Rolls-Royce reaches future technology milestone as Government confirms further funding

Defence Industry

Rolls-Royce has reached a new milestone in the development of its next generation of civil aerospace engines with its Advance3 demonstrator now running at full power. The news comes as the UK Government today confirmed further funding for the development of technologies that could be incorporated into future engine designs.

The Advance3 demonstrator is testing a new engine core that will deliver optimum fuel efficiency and low emissions. It is a key element in Rolls-Royce’s future technology strategy to develop the Advance core for the UltraFan® engine design.

The full power milestone was achieved earlier this month in Derby, UK, as part of a demonstrator test programme that is gathering engine performance data across more than 2,800 parameters.

Meanwhile, the UK Government today confirmed funding for a range of projects that support Rolls-Royce’s future technology vision. Included in the announcement was support for the E-Fan X programme, a ground-breaking partnership between Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens that will seek to demonstrate the technologies required for hybrid-electric flight. With an AVRO RJ100 demonstrator aircraft expected to take to the skies as early as 2020, Rolls-Royce continues to make good progress in support of the project, with ground testing of the world’s most powerful flying generator expected to start before the end of this year.

The Government also announced funding for a range of projects which will support the UltraFan engine development programme, including:

  • CEMTEC – The development of Silicon Carbide-based Ceramic Matrix Composite technologies for future engine architectures, helping to reduce fuel consumption through reduced component weight while also improving cyclic life and reducing manufacturing lead times.
  • CHASM – The design, integration and manufacture of new technologies to support the development of a power gearbox.
  • IPCRESS – The development of an intermediate pressure compressor that is integrated with the UltraFan power gearbox.
  • SUSSUDIO – A Rolls-Royce led project to develop the detailed design of an ultra-high bypass ratio gas turbine engine demonstrator.

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “We are continuing to deliver on our plans to bring our future technology strategy to life and running the Advance3 demonstrator at full power for the first time is a critical milestone towards introducing an UltraFan engine. We warmly welcome today’s announcement of government funding which supports both our near term and longer-term ambitions to pioneer the power that matters.”

The Advance3 core features a new ‘work split’ with a two-stage high pressure turbine and a single-stage intermediate pressure turbine. Engineers have attached the core to a Trent XWB fan system and a Trent 1000 low pressure turbine to create the completed demonstrator engine. The compressor system helps to deliver an overall pressure ratio of up to 70:1 for UltraFan.

Other key technologies for UltraFan are also making significant progress. The engine features a high-power gearbox, designed to deliver efficiency at high bypass ratios. Testing continues at our facility at Dahlewitz, Germany, and it has already successfully run at 70,000hp, a new record in the aerospace industry.

UltraFan will offer a 25% engine fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of Trent engine and will be available for service from the middle of the next decade.

Advance3 receives funding and support from Clean Sky 2, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.