Rolls-Royce Completes UltraFan Build


Rolls-Royce announced on Monday that it has finished assembling its UltraFan technology demonstrator engine. According to the company, the engine has been moved its Testbed 80 facility in Derby, U.K., in preparation for testing, which is slated to begin early next year. The UltraFan demonstrator has a fan diameter of 140 inches and is expected to yield a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to Rolls-Royce’s first-generation Trent engine.

“Seeing the UltraFan demonstrator come together and getting ready for test in Testbed 80 is a great way to end the year,” said Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace President Chris Cholerton. “We have all been waiting for this moment, which is such an important milestone for the programme and for the team who have worked on it.”

Designed for both narrowbody and widebody aircraft, the UltraFan is capable of delivering between 25,000 and 110,000 pounds of thrust. It includes features such as Rolls-Royce’s Advance 3 core architecture and advanced low emissions combustion system (ALECSys), carbon titanium fan blades and a composite casing, advanced ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components and a geared design. Rolls-Royce noted that it is looking at options to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development program to its current Trent engines.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. perhaps RR will collaborate with MT and devise a turbo prop? Now if they could only duplicate the sound of a Pratt and Whitney double rowed turbo compound…

  2. It might be more informative to say how much improvement in efficiency it achieves relative to RR’s current Trent engine. The first-generation Trent (the Trent 700) came out nearly 30 years ago.
    However, the two most recent Trents are the Trent XWB and the Trent 700. According to Wikipedia, the Trent 7000 has a 10% lower SFC than the Trent 700; and the Trent XWB has an 11% lower SFC than the Trent 700.
    So, a 25% improvement over the Trent 700 would be around a 14% improvement over the current engines, and no small achievement.

  3. Wings over the fuselage, like birds, needed…
    But to really get the public to believe, they should start giving litres per second fuel consumption numbers, instead of 25% better than an engine designed a very long time ago.

  4. As a former gas turbine analyst, the most interesting thing about the Superfan to me was its pitch change mechanism for the fan blades. Far as I know this has never been done before, but there’s no mention of it on Rolls’ site so it seems they may have dropped it. Also interesting is how they adopted the gearbox idea from Pratt as the argument used to be that the 3-spool design made the gearbox unnecessary.

    • The balance of gearboxes versus triple-shaft designs is tricky in itself, add to that patents and manufacturing complications. An amazing feat all the same!

  5. With variable pitch on its high bypass fan,the engine is getting closer to a turboprop every day