Rolls-Royce T406


The Rolls-Royce T406 (company designation AE 1107) is a turboshaft engine that powers the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor. The engine delivers 6,000 shp (4,470 kW).

T406 / AE 1107
V-22 main engine closeup.jpg
A T406 engine nacelle on a V-22
Type Turboshaft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Allison Engine Company
Rolls-Royce Holdings
First run late 1986[1]
Major applications Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
Number built 860 (2018)[2]
Developed from Allison T56/T701
Developed into Rolls-Royce AE 2100
Rolls-Royce AE 3007


In 1982, Detroit Diesel Allison (DDA) prepared a new engine design to enter the United States Army's Modern Technology Demonstrator Engine (MTDE) competition, which was expected to be developed into the powerplant for the United States Navy's JVX experimental tiltrotor aircraft program (which would eventually become the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey).[3] After this engine, which DDA called the Model 580,[4] lost the competition to Pratt & Whitney and General Electric in 1983, Allison was separated from Detroit Diesel as a separate division within General Motors, and Allison's new management decided to pursue the V-22 engine contract anyway.[3]

On 24 December 1985, the U.S. Navy selected Allison's engine for full-scale engine development and production on the U.S. Marine Corps's V-22 Osprey.[5] Before the engine was given its United States military aircraft engine designation of T406, it was known as the Model 501-M80C.[6] The Navy and Allison signed a formal contract on 2 May 1986, and the first engine to test ran six months after.[7]

The T406 is based on the Allison T56 turboprop from the P-3 and the C-130, with the free power turbine of the Allison T701 turboshaft from the defunct Heavy Lift Helicopter program. It was selected over the Pratt & Whitney PW3000 and General Electric GE27 competing for the US Army's Modern Technology Demonstrator Engine program.[8] The T406 began flight testing on 19 March 1989.[9]

The T406/AE 1107C Liberty shares a common core with the AE 3007 turbofan and AE 2100 turboprop series of engines, both of which have sold in the thousands of copies.[10][11] 44-46 percent of parts are common between the T406 and the AE 3007, while about 76 percent of parts are common between the T406 and the AE 2100.[12] In addition, Allison attempted to develop other types of engines based on the T406. In 1988, the company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) of West Germany and the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) to work on a version of the MPC 75 regional aircraft to be powered by a T406-derived propfan.[13] In 1990, Allison studied a 9,000 shp (6,700 kW) propfan powerplant driving 8.5 ft diameter (2.6 m) contra-rotating propellers to power Euroflag's proposed military airlift aircraft.[14] Also, the MT7 gas turbines that will be used to power the Ship-to-Shore Connector are a derived design of the T406.[15]

In 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the engines failed after less than 400 hours of service, as compared to the estimated life of 500–600 hours.[16] Multiple updates to the engine platform in 2012-2013 have increased the lifespan significantly.

In April 2012, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) ordered 70 AE 1107C engines for the Osprey, with options for up to 268 engines.[17]

Rolls Royce introduced a Block 3 turbine upgrade, which replaced the old turbine design with sturdier and more efficient components. The upgrade increased engine power by at least 17 percent, and the engine achieved a power output of over 8,800 shp (6,600 kW) during ground testing.[18] The Block 3 turbine became standard in July 2012 for new production models. By September 2012, all older engines that were undergoing regular maintenance were systematically upgraded to the Block 3 turbine.

Engines with a future planned block 4 upgrade would be expected to deliver nearly 10,000 horsepower (7,500 kilowatts).[19]

An ongoing problem with the engines was their propensity for surging or stalling with 68 incidents reported between 2003 and October 2016 though this rate had reduced after the introduction of the Block 3 engine version. The US Naval Air Systems Command intends to award Rolls Royce two contracts to examine the effectiveness of proposed reliability improvements, the first is a software tweak to the engine management software for the compressor guide vanes that internal testing showed could improve surge margin by 0.8% at sea level and 3% at altitude. The second is the discovery that a temperature sensor at the inlet of the compressor sends incorrect readings leading to 2.5% out of 4% steady power shortfall at the compressors correct rotational speed again correctable with a software fix. In addition, Bell Boeing is developing an inlet barrier system to reduce the power loss from the engine ingesting dust and sand particles to supplement the engines existing centrifugal based particle separators as they can only do so much to improve the quality of air they receive.[20]

In October 2021, Bell and Rolls Royce jointly announced that the Bell V-280 Valor powerplant would switch from the General Electric T64 turboshaft used on the prototype to a derivative of the 1107C used on the Osprey which would be named the 1107F. At the same time as increasing power from 5,000 to 7,000 horsepower, the 1107C is a known element in tiltrotor aircraft with its two decades of prior use which lowers sustainment costs and de-risks the project.[21]


The V-22's T406 powerplants are housed in wing-tip tilting nacelles, allowing the distinctive flight characteristics of the V-22. For take off and landing the nacelles are directed vertically (90° to fuselage), while for forward flight they are rotated parallel to fuselage. The engine has been considered as a cost-effective upgrade for existing heavylift helicopters such as the CH-47 Chinook and the CH-53.[22]


Specifications (T406)Edit

General characteristics


  • Compressor: 14-stage high pressure axial compressor, variable geometry vanes in the inlet and the first 5 stages[9]
  • Combustors: Diffuser annular combustor with 16 air-blast fuel nozzles and 2 igniters[9]
  • Turbine: 2-stage high pressure turbine with air-cooling in the first and second-stage vanes and the first-stage blade; 2-stage shrouded power turbine with uncooled vanes and blades[9]


  • Maximum power output: 6,150 shp (4,586 kW)
  • Overall pressure ratio: 16.7:1
  • Turbine inlet temperature: 1,209 °C (2,208 °F; 1,482 K; 2,668 °R)[7]
  • Fuel consumption: 0.426 lb/shp hr SFC,[24] efficiency 32%[citation needed]
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 6.33 shp/lb (10.4 kW/kg)

See alsoEdit

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists


  1. ^ "Taking the turboshaft honours". Flight International. 11 April 1987.
  2. ^ Howard, Sam (1 June 2018). "Rolls-Royce to deliver V-22 Osprey engines for U.S. military". Defense News. United Press International (UPI).
  3. ^ a b Leyes II & Fleming 1999, pp. 579-580
  4. ^ McCardle, John, ed. (14 January 1983). "Future contracts - Job impact status clarified". Inside Indy Operations Newsletter. Vol. 3, no. 1 (Speedway ed.). Detroit Diesel Allison.
  5. ^ Gross, Richard C. (24 December 1985). "A General Motors Corp. division has been selected to..." UPI.
  6. ^ "Allison cites low-cost, low-risk design approach as key to V-22 engine award" (PDF). Aviation Week & Space Technology. Vol. 124. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. 17 March 1986. pp. 52, 57. ISSN 0005-2175.
  7. ^ a b Arvin, John R.; Bowman, Mark E. (11–14 June 1990). T406 engine development program (PDF). Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exposition. Brussels, Belgium: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). doi:10.1115/90-GT-245.
  8. ^ "Power derived". Flight International. 29 July 1989.
  9. ^ a b c d Chambers, Howard A. (9–11 April 1991). "Turboshaft engine development for commercial tiltrotor aircraft". SAE Transactions Journal of Aerospace. 1991 SAE General, Corporate, & Regional Aviation Meeting & Exposition. SAE Technical Paper Series. Vol. 100. Wichita, Kansas, U.S.A. (published 1991). pp. 140–151. doi:10.4271/911017. ISSN 0148-7191. JSTOR 44547587. OCLC 7851143859.
  10. ^ "Powering the aircraft of today and tomorrow". Rolls-Royce plc. 2 March 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Rolls-Royce reaches services contract with USAF for C-130J Fleet" (Press release). 20 September 2017 – via ASDNews.
  12. ^ United States General Accounting Office (GAO) (14 September 1998). Defense depot maintenance: Weaknesses in the T406 engine logistics support decision methodology (PDF) (Report). OCLC 40045078.
  13. ^ "Allison joins MBB/China propfan project" (PDF). Flight International. 21 May 1988. p. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2016.
  14. ^ Riffel, R.E.; McKain, T.F. (11–14 June 1990). Derivative T406 based turbofans for advanced trainers (PDF). Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exposition. Brussels, Belgium. doi:10.1115/90-GT-243. OCLC 8518921090.
  15. ^ "New contract win for Rolls-Royce". Machinery Market. 1 November 2012. ISSN 0024-9211. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  16. ^ Sanborn, James K. (13 August 2013). "Pentagon watchdog to release classified audit on V-22 Osprey". Marine Corp Times. Archived from the original on 17 August 2013.
  17. ^ "Rolls-Royce Awarded $598 M V-22 Engine Contract" AeroNews, 24 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  18. ^ Parsons, Dan (18 September 2014). "Rolls-Royce touts 'high, hot' performance of upgraded engine for V-22". Flight International. ISSN 0015-3710.
  19. ^ Mehta, Aaron (16 September 2013). "Rolls-Royce boosts power for V-22 engines". Defense News. Archived from the original on 20 September 2013.
  20. ^ Trimble, Stephen (18 January 2017). "Rolls-Royce studies two new stall fixes for V-22 engines". Flightglobal.
  21. ^ Bell Picks Rolls-Royce Engine for V-280 Valor in Army Black Hawk Replacement Contest
  22. ^ "Taking tilt-rotor operations to new heights". Rolls-Royce plc. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  23. ^ Nathan, Stuart (7 April 2017). "DARPA flies scaled-down electric model of VTOL aircraft". The Engineer.
  24. ^ "Military Turboshaft/Turboprop Specifications". Jet Engine Specification Database. Archived from the original on 9 May 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • Leyes II, Richard A.; Fleming, William A. (1999). The history of North American small gas turbine aircraft engines. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 1-56347-332-1. OCLC 247550535.
  • Newill, David B. (13–18 September 1998). Common core development approach for Allison T406/AE family of turboshaft, turboprop, and turbofan engines (PDF). ICAS Congress (21st ed.). Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. ISBN 978-1-56347-287-9. OCLC 43888882.
  • Korn, Jim (13 November 1987). Gas turbine engine development partnerships. International Pacific Air and Space Technology Conference and Exposition. SAE Technical Papers. Melbourne, Australia: SAE International. pp. 119–132. doi:10.4271/872410. ISSN 0148-7191. OCLC 5817974566.

External linksEdit

  • AE 1107C-Liberty at Rolls-Royce site
  • AE 1107C-Liberty Fact Sheet
  • Type certificate data sheet no. E00008CH (PDF) (Report). Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 2 April 1999.
  • Allison (February 1988). "Allison introduces new technologies for the V-22 Osprey". Marine Corps Gazette. Vol. 72, no. 2. p. 9. ISSN 0025-3170.