Rolls-Royce announced that it has run the world’s most powerful aerospace gearbox for the first time, marking a significant step in the development of its new UltraFan engine design.

The first run of the Rolls-Royce Power Gearbox (PGB), at the company’s facility in Dahlewitz, Germany, marks the start of a series of tests which will see the gearbox reach up to 100,000 horsepower – the equivalent of more than 100 Formula 1 cars.

Mike Whitehead, Rolls-Royce, Chief Engineer and Head of Program UltraFan Technologies, Civil Aerospace, said: “This is another significant step in bringing our future technology to life. We launched the UltraFan design in 2014 and now we are putting our new infrastructure to work to turn it into reality.”

The power gearbox is a vital component of the UltraFan design as it enables the engine design to offer efficient power over a wide range of take-off thrusts.

The first run took place on Rolls-Royce’s Attitude Rig, which allows engineers to simulate the effects of the gearbox being on the wing of an aircraft that is climbing after take-off, coming into land or banking while in flight. The initial run confirmed rig dynamics and oil system functionality at low pressures and speeds.

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More advanced testing will take place during the rest of the year to provide additional data on low power high speed combinations at various pitches and roll angles and at different simulated altitudes.

The company said that UltraFan will be available from 2025 and it claimed that the engine will offer a 25% fuel efficiency improvement over the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engine.