Rolls-Royce has delivered the final RB199 engine serviced at its Bristol facility under its ROCET 2 support contract with the UK MoD. Under the terms of the contract engines for the Royal Air Force fleet of Tornado combat aircraft have undergone repair and overhaul at the site before being returned to operational service at RAF Marham. The Tornado fleet is due to retire from service in 2019 and Rolls-Royce engineers will continue to provide on-base support until that time, while also increasing support capability for the new F-35B Lightning squadrons at the base.
The delivery milestone was marked at a ceremony in Bristol attended by senior MOD representatives, including Sir Simon Bollom, Chief Executive of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), and Air Commodore David Bradshaw, Commander of the RAF’s new F-35B Lightning Force.
Rolls-Royce has supported the fleet since December 2005 under the RB199 Operational Contract for Engine Transformation (ROCET), providing a guaranteed level of availability for engines, spares and ground support equipment. The agreement also included additional support elements, such as the development of engine health monitoring techniques designed to improve operational capability.
In 2011, in-depth servicing and maintenance of RB199 engines was moved from RAF Marham to the Rolls-Royce facility in Bristol – just months before a significant increase in support requirements as the result of the Tornado’s participation in Operation Ellamy in Libya. During that deployment flying hours increased by 50% but the teams in Bristol stepped up engine output to maintain 100% availability.