USAF Ski-Equipped LC-130 Transport Aircraft Receives New Engine

The US Air Force has integrated a new engine for the ski-equipped LC-130 transport aircraft to boost its capabilities in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Seven airmen conducted a test flight of the new NP2000 T56-A-15A turbo-prop 3.5 engine at Stratton Air National Guard Base in New York.

The new engine’s propellers have eight blades instead of four, increasing torque for takeoffs on ice and snow.

According to the 109th airlift wing, the ski-equipped LC-130 occasionally encounters problems when taking off from icy surfaces due to heavy payload or friction lock under the skis.

“The power in these new upgrades is apparent in the seat,” US Air Force pilot Patrick Newton said. “The difference is something we definitely have to adjust for, but it improves our capabilities and makes us more effective.”

More Efficient Maintenance

In addition to increased torque during takeoffs, the new engine supports a more efficient maintenance operation.

It also provides increased fuel efficiency, allowing operators to fly farther on less fuel and take off faster in the Arctic and Antarctic.

“The engine includes an upgraded compressor and improved turbines and those allow for a lot of improvements and cost savings in both the maintenance and operations worlds,” 109th Airlift Wing official Senior Master Sgt. Jared Nardi stated.

Master Sgt. Christopher Dumond inspects the LC-130 transport aircraft fitted with a new engine. Photo: Tech. Sgt. Jamie Spaulding/US Air Force

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