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Rolls-Royce Starts Making UF001, and That’s a New Engine, Not a Saucer

Starting from the premise that “gas turbines will continue to be the bedrock of long-haul aviation for many years,” industry aviation giant Rolls-Royce announced last week it started building the “world’s largest aero-engine.”
UltraFan demonstrator rendering 1 photo
UltraFan is how the company calls the new piece of hardware, whose assembly began not long ago at the DemoWorks facility it operates in Derby, UK. Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc plans to have this so-called demonstrator, for some reason named UF001, ready by the end of the year, as it targets service debut for the family it will eventually spawn by the middle of the decade.

Boasting a fan diameter of 140 inches (3.5 meters), the unit is meant to be the powerplant of choice in both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft. It’s lighter than anything before it, thanks in part to the wealth of carbon titanium used to make the blades, and can provide a weight reduction of about 1,500 lbs (680 kg) per airplane.

But what’s more important is that UltraFan was designed to be up to 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the first generation Trent engine, introduced in the 1990s. What’s more, it has been designed to run completely on sustainable aviation fuel, which is produced from sustainable feedstocks.

“This is an exciting moment for all of us at Rolls-Royce. Our first engine demonstrator, UF001, is now coming together and I’m really looking forward to seeing it built and ready for test,” said in a statement Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce president.

“I am delighted that the UK and German governments have supported us in making these significant ground-breaking technology investments. The Aerospace Technology Institute and LuFo programmes, as well as the EU’s Clean Sky, have all helped bring us a step closer to realising the enormous environmental and economic benefits of UltraFan.”

The company did not say exactly when the first test of the new engine will take place.

press release

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