Rolls-Royce's defence business has designed, built, and run an innovative small engine concept in under 18 months – a transformational project that will change how products and technologies are developed for the UK’s Future Combat Air Strategy (FCAS).
Known as Orpheus, the first demonstrator engine concept, on display at Farnborough International Air Show this week, has been developed using a completely agile approach – built nearly twice as fast as a conventional engine programme.
A second demonstrator within the family is already on test in Bristol, UK.
Pioneered by a team of highly skilled engineers, manufacturers, and programme managers, the Orpheus project has allowed for trial and collaboration across the business, combining proven methods of engineering with innovative digital technologies.
EVP business development and future programmes for Rolls-Royce Defence, Alex Zino, said: “The new Orpheus engine has broken boundaries throughout all stages of the development, design and build and is a clear example of how we can deliver at pace. Throughout this project we have empowered our people to work in agile ways to disrupt our current ways of thinking and develop a product that is truly novel that can help our customers de-risk their future programmes and explore different technologies to enhance their military capability.”
Throughout the programme, Rolls-Royce has tapped into more than 30 UK-based small and medium size businesses, working on techniques such as additive layer manufacturing to ensure Orpheus is adaptable and scalable for multi applicability and combines both electrical power generation and propulsive power.
Orpheus will move away from using off the shelf sub-systems for prototype vehicles, to being able to rapidly develop bespoke power solutions that can be quickly deployed.