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Rolls-Royce RB.163 Spey
Rolls-Royce RB.168 Spey
Rolls-Royce RB.183 Spey
Rolls-Royce F113-RR-100
XAEC WS-9 Qin Ling

RB.168 Mk 202 Spey


In 1954 Rolls-Royce introduced the first commercial bypass engine, the Rolls-Royce Conway, with a 21,000 lbf (94 kN) thrust aimed at what was then the "large end" of the market. This was far too large for smaller aircraft such as the Sud Caravelle, BAC One-Eleven or Hawker Siddeley Trident which were then under design. Rolls then started work on a smaller engine otherwise identical in design, the RB.163, using the same two-spool turbine system and a fairly small fan delivering bypass ratios of about 0.64:1. In keeping with Rolls-Royce naming practices, the engine is named after the River Spey.

The first versions entered service in 1964, powering both the 1-11 and Trident. Several versions with higher power ratings were delivered through the 1960s, but development was ended nearing the 1970s due to the introduction of engines with much higher bypass ratios, and thus better fuel economy. Spey-powered airliners continued in widespread service until the 1980s, when noise limitations in European airports forced them from service.

In the late 1950s the Soviet Union started the development of a new series of large cruisers that would put the Royal Navy at serious risk. After studying the problem, the RN decided to respond in a "non-linear" fashion, and instead of producing a series of new cruisers themselves, they would introduce a new strike aircraft with the performance needed to guarantee successful attacks on the Soviet fleet. The winning design was the Blackburn Buccaneer, which had an emphasis on low altitude performance (i.e. to evade enemy radar) as opposed to outright speed.

Flying at low altitude, in denser air, requires much more fuel; the air-fuel mixture in a jet engine needs to be kept very close to a constant value to burn properly, and more air requires proportionally more fuel. This presented a serious problem for aircraft such as the Buccaneer, which would have had very short range unless the engines were optimised for low-level flight. The early pre-production versions, powered by the de Havilland Gyron Junior, also proved to be dangerously underpowered.

Rolls-Royce attacked this problem by offering a militarized version of the Spey, which emerged as the RB.168. The resulting Spey-powered Buccaneer S.2 served into the 1990s. The Spey proved so successful in this role that it was produced under license, and developed, in the United States as the TF41 and F113, and was used in a number of British and US designs.

The British versions of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II F-4K (designated Phantom FG.Mk.1) replaced the 16,000 lb thrust J79 turbojets with a pair of 12,250 lb thrust dry and 20,515 lb thrust with afterburning RB.168-15R Spey 201 turbofans. These provided extra thrust for operation from smaller British aircraft carriers, and provided additional bleed air for the boundary layer control system for slower landing speeds. The air intake area was increased by twenty percent, while the aft fuselage under the engines had to be redesigned. Compared to the original turbojets, the afterburning turbofans produced a ten and fifteen percent improvement in combat radius and ferry range, respectively, and improved take-off, initial climb, and acceleration, but a lower top speed.

A fully updated version of the military RB.168 was also built to power the AMX International AMX attack aircraft. A licensed version built by the XAEC is known as the WS-9 Qin Ling.

With the need for a 10,000 to 15,000 lbf (44 to 67 kN) thrust class engine starting up again with the removal of the Spey from service, Rolls then used the Spey turbomachinery with a much larger fan to produce the Rolls-Royce Tay.

A total of 2,768 were built.


RB.163 Mk.505-5
RB.163 Mk.505-14
RB.163 Mk.506-5
RB.163 Mk.506-14
RB.163 Mk.511-8
Gulfstream II and Gulfstream III (USAF designation F113-RR-100 for the Gulfstream C-20)
RB.163 Mk.512-14DW
BAC One-Eleven
AR 963
(RB.163) Boeing 727 (proposed); it was to have been built under licence by Allison
US military designation for the Mk.511-8 engines fitted to the Gulfstream C-20.
RB.168 Mk.101
(Military Spey) Blackburn Buccaneer
RB.168 Mk.202
(Military Spey) McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II modified F4J for British service ("Phantom FG1"). (surplus engines were purchased and used by Richard Noble for the Thrust SSC land speed record car of 1997.)
RB.168 Mk.250
(Military Spey) Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR1/MR2
RB.168 Mk.251
(Military Spey) Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R1 and AEW
RB.168 Mk.807
AMX International AMX, built under licence by FiatAvio
WS-9 Qin Ling
(Mk 202) powering the Xian JH-7 (Xian FBC-1 Flying Leopard)
AR 168R
Joint development with Allison Engine Company for the TFX competition (won by the Pratt & Whitney TF30
Allison TF41
(RB.168-62 and Model 912) LTV A-7 Corsair II (USAF -D and US Navy -E models), licence built by the Allison Engine Company
RB.183 Mk 555-15 Spey Junior
Fokker F28

Marinised versions:
Marinised Spey delivering 18,770 shp
Marinised Spey delivering 26,150 shp


Spey Mk 202
Type: Low bypass turbofan
Length: 204.9 in (5204.4 mm)
Diameter: 43.0 in (1092.2 mm)
Dry weight: 4,093 lb (1856 kg)
Compressor: axial flow, 5-stage LP, 12-stage HP
Combustors: 10 can-annular combustion chambers
Turbine: 2-stage LP, 2-stage HP
Maximum thrust: Dry thrust: 12,140 lbf (54 kN); with reheat: 20,500 lbf (91.2 kN)
Thrust-to-weight ratio: 5:1







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