Rolls-Royce Formally Enters B-52 Re-Engining Competition

Rolls-Royce formally entered the competition to re-engine the B-52 as expected, offering its F130 engine already in use in some USAF aircraft to power the bomber.

The Air Force on May 19 issued its request for proposals for the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program, with responses due on July 22 and a contract award expected in June 2021. In addition to Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation and Raytheon Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney will compete for the award.

The service wants to buy 608 engines for 76 B-52s to keep the bomber flying through 2050. The bomber currently uses Pratt & Whitney TF33 engines, and the service is calling for fuel efficiency savings of about 30 percent and an increase in range of up to 40 percent.

Rolls-Royce, in a July 22 statement, said the F130 engine has “the perfect size and thrust, and features a modern, efficient, and proven design.” The engine, a variant of the BR725 commercial engine, is in use in E-11s and C-37s.

GE Aviation is offering the CF34-10 and Passport engines, touting that the company has already done re-engining for the KC-135, C-5, and U-2 programs along with providing engines for the B-1 and B-2 fleets. Pratt & Whitney is offering the PW800 engine, and the company has said it has expertise on the B-52, having provided the legacy powerplant.