Rolls-Royce (R-R) is quietly developing a new business jet engine, with ground testing of the powerplant having begun last year, according to informed sources.
Cold weather trials of the new engine, details of which were unavailable, have been conducted at the Glacier facility in Thompson, Manitoba since September last year, a source indicates.
R-R last year introduced a new family of business jet powerplants having been selected by Bombardier to re-engine two models in its Global range.
The Global 5500 and 6500 – which will enter service this year – are both powered by Pearl 15 engines, which are rated at 15,125lb-thrust (68kN).
When it unveiled the new powerplant, which is based on its Advance 2 technology, R-R said the Pearl 15 would be part of a new family of engines for applications spanning the 10,000-20,000lb-thrust range. It is not clear if the engine under test fits within that family or is a separate programme.
Potential applications for a new powerplant could include a re-engining of Bombardier's Challenger 650, which is equipped with 9,220lb-thrust GE Aviation CF34-3B turbofans.
Gulfstream could also be a candidate as it evaluates a response to Bombardier's ultra-long-range Global 7500. The US airframer's current G650ER flagship is powered by twin 16,900lb-rated R-R BR725s. Additionally, Gulfstream could look to replace its now retired G450 twinjet.
R-R declines to say whether it has a new engine under test but notes that under its Advance 2 programme, "we are looking into developing new and advancing existing technology for potential future two-shaft engines". This work is "progressing", it says.
"We discuss technology solutions with aircraft manufacturers constantly and whenever any of them requires a solution we will come forward with a proposal – but the aircraft manufacturers will dictate the choice, timing and announcement of any potential future applications.
"We look forward to seeing future demand for the Rolls-Royce Pearl due to its levels of technology and innovation, its respected brand, and its outstanding service support," says R-R.