Rolls-Royce officially opened the world’s largest indoor aerospace testbed on Thursday 27 May.
The facility, which is called Testbed 80, is located in Derby and has an internal area of 7,500m2, making it larger than a Premiership football pitch.
The engine manufacturer says it invested £90 million in the development. Completing the project is a major milestone for the company after almost three years of construction and the testbed has already conducted its first run on a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine earlier this year.
Warren East, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce, commented on the opening of the facility: “Testbed 80 is the largest facility of its type in the world. However, it is not only big, it is also smart and features the most advanced testing technology we have ever used. As the new global hub of our testing capability, it will support the next stage of our UltraFan programme as we begin ground testing the first demonstrator in 2022.”
“This incredible piece of infrastructure is a very visible sign of our commitment to this site and secures the future of Derby as the home of large engine development, continuing a history that began in the late 1960s with the RB211.”
Rolls-Royce partnered with MDS Aero Test Corporation for the design and construction of the facility.
The testbed supports Rolls-Royce’s sustainability strategy by continuing to improve the efficiency of the gas turbine and by promoting the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). Testbed 80 is equipped with a 140,000-litre fuel tank for different fuel types, which include SAFs. Furthermore, it also has the capability to test future hybrid and all-electric flight systems.
This testbed here in Derby shows that the UK remains a global leader in aeroengine technology. I’m proud that we’re supporting Rolls-Royce’s development of the highly-efficient UltraFan engine, as well as investment in green and cutting-edge aerospace technology here in the UK that will create high-skilled, well-paid jobs for decades to come. As the civil aviation market recovers, the innovation of great British companies such as Rolls-Royce and the entire aerospace sector are central to our plans to build back better from the pandemic and end our contribution to climate change by 2050.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng