Rolls-Royce is making significant strides in its mission to provide cutting-edge F130 engines for the United States Air Force B-52J Stratofortress, with the culmination of initial testing expected by the end of this year. The aerospace giant shared exciting updates on the ongoing Rapid Twin Pod Tests conducted at the NASA Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi, confirming that all preliminary targets have been successfully met.

This achievement has not only propelled Rolls-Royce ahead in its timeline but has also yielded an "unprecedented amount of data early in the program," facilitating the seamless integration of the powerful F130 engine into the B-52J aircraft. Looking ahead, the company has unveiled plans for the Critical Design Review, scheduled to kick off in the early months of 2024.

In terms of logistics and assembly, Rolls-Royce is optimistic about the timely delivery of test engines—both ground and flight—spanning from 2024 to 2026. Candice Bineyard, the Director of Programs – Defense, expressed her satisfaction with the progress, stating, "We are thrilled with the progress we have made with this milestone testing program. The engines are operating perfectly so far – matching all of our predictions on inlet performance. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with the Air Force and Boeing as we complete testing at NASA Stennis Space Center and prepare for Critical Design Review."

A notable milestone in this journey was reached in September 2021 when the Air Force selected Rolls-Royce F130 engines to replace the existing power units in the B-52 fleet. The substantial order involves the delivery of over 600 new engines, underscoring the magnitude of this technological advancement.

These F130 engines are not only expected to extend the operational lifespan of the B-52 aircraft by an additional 30 years but are also designed to exhibit resilience throughout the entirety of the aircraft's life. The manufacturing, assembly, and testing of these engines will take place at Rolls-Royce facilities in Indianapolis, marking the company's most extensive production hub in the U.S.

As Rolls-Royce propels toward these critical milestones, the anticipation surrounding the enhanced capabilities and longevity that the F130 engines promise for the iconic B-52J Stratofortress continues to grow. The collaboration between Rolls-Royce, the Air Force, and Boeing is poised to usher in a new era of aviation excellence, showcasing the prowess of innovation and technological advancement in the aerospace industry.

Reference: ukdefencejournal.org.uk "Rolls-Royce on track for B-52 engine tests by year end" By George Allison.


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