Rolls-Royce has today revealed details of its designs for the next generation of aerospace engines– with a strategy and roadmap in place to achieve service readiness within 10 years. This strategy is intended to ensure that RR stays at the heart of the growing wide-body market, but that the technology developed can be utilised for future narrow body and rotorcraft engines.
The ‘Advance’ engine will offer a bypass ratio in excess of 11:1 and an overall pressure ratio of more than 60:1, with at least 20% better fuel burn and CO2 emissions levels than the first generation of Trent engines.
The second design, the ‘UltraFan’, will be a geared design with a variable pitch fan system and could offer a 25% improvement in fuel burn and emissions.
Today’s announcement is great news for UK Aerospace. Last year, RR spent over £1bn on R&D activities across its business – a figure which will no doubt be maintained as work on these two new engines designs develops. With the ATI set to also begin operations, the UK will be the very forefront of designing new technology in a market where engine efficiency is a key differentiator for customers.
Equally important however, is that RR will formally introduce composite fan blade, casing and geared turbofan technology for the first time in its engines. The UK is a world leader in composite technology manufacturing thanks to the investment and expertise seen in the design, engineering and manufacture of wings for the A350 and C-Series – as well as the research undertaken at the National Composites Centre in Filton. The focus from RR on composite technology over the next decade only strengthens the UK’s global position.
The next and crucial stage will be working with a wide range of airframers at each stage of the design and manufacturing process – ensuring that they are able integrate this step change in technology on both current and future aircraft programmes.