Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the most efficient flying in the world today, have powered the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft to the skies for the first time this morning in Toulouse, France.
The Trent XWB is Rolls-Royce’s newest large engine and the fastest selling Trent engine ever, with more than 1,300 sold a year before the aircraft enters passenger service.
Rolls-Royce started the Trent XWB programme in 2006 and four years later ran the engine for the first time on a test bed. Since then, it has been tested all over the world including climate extremes from +42°C in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates to -23°C in Iqaluit, Canada.
The programme has involved around 2,000 scientists and engineers working together on hundreds of test rigs to bring 18,000 individual components together.
The first flight of the engine today is a very important stage in the programme and a proud moment for the company.
Tony Wood, President of Aerospace at Rolls-Royce, commented: "We congratulate Airbus on today’s huge achievement and look forward to supporting the A350 XWB to a successful entry into service and beyond. Our own employees are very proud that they have delivered a global engine programme that has achieved new levels of efficiency."
Today’s first flight is the culmination of many years of work by a Rolls-Royce team which has combined the best elements of the existing Trent engine family with technologies specifically designed for the new Trent XWB. It is part of the Trent family's continual development, delivering a series of small but vital improvements to each Trent engine design that enhance aerodynamics, enable the engine to operate at greater temperatures and pressures, and reduce the number of parts and overall weight.
A Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, which would normally power the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, is being used for The BLOODHOUND Project; an international education initiative focused on a 1,000 mph World Land Speed Record attempt.
The jet engine will be used in conjunction with a custom-designed hybrid rocket to propel the car to supersonic speed.
Rolls-Royce announced they will provide financial and technical support for the project, which aims to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
Fifty-six trained Rolls-Royce BLOODHOUND ambassadors will also take part in this project, helping school teachers across the UK deliver inspiring BLOODHOUND-themed lessons. The ambassadors will play a key role in helping young people to make positive career choices, by giving real life context to their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies.
Announcing the partnership, Colin Smith CBE, Rolls-Royce Director of Engineering and Technology, said: “Cutting edge engineering keeps Rolls-Royce, and the UK, at the forefront of global business. We understand the fundamental importance of inspiring young people about STEM and know that more needs to be done. Sponsoring BLOODHOUND gives us an opportunity to showcase world-class British engineering and invest in our future."
Richard Noble OBE, BLOODHOUND Project Director said: “Rolls-Royce's support of the Programme is invaluable, their highly motivated ambassadors will help us reach many more schools and youth groups across the country. Their experience of working within a first class aerospace company makes them perfect role models for aspiring engineers."
- Bloodhound SSC is a jet and rocket powered car designed to go at 1,000 mph (just over 1,600 kph).
- It weighs over 7 tonnes and the engines produce more than 135,000 horsepower - more than 6 times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together!
- At full speed BLOODHOUND SSC will cover a mile in 3.6 seconds, that's 4.5 football pitches laid end to end per second.
- BLOODHOUND has three power plants, a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet from a Eurofighter Typhoon, a custom designed hybrid rocket and a 750 bhp Cosworth F1 engine that drives the rocket oxidiser pump.
- The BLOODHOUND team scoured the globe to find the perfect desert to run the car on, it needed to be at least 12 miles long, two miles wide and perfectly flat. The Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, South Africa was selected.
- UK runway testing (up to 200 mph) will get underway early 2014 before the team decamp to the Hakskeen Pan, South Africa to begin high speed testing.
- Currently 5,442 UK primary and secondary schools have signed up to join the BLOODHOUND Education Programme, equating to roughly 2.5 million pupils.
On Thursday 11 April the UK Prime Minister, The Rt Hon David Cameron MP visited
Rolls-Royce's new Apprentice Academy in the Company's Learning and Career Development Centre at Derby, UK.
His visit was a recognition of the importance of apprenticeships and the aerospace industry to the UK economy.
The Prime Minister was met by Colin Smith, Rolls-Royce, Director of Engineering and Technology and Graham Schuhmacher, Rolls-Royce, Head of Development Services before being taken on a tour of the academy by Higher Apprentice Aiden Rogers.
During his visit, the Prime Minister discussed the importance of enthusing and engaging young people in science and engineering and the part that Rolls-Royce plays as one of the country's leading apprentice providers.
He also spoke to Rolls-Royce apprentices to canvas ideas on how more young women could be encouraged into engineering roles and expressed his views on how apprenticeships should be further promoted in schools.
Rolls-Royce Higher Apprentice Aiden Rogers, who hosted the Prime Minister during his visit said: "It was really great to meet the PM. He was relaxed and approachable and was really interested in Derby's strong engineering history."
The Apprentice Academy was officially opened by the Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer in November 2012. It trains apprentices to work across all areas of Rolls-Royce's business, its supply chain and for other UK manufacturing companies and is a key part of Rolls-Royce's 100 year old apprenticeship programme.
The fastest selling Trent engine ever produced has gained its type certification. More than 1,200 Trent XWBs have already been sold to 35 customers.
Since a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine ran for the first time on a test bed in 2010, 11 full engines have been taken to extremes of performance, endlessly measured and examined and, in some cases, deliberately tested to destruction. All part of the development journey Rolls-Royce has taken to deliver the most efficient large aero engine in the world as the powerplant available for the brand new Airbus A350 XWB airliner.
The results of that comprehensive and global test programme for the company's newest large engine were recognised on 7 February this year when Patrick Goudou, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Executive Director, personally presented Trent XWB Programme Director Chris Young and Chief Engineer Mark Wainwright with an engine Type Certificate – confirming the engine is cleared to fly and take its position on the A350 XWB.
The programme passed 3,100 hours of engine operations and has completed icing tests in Canada, altitude and crosswind tests in the USA, endurance tests in Spain, flight tests in France and test bed performance trials in the UK.
That achievement means Trent XWB programme leaders can look forward to the engine's next major step – powering the A350's first test flight, scheduled to take place later this year. Two engines for that test flight have already been delivered to Airbus and are in preparation to be installed on the aircraft.
The Trent XWB's certification is the culmination of many years of work by a Rolls-Royce team which has combined the best elements of the existing Trent engine family with technologies specifically designed for the new Trent XWB. It is part of the Trent family's continual development, delivering a series of small but vital improvements to each Trent engine design that enhance aerodynamics, enable the engine to operate at greater temperatures and pressures, and reduce the number of parts and overall weight.
Underpinning this performance, as with all Rolls-Royce engines, is technology that performs incredible tasks every day. For example, each of the Trent XWB's high-pressure turbine blades works in the high-pressure turbine, where the gas temperature is at least 200°C above the melting point of the blade's alloy. It sits in a disc that rotates at 12,500rpm, with the tips reaching 1,200mph – twice the speed of sound at sea level. Every time the plane takes off this single blade develops the same horsepower as a Formula 1 racing car, yet it can travel ten million miles before it needs replacing.
See video below for a look inside the Trent XWB.
The project to build two new aircraft carriers for the UK Royal Navy, reached an important milestone this week when Rolls-Royce completed the installation of the first gas turbine into the first-of-class, HMS Queen Elizabeth, at Babcock's Rosyth shipyard in Scotland.
Each of the two 65,000 tonne ships – the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy – will feature two MT30s, which at 36 megawatts (around 50,000 horsepower) are the most powerful marine gas turbines in the world. The gas turbines will provide two thirds of the 109 megawatts needed to power the ships, with the remainder provided by diesel generators.
The MT30s are installed as part of a Gas Turbine Alternator (GTA) which also includes an alternator and gas turbine enclosure, weighing a total of 120 tonnes.
The power generated – equivalent to the power demand for a town the size of Swindon - will meet the aircraft carriers' demand for energy, which includes the propulsion motors, weapons and navigation systems as well as the entire low voltage requirements for lighting and power sockets.
Tony Graham, Head of Capital Ships at the Ministry of Defence, commenting on the installation, said: "The successful achievement of this major milestone has brought the biggest grin to my face since Christmas Day. To have successfully lifted the most powerful engine in the Royal Navy onto the biggest ship ever built for the Royal Navy using the biggest capacity gantry crane in Europe is an important event in the construction of the Queen Elizabeth. Everyone involved should take huge pride in their contribution to this national endeavour."
The MT30 gas turbine, which itself weighs just six tonnes, is derived from the
Rolls-Royce Trent 800 aero engine which powers the Boeing 777 aircraft, with around 80 per cent of the parts being the same. The engine also has the highest power density on the market today - a key factor in naval propulsion where delivering a high power output in a compact space is essential. This has lead to the MT30's selection for a number of major international naval programmes including the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship.
In 2008 Rolls-Royce won the contract to supply an extensive range of equipment to both new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The scope of supply includes two MT30s per ship, stabilising fins, rudders, thrust bearings, low-voltage electrical systems and two seven metre diameter propellers and shafts. These twin Rolls-Royce Kamewa propellers, powered by electrical propulsion motors, weigh 33 tonnes – and together deliver 80 megawatts – enough to run 1,000 family cars or 50 high speed trains.