Rolls-Royce teases with RB3039 engine concept

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Rolls-Royce has revealed more details of a new conceptual three-shaft engine which the manufacturer has designated the RB3039.

The engine would employ new designs – and lighter materials – which would advance it beyond the Trent derivatives which are central to the manufacturer’s current commercial powerplant business.

As a result the RB3039 would “probably” not have the Trent name, said the manufacturer’s research and technology director Ric Parker during a Royal Aeronautical Society event in London.

Rolls-Royce indicates that while the powerplant proposal will not necessarily become a firm programme, it is prepared to work towards creating a demonstrator for the technology.

The manufacturer is engaged in efforts to develop the higher-thrust variant of the Trent XWB for the Airbus A350-1000 as well as its Trent 1000-TEN which will power the three members of the Boeing 787 family.

Rolls-Royce had previously proposed a new engine for the Boeing 777-8X and -9X, the RB3025, which would have featured a reduced number of blades compared with the Trent XWB.

While the Trent XWB’s blades are titanium the RB3025 would have had a composite fan, as would the proposed RB3039. The manufacturer has previously disclosed plans to test composite fan technology, developed in co-operation with GKN Aerospace.

Rolls-Royce lost out to General Electric, which put forward its GE9X engine to power the new version of the 777.