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Rolls-Royce Continues With New UltraFan Engine Development

Rolls-Royce will continue developing its new energy efficient UltraFan engine for the time being as it believes that airlines will need it in the future. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on aviation and the demand for new airplanes has halted.  Airbus and Boeing are currently not developing new jets that might utilize the new geared gas turbine engine.

Alan Newby, Rolls-Royce’s director of aerospace technology and future programmes, said UltraFan, which will reduce fuel burn by 10% compared with Rolls’ most efficient current models, will still be needed.

“It’s the right solution pre-pandemic and it’s still the right solution now even as the world goes to look at more green solutions,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

In addition to reduced fuel burn, the engine is being designed to run, not just on normal jet fuel, but also sustainable fuel.  Another feature of the engine is that it is scaleable which means that it may also be used on single aisle jets which would a new market for the company.  Current Rolls Royce engines power widebody jets which fly long-haul routes.

Rolls Royce will continue tests of a demonstrator UltraFan engine which should finish in 2022.  At that point if a new aircraft, that can use the engine, has not arrived the program will be put on hold until one is developed.