Rolls-Royce and Airbus have reached an agreement to collaborate on the flight-testing program for Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan® demonstrator engine. The program will be co-funded by a European Union research project called Clean Sky 2, which seeks to develop industrial technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
“This is another step forward in our UltraFan engine journey and it is great to have Airbus expertise to further strengthen our ability to deliver this important development program,” Andy Geer, Rolls-Royce, chief engineer and head of the UltraFan program.
UltraFan will be a scalable engine design capable of powering wide-body or narrow-body jets. It is not due to appear in a commercial application until 2025. The program will be carried out on a Rolls-Royce flying testbed, and will include ground and flight tests.
UltraFan will be a geared-turbofan engine that incorporates lightweight materials and technologies to promote better fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions than current, high-bypass turbofan engines. The geared-turbofan design places the engine fan separate from the low-pressure compressor and turbine, so that each module operates at optimal speeds. The result is lower engine weight and greater fuel efficiency.
Airbus integration methods will help to achieve the overall fuel-efficiency improvement of higher-bypass ratio engines, such as UltraFan, through architecture and associated technologies.
The agreement between Rolls and Airbus specifically concerns integrating the nacelle and engine/aircraft architecture.
“This technology development program with Rolls-Royce is a key project for Airbus to pave the way towards the next generation integrated propulsion systems that will be needed by airline customers towards the end of the next decade,” commented Axel Flaig, who heads the Airbus Research and Technology program.