Design Engineering

Rolls-Royce tests new ultra fast aerospace gearbox design


General Aerospace aeroengine gearbox Rolls-Royce

The Rolls-Royce Gearbox (PGB) has undergone a series of tests to see if it can reach up to 100,000 horsepower.

Rolls-Royce has spent the last several years focusing on the development of its aeroengine business. The company has recently announced that it has reached a milestone in its UltraFan engine design project.

Rolls Royce UltraFan engine

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

The manufacturer says they have run the world’s most powerful aerospace gearbox for the first time at its facility in Dahlewitz, Germany. The Rolls-Royce Gearbox (PGB) has undergone a series of tests to see if it can reach up to 100,000 horsepower – the equivalent of more than 100 Formula 1 cars.

The gearbox is a vital component of the UltraFan design, enabling the engine to offer efficient power over a wide range of take-off thrusts.

The first run allowed engineers to simulate the effects of the gearbox being on the wing of an aircraft that is climbing after take-off, coming in to land or banking while in flight. This initial run helped confirm rig dynamics and oil system functionality at low pressures and speeds.


As the testing phase continues, more and more advanced data will be collected. Engineers will explore low power high speed combinations at various pitch and roll angles and at different simulated altitudes.

High power testing will take place next year on the PGB Power Rig where the gearbox will reach full power.

rolls-royce gearbox

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce.

The UltraFan engine will not be available until 2025 but Rolls-Royce is promising a 25% fuel efficiency improvement over previous generations of the engine.

The new design will include a new engine core architecture to deliver maximum fuel burn efficiency and low emissions; A CTi Fan System with carbon/titanium fan blades and a composite casing to reduce weight; Advanced ceramic matrix composites with heat resistant components that operate more effectively by requiring less cooling air.

This geared design will deliver efficient power for high-thrust, high-bypass ratio engines of the future.

Rolls-Royce is partnering with Liebherr-Aerospace to develop manufacturing capabilities and capacity for the new gearbox. Rolls-Royce leads the design definition and integration for the project.


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