US Navy grants RR $1M research deal for debris detection tech

Last week, Rolls-Royce was awarded $1 million in research funding from the US Government for digital foreign object debris (FOD) detection technology.

As informed, the year-long research contract from the US Navy will help to further develop and validate Rolls-Royce’s FanSense debris monitoring system, which is currently supporting the Pegasus engine.

FanSense works by analyzing the shaft speed signal of an engine and is able to detect any disruptions that arise as a result of a small object, such as stones or screws, striking an engine fan blade.

According to the company, the innovative technology applied as part of this service offering will allow customers across civil and defence industries to detect much smaller debris entering the engine, enabling them to build a clearer picture of FOD damage and engine wear over time and will help to identify airfields that need to improve their FOD prevention practices.

“The research funding granted by the US Navy will allow us to further enhance and build upon our pioneering technologies that will enhance safety, efficiency and deliver a cultural change for our customers,” Paul Craig, President of Defence Services, said.

FOD is estimated to cost the global aviation industry billions of dollars per year in damage and disruption. The vast majority of ingested debris currently goes undetected – only when very large items are ingested do operators have any indication that something has made its way into the engine. Rolls-Royce will continue to work with a long-standing industrial partner, Roke, to deliver the contract.

“Inlet debris monitoring technology is a critical element of the FOD mitigation portfolio, supporting the U.S. Navy’s initiative to save hundreds of millions in FOD repair costs,” Jonathan Sides, FOD Chief Engineer at NAVAIR, commented.