world of aviation logo

Rolls-Royce reveals brand new engine development

written by Hannah Dowling | March 30, 2021

Design Concept for Rolls-Royce’s new UltraFan engine family (Rolls-Royce)

British engine-maker Rolls-Royce has announced it has begun building its latest fuel-efficient engine, UltraFan, which the company calls the “world’s largest aircraft engine”.

The development will see Rolls tap into the narrow-body aircraft market for the first time, with the company stating its latest family of UltraFan engines will power both narrow and wide-bodied jets, while being 25 per cent more fuel efficient than its first-generation Trent engines.

The engine-maker hopes to have its very first demonstrator model built and complete by the end of 2021, with the first engine test-run to be conducted on 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

The demonstrator engine, currently being constructed at Rolls-Royce’s DemoWorks facility in Derby, is said to have a fan diameter of 140 inches.

Despite some ongoing arguments to the contrary, Rolls-Royce stated that “gas turbines will continue to be the bedrock of long-haul aviation for many years”.

The company added that “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”.

Further, according to Rolls, the UltraFan forms as part of the company’s IntelligentEngine program, and each fan blade will have a “digital twin” that stores real-life test data.


That data will allow engineers to “predict in-service performance”, according to the company.

“When on test at Rolls-Royce’s new £90 million Testbed 80 facility, data can be taken from more than 10,000 parameters, detecting the tiniest of vibrations at a rate of up to 200,000 samples per second,” Rolls said in a statement.

“Data that helps us understand our engines and further improve them.”

The new UltraFan has received support and funding from institutions across Europe.

Speaking of the announcement, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said, “The UltraFan project is a perfect example of how we are working with industry to deliver green, sustainable flight for decades to come. Backed with significant government support, this project represents the scale of ambition for Britain’s crucial aerospace sector.

“Companies like Rolls-Royce are playing a critical role as we build back greener from the pandemic and we are committed to giving the whole aerospace sector the support it needs to innovate and reach new heights.”

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce president for civil aerospace, said, “This is an exciting moment for all of us at Rolls-Royce. Our first engine demonstrator, UF001, is now coming together and I’m really looking forward to seeing it built and ready for the test. It is arriving at a time when the world is seeking ever more sustainable ways to travel in a post-COVID-19 world, and it makes me and all our team very proud to know we are part of the solution.

“I am delighted that the UK and German governments have supported us in making these significant ground-breaking technology investments. The Aerospace Technology Institute and LuFo programs, as well as the EU’s Clean Sky, have all helped bring us a step closer to realising the enormous environmental and economic benefits of UltraFan.”

Rolls-Royce reveals brand new engine development Comment

  • Peter Gisborne


    Would be interesting to know which possible airframes RR have in mind for this new technology UltraFan?

Comments are closed.


Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year