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ITP Aero and CTA successfully complete first Rolls-Royce UltraFan’s intermediate pressure turbine aerodynamic test


UltraFan® features a new engine core architecture setting new benchmarks in efficiency and environmental performance

This test forms part of ITP Aero’s single largest R&D project, with a total €43 million investment implemented under the framework of the EU Clean Sky 2 Programme

During the International Paris Air Show, ITP Aero has announced the achievement of a key milestone towards the future Rolls-Royce UltraFan, an engine design that will define a new era in jet engines, delivering significant weight, noise and fuel burn reductions, and will be 25% more efficient than a first-generation Trent engine.

For the first time, an aerodynamic rig representative of UltraFan’s complete multi-stage intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) has undergone an aerodynamic test in Biscay, Spain, to verify the functional characteristics and design methodologies defined by ITP Aero. The successful test results obtained represent a key technology enabler for the IPT of UltraFan, designed to run at very high speeds which allow to optimize the new engine architecture.

This milestone is part of an UltraFan technology demonstrator programme that started in 2015 when ITP Aero was selected as a core partner; a programme supported by a €43 million investment, of which the EU Clean Sky 2 initiative funds €23.5 million and ITP Aero the remaining €19.5 million, the single largest investment in technology ever made by ITP Aero.

Carlos Alzola, CEO ITP Aero, said: “Our know-how and strong commitment to research and development are taking our world-leading technology to the next level. More than four years of research and development has gone into the UltraFan’s intermediate pressure turbine, the successful results obtained prove ITP Aero’s capabilities to be part of the next generation of Rolls-Royce engines”.

UltraFan Intermediate Pressure Turbine (IPT)

In contrast to the first generation Rolls-Royce Trent engine family, in which ITP Aero participates as a risk and revenue sharing partner, UltraFan’s Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) is substituted and both the geared fan and the intermediate pressure compressor are driven by the IPT. The main technology challenge for the UltraFan® IPT, is that this turbine has to deliver high power running at significant higher speeds and temperatures. To achieve this ITP Aero has drawn on its expertise in providing high-performing turbines for previous Trent engines.

UltraFan represents the next generation Rolls-Royce aero-engines suitable for widebody or narrowbody aircraft. Based on a new engine core architecture, it’s designed for maximum fuel burn efficiency and low emissions.  

Project BIRAN

The test has been carried out by the CTA (Aerospace Test Laboratory), in its high speed wind tunnel test bench located in Biscay (Spain) as part of Project BIRAN (Grant Agreement ID: 785418), funded by the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon

2020 research and innovation programme.

Project BIRAN targets the environmental and competitiveness objectives of the European aeronautics sector, by addressing the experimental validation rig testing to develop aerodynamic and acoustic technologies for the UltraFan IPT. Thanks to Project BIRAN, ITP Aero develops aerodynamic and acoustic validated technology for the complete UltraFan IPT, with the CTA performing the detail design, including drawings, hardware manufacturing, rig assembly and instrumentation, rig testing and supply of all test data.

The development of multi-stage IPT technologies, as an important contributor to the UltraFan engine concept, will significantly contribute to the global objectives of Clean Sky 2, which aim towards the achievement of ACARE Flight-Path 2050 ambitious goals of reducing CO2, NOx and Noise emissions.

Project BIRAN was chosen by Clean Sky 2 in the Call for Proposal JTI-CS2-2017-CFP06-ENG-03-15, in which ITP Aero is topic manager.

About CTA (Aerospace Test Laboratory)

CTA is an aerospace test laboratory specialising in testing for development and certification of aerospace materials, systems and structures. Located in the Basque Country, in the north of Spain, the CTA was established in 1996 to meet the aerospace technology and certification needs of aircraft component manufacturers. CTA bases its activities on the following pillars: Experience, Know-How, Capacities, Technology and Quality.

About Clean Sky 2

The IPT programme is part of the wider EU Clean Sky 2 initiative that runs until end 2023. It is a public/private Joint Technology Initiative that brings together Europe’s industrial aeronautics leaders, public research organisations and SMEs to develop and demonstrate breakthrough technologies for the civil aerospace market, reducing emissions and noise and securing the continued competitiveness of the European aviation industry. ITP Aero is a core partner of the Clean Sky 2 JU.

About ITP Aero

ITP Aero is a world leading company within its market, currently the ninth largest aircraft engine and components company in the world by revenue. Ranking among the top one hundred companies in the aerospace industry. The company employs over 3,800 people at its production centres in Spain, United Kingdom, Mexico, Malta and India.

Among its activities, ITP Aero includes the design, research and development, manufacturing and casting, assembly and testing of aeronautical modules and engines. It also provides MRO services for a wide range of engines for regional airlines, business aviation, helicopters, industrial and defence applications. ITP Aero operates as a corporate entity within the Rolls-Royce group.

Louis Trollope

Communication Specialist
M: (+34) 610 267 334

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