Rolls-Royce completes testing of potential B-52 replacement engines

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Rolls-Royce has completed full-engine testing of the F130, the engine it is offering for the US Air Force’s B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program.

The tests were conducted at Rolls-Royce’s facilities in Indianapolis, USA to confirm the engine’s suitability for the B-52 aircraft. In addition to full-engine tests, Rolls-Royce said it has compiled more than 50,000 hours of “digital engineering time” to further develop and refine the F130 for the B-52.

Adam Riddle, executive vice president, business development and future programs at Rolls-Royce said, “The F130 engine for the B-52 is part of a proven and efficient family of engines with millions of operational hours.

“We are excited about our test results in Indianapolis as we continue to demonstrate that the F130 engine is the perfect fit for the B-52.”

The F130 engine for the B-52 produces 17,000 lbf and is a variant of the BR725 commercial engine. The F130 series of engines already powers aircraft in the US Air Force fleet, including the E-11A and C-37 aircraft, with more than 200,000 hours of combat flight operations.

Several companies are vying to win the contract to provide new engines for the B-52 fleet, which currently uses Pratt & Whitney TF33-PW-103 engines. As well as Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney hope to supply the US Air Force with the engines, which plans to have re-engined B-52s in the air by 2022.

The US Air Force has a fleet of 76 Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bombers, each powered by eight engines, which it has said it wants to keep in service until 2050.

Rolls-Royce has stated that If the F130 engine is selected for the B-52 engine replacement program, it will establish an assembly line in Indianapolis at its existing factory and add more than 150 new jobs in manufacturing, engineering, program management and other positions.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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