Rolls-Royce power gearbox sets new world aerospace record
Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce power gearbox sets new world aerospace record

Rolls-Royce announced that its UltraFan® power gearbox has set a new world aerospace record at its facility in Germany. The power gearbox is playing a central role for the UltraFan engine, helping to deliver excellent efficiency levels over a wide range of thrusts. The UltraFan engine is 25% more fuel efficient than the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

The gearbox has reached 87,000 horsepower or 64 megawatts – enough to power a city the size of Bath, United Kingdom – on test at Dahlewitz, near Berlin. The power milestone was achieved as build continues on the power gearbox that will be delivered for the actual UltraFan demonstrator engine, UF001, later this year.

UltraFan, which is scalable for narrowbody or widebody aircraft, is a key element of Rolls-Royce’s commitment to making travel 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 fuels, which are likely to be more expensive in the short-term than traditional jet fuel, Rolls-Royce said. The first test run of the engine will be conducted on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“Reaching this record is another great achievement that showcases the performance and durability of this key component for our UltraFan programme. The power gearbox technology is central to the success of the next generation of Rolls-Royce jet engines and I’m proud to see us pushing the engineering boundaries again,” said Dr. Holger Klinger, Sub-System Executive Power Gearbox, Rolls-Royce.

Development testing of the first prototype gearbox, which is focused on validation, endurance and reliability, began in 2017 at the dedicated PGB test facility in Dahlewitz. During a rigorous test regime, the power gearbox has since accumulated more than 650 testing hours and has proven its capability of managing the equivalent power of an entire grid of Formula 1 cars, according to Rolls-Royce.

As well as high power testing, the power gearbox has been undergoing testing on the facility’s Attitude Rig, which simulates the effect of the gearbox being on the wing of an aircraft in flight, through phases such as take-off, climb, banking and descent.