Rolls-Royce has received a three-year research and technology contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to study the key elements of a propulsion system to support its future deep persistent offensive capability concept, initiated last year.

The company is jointly funding the so-called "engine technologies for aircraft persistence and survivability" effort with the MoD, after identifying the work as key to the continued development of its military engine activities in the UK.

"It enables us to work on areas such as distortion-tolerant fans and high-temperature combustion and turbine systems, which will potentially bring big capability benefits for UK defence operations in the future," says Graham Hopkins, director of engineering and technology for R-R's defence aerospace unit.

Hopkins says work has already been performed to develop engine inlets and exhausts capable of operating in a complex airflow to boost the stealth characteristics of future unmanned combat air vehicles. "Our technology thread is moving, and widening," he says. Low specific fuel consumption and the ability to embed high-speed, high-temperature generators within an engine are other areas of current activity.

"Platform power demand is growing exponentially, with active electronically scanned arrays, synthetic aperture radar, directed energy weapons and sensors," he says. "Rolls-Royce provides power, one aspect of which is propulsion. We are now talking about integrated power systems, not just engines."

The company has already invested in the UK MoD's £124 million ($204 million), Taranis unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator programme. The BAE Systems-led system will fly next year, powered by a Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour 951 turbofan. "The reason we're prepared to do that is the belief we have in the technologies we will be demonstrating," Hopkins says.

R-R is promoting the dual themes of new defence technology and international partnerships at the show. Examples of the latter include its participation with General Electric in the F136 alternative engine for Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and as part of the Europrop International team producing the TP400-D6 for Airbus Military's A400M transport.

Source: Flight Daily News