Paul Lewis/Washington DC

Rolls-Royce has launched a study to offer the Trent 500 turbofan for the US Air Force's planned re-engining of the Lockheed Martin C-5A/B transport. It is also proposing an RB211-535-powered version of the BoeingC-17 for the Royal Air Force's short-term strategic airlifter (STSA) requirement.

R-R is looking at a C-5 application for its civil Trent 500 powerplant in response to a USAF request for funding to re-engine the transport under the Reliability Enhancement Programme. The 52,000-60,000lb-thrust (235-270kN) Trent 500 is in development to power the Airbus Industrie A340-500/600 derivative.

The USAF is looking for a powerplant in the 50,000lb-thrust flat-rated class to replace the C-5's General Electric TF-39-IC. The air force is interested primarily in improving the C-5's in-service reliability and extending the average on-wing time of its engines.

Pratt & Whitney plans to offer the 50,000lb-thrust PW4650 version of its commercial PW4000 series of engines, while GE has announced plans to team with Lockheed Martin to propose a similarly rated version of theCF6-80C2 turbofan for the C-5.

The airframe manufacturer confirms that it has also "-been talking to R-R and P&W about C-5 engine compatibility issues". It adds: "While it is certainly focused on teaming with GE, it will provide whatever is in the best interests and value to the customer."

R-R, as with its earlier unsolicited proposal to re-engine the USAF's B-52H bomber fleet with leased RB211-535E4B turbofans, will probably pitch for C-5 work through its US subsidiary Rolls-Royce Allison. The company says its B-52 proposal is still on the table, although it appears to have been put on the backburner within the US defence department.

A version of the -535 engine is being offered to the RAF as an alternative to the civil PW2043 version of the F117-200 powering the four C-17s, which Boeing is offering for the STSA lease contract. R-R's bid appears to be independent from Boeing's and includes the offer of a fleet management agreement. R-R hopes to be able to offer the engine to the USAF for future C-17s purchases.

The UK engine company is also offering an RB211-524HT-powered version of the AntonovAn-124 in association with Air Foyle and Antonov to meet the RAF requirement.

Source: Flight International