The current upgrade programme for RAF Sepecat Jaguars has received a shot in the arm, as the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour Mk106 engine has successfully completed altitude testing at Saclay in France.
This moves the latest standard of engine a step closer to reaching qualification and entering production.
Engineering project manager David Gower says: "The engine operated to the desired levels throughout the 130h of testing, verifying one of our design objectives which was to achieve significant improvements in component life, reducing operational costs for the RAF."
The testing, which validated the engine's increase in thrust of around 10%, also established the relight and reheat boundaries as well as completing a large number of transient manoeuvres throughout the flight envelope.
"In addition, the new digital engine control amplifier (DECA) performed reliably." A second Mk106 engine will shortly be sent to Saclay to complete a further 40h testing.
This unit - which has undergone initial testing at Rolls-Royce's Bristol site in the UK - is close to production standard and has shown significant performance improvements over the first engine.
Plans are in place to convert the test cell at RAF Coltishall, the main operational base for the RAF's Jaguars, to allow both Mk104 and Mk106 versions to be run together after the conversion period.
In addition to the Mk106, the Adour 900 - a new variant being offered for the British Aerospace Hawk among other possible applications - is currently under development. With an increased life of 4,000h between overhauls, the new version also features a FADEC and has significant thrust growth potential.
The FADEC, jointly developed with Hamilton Sundstrand, is currently undergoing testing at Rolls-Royce's altitude test facility at Derby, UK. Production hardware for this engine is currently being produced for testing later this year, with qualification scheduled for mid-2002.