Rolls-Royce is mapping future growth plans for the RTM322 helicopter engine that could increase the engine's power from the baseline 1,640kW (2,200shp) to around 2,235kW.

The engine - developed by R-R with Turbomeca - powers the AgustaWestland EH101/Merlin and NHI NH90. The RTM322 in UK Royal Air Force Merlin HC3 utility machines is higher powered than that in the Royal Navy Merlin maritime helicopters thanks to higher turbine temperatures, while the NH90 engine has an increased pressure-ratio compressor compared with the EH101 and Westland Apache AH1 engines, says R-R chief engineer, helicopter engines, Andrew Webb.

The new compressor allows R-R and Turbomeca to seek further increases in turbine temperatures to provide greater power. Technology from R-R's Trent commercial engines will be inserted into the RTM322, says Webb. This includes new turbine blade material, using second-generation single crystal technology.

A further compressor development would be based on the France/UK ASTEC technology programme.

Source: Flight International