At the beginning of this week, Honeywell said it was awarded by the U.S. Army a $476 million contract to keep supplying new and spare T55 engines until 2024. The company will also have to provide the control units for these powerplants.
“Supporting the U.S. Army Chinook Program is a bedrock principle for Honeywell Aerospace,” said in a statement Steven Williams, vice president of Defense Aftermarket, Honeywell Aerospace. “Our mission is manufacturing, maintaining, and modernizing T55 engines for the critical heavy-lift mission, and we take this mission seriously. We are very proud to continue our strong relationship with PEO Aviation, the U.S. Army and our warfighter.”
The T55 engine first appeared before the Chinook came onto the scene in 1955. In its early incarnations, it developed 1,600 shaft horsepower, but that increased with every version.
The engines Honeywell is tapped to keep making are of the T55-GA-714A variety. They are capable of developing 4,800 shaft horsepower (22 percent more power than the preceding version, while using seven percent less fuel) and can take the Chinook to top speeds of 196 mph (315 kph).
Since its introduction, over 6,000 T55 were made, flying for a combined 12 million hours. In the ongoing war in Afghanistan, this particular helicopter has the most recorded crashes to its name, including from hostile fire, more than the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache.