Rolls-Royce today announced the launch of a new turboprop engine, the RR500, the company's fifth new civil engine program in 24 months. The announcement exemplifies the company's strategy of creating new market opportunities by expanding its portfolio of engines, the most extensive in the aerospace industry.
The latest member of the small engine family, the RR500, unveiled at a launch event at EAA AirVenture, is a new, multi-fuel capable, 350 to 450 shp class turbine, developed to deliver excellent altitude performance for a range of light single and twin-engine fixed wing aircraft.
With its robust design and cutting-edge technology that draws from over 190 million hours of small engine flight experience, the RR500 is ideally positioned to capture significant market share in the light, fixed-wing general aviation segment. According to the Rolls-Royce ten-year market forecast, 2500 to 3000 of these light aircraft will be delivered annually between 2010 and 2020.
The RR500 core is based upon the RR300, which was launched in 2007 to power the Robinson Helicopter R66, scaled up to deliver increased airflow and power.
Ken Roberts, Rolls-Royce President of the Helicopters business, said: “The launch of this engine is a significant development for Rolls-Royce. Not only does the RR500 deliver cost-effective turbine power in a lightweight, affordable, compact design, but it also appeals to a broad segment of the market historically limited to reciprocating engines.
“We fully expect the RR500 to follow a similarly accelerated development schedule as the RR300, and are planning for FAA certification of the RR500 in less than three years.”
In addition to its multi-fuel capabilities, the RR500 features an electronic engine monitoring system, extended time between overhauls, smoothness of operation and excellent performance in take-off, climb, cruise and descent segments of flight.
A newly-commissioned small engine assembly line at the Rolls-Royce facility in Indianapolis, Indiana was certified early in 2008 and is assembling and testing RR300 engines. This state of the art production line can simultaneously be used for assembly and test of the RR500.
Rolls-Royce turboshaft and turboprop engines provide power in the 300 shp to more than 6,000 shp range, powering over 200 aircraft to date including the O&N Silver Eagle P210, AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300, Lockheed Martin C-130J, Saab 2000 and the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey. This creates a broad base of market opportunities for both rotary and fixed-winged aircraft.
The launch follows the company's announcement on July 28 that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rotorway International to discuss future RR300-powered helicopter applications.