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MoU signed to manufacture Wingman Engine in Europe

Posted on 13 Jun 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 1042 times.
MoU signed to manufacture Wingman Engine in EuropeRolls-Royce Deutschland and ITP Aero have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore a partnership to design, develop, manufacture and support a ‘Wingman Engine’, a ‘state of the art’ solution to power large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These engines are envisioned for large, autonomous drones operating alongside manned aircraft, like the ‘Loyal Wingman’ concept from Airbus (read Machinery Market’s article here).

As part of the MoU signature ceremony, a mock-up of a Wingman Engine concept was unveiled with the power and propulsion solution being presented to a wide audience at last week’s ILA Berlin Airshow. The partnership will foster a German-Spanish approach, leveraging a long-lasting relationship between both companies that has spanned more than a decade.

The MoU was signed by chairman of Rolls-Royce Deutschland Dr Dirk Geisinger and managing director of ITP Aero Carlos Alzola, at ILA Berlin Airshow last week and was attended by representatives from both countries’ Ministry of Defence, government representatives, politicians and industry, celebrating the initiative of providing a European power and propulsion solution that underpins the unique engine design and manufacturing capabilities in Germany and Spain.

The Wingman Engine is a European solution capable of meeting development and product cost requirements for various large autonomous drone designs. The engine concept builds on the Advance2 core demonstrator – the most powerful and efficient core engine technology in its class – which currently powers commercial and military platforms.

The Advance2 core, the backbone of the Pearl business jet engine family, has already proven its world-class competitiveness and has been selected to power five aircraft types from various manufacturers. This defence application benefits from significant investments both companies already made in civil and dual-use technologies, making it a cost-efficient European solution.

innovative and cutting-edge technologies

René Bernstein, vice president of defence at Rolls-Royce Deutschland, said: “We are delighted to have unveiled our Wingman Engine concept, which we have invested in over the past several years to ensure customer and operational requirements for future large remote carriers can be met. Here at Rolls-Royce Deutschland, we continue to strive to develop innovative and cutting-edge technologies to generate confidence in national capabilities, and we are proud of our approach of using proven civilian technology for military programmes.

“We are continuing to leverage value from our Pearl engine family. The use of market-available technologies with a stable value chain reduces the overall risk and controls the development and product costs of platforms serving our security. In turn, this strengthens the international competitiveness of such a system in the long-term and building on available advanced technology will enable the industry to move fast to make such complex products market-ready in uncertain geopolitical times.”

Alfredo Alonso, head of export and new business defence at ITP Aero, said: “We are excited to continue our long-standing collaboration with Rolls Royce Deutschland for the design, development, manufacture and support of a Wingman Engine featuring high levels of design maturity and competitive operating and maintenance costs.

“This project represents a unique opportunity to develop a true European “state of the art’ propulsion solution for large remote carriers aimed to support the operations of existing and future systems in contested environments. I am convinced that our cutting-edge technologies and capabilities will significantly benefit this engine’s propulsive system, lowering operating and maintenance costs and reducing development time.”