Fred McCorkle says the helicopter will stay in service for 10-15 years. Twin-engined CH-53Ds are being replaced by the V-22.

Lewis says no timescales exist as Sikorsky and the USMC have not decided whether to proceed. The 4,590kW (6,150shp) T406 has lower operating costs and better reliability than the 3,270kW T64, as well as commonality with the V-22's powerplant, he adds.

Turkey has ordered CH-53Es and could be a target for R-R.

Source: Flight International