Rolls-Royce completes Ultrafan engine gearbox


Rolls-Royce has reached another milestone in its Ultrafan demonstrator program with the engine’s power gearbox dispatched from the company’s site in Dahlewitz, Germany.

The power gearbox, which has set a world aerospace power record on test, has been shipped to the UK where the first Ultrafan engine demonstrator is being assembled.

Rolls-Royce is targeting a 25% fuel saving with UltraFan compared with the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines. The power gearbox (PGB), which has a planetary design, is key to achieving this target. During testing in Dahlewitz it has delivered 87,000 horsepower or 64 megawatts – enough to power a medium-sized city.

When built, the Ultrafan engine demonstrator will be the largest engine in the world with a fan diameter of 140in. Rolls-Royce plans to test the engine in Derby, UK, this year and its first run will be on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Chris Cholerton, president of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace said, “This is a tremendous moment for everyone on the Ultrafan programme as we take another step forward with the dispatch of the power gearbox. I’m proud that we are creating better, more efficient gas turbines which will be an essential part of air travel for decades to come.”

UltraFan is scalable for narrowbody or widebody aircraft, is a key element of Rolls-Royce’s commitment to making aviation more sustainable. Gas turbines will continue to be the bedrock of long-haul aviation for many years, and Ultrafan’s efficiency will help improve the economics of an industry transition to more sustainable aviation fuels, which are likely to be more expensive than traditional jet fuel in the short-term.

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