August 25, 2020 | St. Paul, MN – Calspan ASE announces successful initial commissioning of an upgraded test bed for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) located at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS PAX River) in Lexington Park, Maryland. The test bed was remanufactured after it was damaged in 2016 during testing. This project was completed through a series of focused task order sub agreements awarded through Eagle Systems, Inc. (California, Maryland.)
The upgraded PAX River test bed for NAWCAD will initially support both the AE1107C and T408 engines and is now capable of testing up to 10,000 HP (7450 kW) turbo shaft engine. The NAWC’s objective with this test bed is to provide a facility to evaluate continuous engine improvement in the areas of overall capability, reliability and dependably of the AE1107 and T408 turbo shaft engines. These engines are used by the US Air Force and Marines on the V-22 Osprey and CH-53K King Stallion. They are deployed for multi-mission medium and heavy lift applications and are subjected to demanding environments.
Calspan ASE has a proven history of providing reliable test beds capable of exercising high horsepower turbo shaft engines. Calspan ASE has three other successful T408 test bed installations, and has also recently commissioned a similar test stand for Rolls Royce Indianapolis.
Upgrading the PAX River test bed was not without its challenges. The drivetrain was reconfigured, and critical components were tuned to avoid critical speeds within the operating ranges of both engines. A new test bed was designed and manufactured to support the new drivetrain design. Many of the existing critical components were remanufactured and re-used, providing an economical solution.
Calspan ASE provided a proven T408 radial bellmouth on this project. Calspan ASE also developed a unique, calibrated radial bellmouth for the AE1107. Both bellmouths have features for sand ingestion and salt spray ingestion to further support product improvement testing.
The project was started in 2016. The AE1107 engine was first operated on the new test bed at full speed and 60% power in May, 2020. The system is currently being tuned in preparation for AE1107 testing at full speed and MIL power. Following AE1107 testing, the T408 will then be qualified for operation on the new test bed.
Tom Weiss, the Air 4.4 Propulsion Engineering Director, said, “Calspan ASE provided a highly experienced engineering team that specialized in Turboshaft Test Systems. Developing and building a test system that would avoid critical resonance regions for two very different engines is the unique skill Calspan ASE provided. Calspan ASE’s engineering team followed up and resolved each issue as it arose and the outcome is a more reliable system which will serve us well into the future.”
About Calspan ASE
Calspan Aero Systems Engineering (ASE), based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a leading global provider of mission-critical testing and engineering services to manufacturers of jet engines and industrial gas turbines, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (“MRO”) providers, governments and militaries. Calspan ASE serves the aerospace and energy markets in: 1) independent testing services at its aerodynamic laboratory; 2) design and build of aerodynamic ground test facilities and equipment; and 3) design and build of engine test facilities and equipment. Calspan ASE provides products and services under the brand names Calspan AeroSystems and Calspan FluiDyne.