Rolls-Royce has started power runs of the world’s most powerful aerospace gearbox for the first time, marking another significant step in the development of its new UltraFan® engine design.
UltraFan, which will be available from 2025, will offer a 25% fuel efficiency improvement over the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engine, with power scalable for widebody or narrowbody aircraft.
The gearbox is a vital component of the UltraFan design, offering efficient power over a wide range of thrust levels, the ability to drive larger fan sizes, while also reducing weight.
The tests are taking place at the Rolls-Royce Power Gearbox (PGB) facility in Dahlewitz, Germany, where the gearbox will ultimately run at up to 100,000 horsepower – the equivalent of more than 100 Formula 1 cars. The tests follow successful runs on an Attitude Rig last year.
Rolls-Royce engineering expertise in UltraFan delivers:
- Maximum fuel burn efficiency and low emissions through a new engine core architecture
- Reduced weight via a CTi Fan System of carbon/titanium fan blades and a composite casing
- Increased efficiency through advanced ceramic matrix composites that are heat resistant
and require less cooling air
- Efficient power for high-bypass ratio engines of the future through a geared design
Mike Whitehead, Rolls-Royce, Chief Engineer and Head of Programme UltraFan Technologies, Civil Aerospace, said: “We are continuing to deliver on the UltraFan programme and this latest achievement marks another milestone. Having successfully started tests on the Attitude Rig last year we are now starting Power Rig tests and its really exciting to see our future technology come to life.”
The Attitude Rig tests allow engineers to simulate the effects of the gearbox being on the wing of an aircraft in flight, through phases such as take-off, climb, descent and landing or banking.
Rolls-Royce is working in partnership with Liebherr-Aerospace, through our Aerospace Transmission Technologies joint venture, to develop manufacturing capability and capacity for the new power gearbox. Rolls-Royce leads the design definition and design integration of the power gearbox, as well as testing activities.