Development of Rolls-Royce’s future engine architecture has taken another step with the signing of a collaboration agreement between Airbus and the British OEM.
Helped by funding from the European Union’s CleanSky 2 program, Airbus and Rolls-Royce will prepare the latter’s ‘UltraFan’ for flight testing.
Like the Pratt & Whitney PW1000 series, UltraFan uses a geared design, which Rolls-Royce hopes will contribute to a 25% fuel burn improvement over its first generation of Trent engines, which entered service in the mid-1990s.
Other technologies on the UltraFan include a carbon-titanium fan blade system and a composite casing to reduce weight.
Under the new deal, Airbus will provide nacelle and engine/aircraft integration architecture and technology enablers.
“This technology development programme 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,” says Axel Flaig, Airbus head of research and technology.
Airbus says the project will allow it to fully integrate the overall powerplant system – composed of engine, pylon and nacelle – onto future long-range aircraft products, as well as facilitating scalability for future short-range aircraft.
The project is co-funded by the EU’s CleanSky 2 program, which aims to showcase technologies capable of contributing to a future aircraft that emits 30% less CO2, up to 80% less NOx and 75% less noise than the best commercial equipment of 2014.
As the program moves from research to the production of technology demonstrators, its budget has been ramped up from €1.6 billion (1.9 billion) for CleanSky 1 to €4 billion for CleanSky 2.
Another engine program to have received considerable funding in Safran’s geared open rotor, which aims to offer 30% better fuel burn than the CFM56-7, which is roughly twice the advantage of the latest-generation CFM LEAP.