Graham Warwick/ATLANTA

ALLISON IS TO flight-test a turboprop derivative of the LHTEC T800 turboshaft engine on a US Army Bombardier de Havilland Dash 7 in 1997.

The demonstration effort is being funded by $33 million provided by the US Department of Defense's Technology Re-investment Programme.

The US Army uses the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered Dash 7 as a surveillance platform and now operates six, with a requirement for a further nine. Re-engineing with the CTP800 turboprop would cut fuel consumption by 40% and reduce support costs, Allison claims.

Allison will develop the required propeller reduction-gearbox. LHTEC partner Allied-Signal will not participate because the CTP800 will compete with its existing TPE331 turboprop. One CTP800 will be mated to an existing Dash 7 propeller for the demonstration.

LHTEC, meanwhile, plans to certificate the commercial CTS800-4N version of the T800 in March 1998, to meet GKN Westland's timescale for delivery of the Super Lynx naval helicopter. Super Lynx offers to New Zealand and Australia are based around the T800, LHTEC says.

The CTS800-4N is a reduced-cost derivative of the uprated T800-801 turboshaft which is under development for the US Army's Boeing Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche helicopter and which produces 950-1,150kW (1,275-1,550shp).

Features include a low-cost Chandler Evans full-authority digital engine-control system and an integral reduction-gearbox which is compatible with existing light helicopters.

LHTEC says that Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has selected the CTS800 to power commercial versions of India's Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), but no decision has yet been taken on an engine for military variants. HAL is flight-testing the CTS800 in the prototype Indian navy ALH.

The US Army, in the meantime, has been asked to extend the lease of T800s used in five re-engined Bell UH-1s, redesignated BP-800s, which have been used by the US Border Patrol for an initial one-year trial begun in July 1995. More than 1,000 engine hours have so far been accumulated on the aircraft.

Source: Flight International