Ramon Lopez/FORT WORTH
The US Army has agreed to assist the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in qualifying the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 turboshaft for the Westland/ McDonnell Douglas WAH-64D Apache attack helicopter being procured for the British Army.
The US decision to support the engine-integration effort helps UK prime-contractor Westland and the MoD overcome contractual differences concerning the purchase, which threatened to delay the programme. The contract was signed on 25 March.
One problem facing the parties was the installation and testing of the RTM322 on the Apache. The UK opted to use the RTM322 rather than the General Electric T700 fitted to all other versions of the helicopter.
Two options were under discussion: testing the RTM322 on a US Army Apache and using the first WAH-64D for engine integration and certification.
Col Stephen Kee, the US Army's AH-64 programme manager, says: "We have been asked to assist the UK MoD with integration of the RTM322 powerplant into the AH-64D Apache. They will use one of the US Army's prototype aircraft to conduct the integration."
As to whether the UK should expect problems with the engine/airframe integration, Kee says: "There are always problems with integrating [an engine] into an aircraft it was not designed for, [but] those are challenges which can be overcome."
Source: Flight International