Rolls-Royce is notorious for keeping its cards close to its chest, but the battle lines are well and truly being drawn in the race to power future narrowbodies.
As Alan Newby, Rolls-Royce’s chief engineer for advanced projects, explained at the recent Royal Aeronautical Society’s Facing The Future conference, a look at the newspaper cuttings from as far back as December 2005 reveals absurdly optimistic reports of an industry confident of a A320/Boeing 737 replacement by 2012
Yes, that’s wasn’t a typo – they really did think it would be 2012 back then.
How we laughed ….
Anyway, Newby confirms that Rolls-Royce believes its “holy grail” quest for a low-noise high-efficiency open rotor engine to power these next generation beasts could finally have ended following promising ongoing tests on a 71cm (28in) diameter rig at the UK’s Aircraft Research Association windtunnel in Bedford which is conducting the high-speed performance testing.
One of Newby’s slides revealed the chosen nomenclature of this game-changing engine architecture: the RB 3011. On investigating the provenance of this, FutureProof found that an earlier “working title” of the self same engine had been the RB 2011 – but that was changed because people even internally just kept confusing it with the engine’s entry into service. Doh!