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July 9, 2013

Rolls-Royce completes AFRL’s HEETE compressor testing

Rolls-Royce has completed evaluation of its advanced compressor rig being developed for the US Air Force Research Laboratory's (USAFRL) Highly Energy Efficient Turbine Engine (HEETE) technology programme.

HEETE compressor

Rolls-Royce has completed evaluation of its advanced compressor rig being developed for the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s (USAFRL) Highly Energy Efficient Turbine Engine (HEETE) technology programme.

During trials at AFRL’s Compressor Research Facility (CRF) in Ohio, US, the compressor successfully demonstrated its ultra-high pressure ratio performance goal and its ability to manage component temperatures at ultra-high ratio design conditions.

LibertyWorks chief operating officer Mark Wilson said the ultra-high pressure ratio testing successfully validated Rolls-Royce’s compressor technology design, which can be applied to future transport, patrol, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) applications.

”The advanced technology will help meet the future needs of the US military by increasing range and persistence, while reducing fuel consumption,” Wilson said.

Rolls-Royce secured the $23.5m HEETE contract in September 2007, for development of a next-generation propulsion system that will help the USAF increase its range and reduce fuel consumption.

"The technologies have already demonstrated increased ranges of 30%, increased payload and fuel load for future transports of 50% and a 90% increase in loiter time for UAVs."

A key element of the USAF’s Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (VAATE) programme, the HEETE technology development programme seeks the production and demonstration of solutions that may lead to lowered fuel consumption for embedded engine applications.

Pursuing high-temperature, pressure ratio compressor technologies and associated thermal management features, the programme intends to specify the next-generation engine architecture for subsonic aircraft, such as future transports, tankers, ISR, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and subsonic strike vehicles.

The technologies have already demonstrated increased ranges of 30%, increased payload and fuel load for future transports of 50% and a 90% increase in loiter time for UAVs.

Rolls-Royce successfully completed the programme’s conceptual design review (CDR) and preliminary design review (PDR) in May 2008, while the development work is currently being carried out by the company’s LibertyWorks research unit in Indianapolis, Indiana, US.


Image: Advanced technology compressor being developed by Rolls-Royce for AFRL’s HEETE technology programme. Photo: Rolls-Royce, 2012©.

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