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Lycoming T53-L-13 (LTC1K-4) Turboshaft Engine


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Jet Aviation exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

In July 1952, Lycoming was awarded a contract by the Air Force Air Materiel Command to develop a free-turbine turboshaft engine designated LTC1 (military designation T53-L-1). The first production engine was delivered in 1959.

The T53's front-drive, concentric-shaft arrangement set a widely accepted U.S. design standard for turboshaft engines, and gave Lycoming its start in the aircraft gas turbine business. It was a key technology contributing to expansion of Army aviation's air-mobility during the Viet Nam War. Airframe applications were the Bell UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) and AH-1 HueyCobra helicopters and Grumman OV-1 Mohawk aircraft.

Development of the T53-L-13 (LTC1K-4) series began in 1959, and the engine first ran in 1960. Qualified in June 1966, the first production engine was delivered in August 1966. The L-13 series powered the Bell HU-1C/D/H Iroquois and the Bell AH-1G HueyCobra. This Lycoming LTC1K-4 (Air Force Model No. T53L1B) turboshaft engine powered a U.S. Air Force Kaman HH-43B helicopter.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Dr Anselm Franz

Credit Line

Transferred from the General Services Administration




Diameter 55.9 cm (22 in.), Length 121 cm (47.5 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

  • Type: Turboshaft, two-shaft free turbine engine
  • Power rating: 1,044 kW (1,400 shp) at 1,250 rpm
  • Compressor: 5-stage axial and 1-stage centrifugal
  • Combustor: Annular
  • Turbine: Single-stage axial gas generator, single-stage axial-flow free power
  • Weight: 249 kg (549 lb)


PROPULSION-Turbines (Jet)

Inventory Number


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