Rolls-Royce Deutschland and ITP Aero are to join forces on the development, manufacture and support of a ‘loyal wingman’ engine, drawing on the former’s Advance2 core demonstrator.

“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,” said Alfredo Alonso, head of export and new business defence at ITP Aero.

This powerplant “has already proven its world-class competitiveness and has been selected to power five aircraft types from various manufacturers,” notes Rolls-Royce, citing the engine as a “cost-efficient European solution”. The new collaboration will now see the backbone of the Pearl business jet engine family deployed in a military context, powering large uncrewed ‘wingmen’ platforms adjacent to piloted fighters.

Essentially, these “large remote carriers” refer to remotely-piloted aircraft which can be deployed alongside existing fighter jets (such as the Eurofighter Typhoon) or upcoming initiatives such as the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Operating with a high degree of autonomy yet ultimately under a pilot’s control, they will support a variety of combat missions.

“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,” explained René Bernstein, vice president defence Germany at Rolls-Royce Deutschland. He added that building on advanced technology will “enable the industry to move fast to make such complex products market-ready in uncertain geopolitical times”.
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