Growth variant UAV engine reaches flight test milestone

Monday, 19 September 2011

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, has announced that the growth variant of the Rolls-Royce AE 3007H engine has successfully completed its US Air Force funded flight test.

The engine is designed to enhance performance of the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft and will offer customers significant improvements in engine durability and total life cycle cost savings.

The engine, which improves both the turbine and fuel nozzles, began development in 2008. Rolls-Royce made the announcement at the annual Air Force Association Air & Space Conference, near Washington, DC.

The growth engine was tested in a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft and both aircraft and engine performed in line with expectations.

Stephen Fairbairn, Rolls-Royce, Vice President – Customer Business, stated: “This is another major milestone for a system which has been flying for 13 years and amassed more than 60,000 flight hours. We continue to enhance our engine performance and capabilities for our customers with these types of improvements.”

The Block III enhancement provides significant increases to the life of the turbine and nearly doubles its time on wing. It will become the production configuration for US Navy MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) and the US Air Force Global Hawk program, as well as future variants.

The RQ-4 is powered by a Rolls-Royce AE 3007H turbofan engine.

  1. Rolls-Royce is a world-leading provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, and has established a strong position in global markets - civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy.
  2. As a result of this strategy, Rolls-Royce has a broad customer base comprising more than 500 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 2,500 marine customers, including 70 navies, and energy customers in nearly 120 countries, with an installed base of 54,000 gas turbines.
  3. In 2010, Rolls-Royce invested £923 million on research and development, two thirds of which had the objective of further improving the environmental performance of its products, in particular reducing emissions.
  4. Rolls-Royce turboshaft and turboprop engines provide power in the 300 shp to more than 7,300 shp range, powering over 200 aircraft models to date including the Bell 206/407/430 and AgustaWestland Super Lynx/AW159/T129. This creates a broad base of market opportunities for both rotary and fixed-winged aircraft.
  5. In North America, Rolls-Royce employs more than 8,000 people in 66 locations in 26 states and seven sites in six Canadian provinces. Rolls-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis is the company’s largest research, engineering and manufacturing facility outside the UK and today more Rolls-Royce engines are built in the US than anywhere else in the world.

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