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Rolls Royce Begins Testing on B-52 Engine Replacement

Twin-Engine Pods Require Refreshed Development for B-52 Installation

Rolls-Royce is hard at work on its B-52 replacement engine program, announcing the first round of F130 testing at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

The F130 engine was chosen for the re-engining program by the US Air Force, and will end up with more than 600 units delivered under the current contract. The test burn was the first time the design had been lit while installed in a dual-pod configuration mimicking the B-52's antiquated layout. Each aircraft will sport 8 engines split between 4 pods, bringing out vintage design considerations rarely present in such a late-model engine.

Currently, the F130 program is focused on crosswind aerodynamic flow , as well as ironing out any unknown kinks in the digital control system. Rolls-Royce notes that "early results from the testing have been very positive" in the program, noting that the final iteration of the F130 will be the only engines installed on the B-52 platform through the rest of its life cycle.

“We are excited to begin this milestone testing program, the first step for what will be decades of successful engine operation for the United States Air Force B-52 fleet," said Candice Bineyard, director of defense programs. "Rolls-Royce continues to work very closely with the Air Force and Boeing to ensure the engine testing and integration process run smoothly. This will result in higher fuel efficiency, reduced air refueling requirements, and significantly lower maintenance costs for the B-52 fleet. We look forward to sharing test results with the Air Force and Boeing as the test plan progresses at the NASA Stennis Space Center.”



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