Type Turbojet
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Limited
First run January 1962
Major applications Hawker Siddeley Trident
Dornier Do 31
Number built 86

The Rolls-Royce RB.162 is a lightweight British turbojet engine produced by Rolls-Royce Limited. Developed in the early 1960s, it was specially designed for use as a lift engine for VTOL aircraft but was also used in a later variant of the Hawker Siddeley Trident airliner as an auxiliary boost engine. A smaller related variant, the RB.181 remained a design project only, as did a turbofan version designated RB.175.

Design and development

The RB.162 was designed to meet an anticipated need for a lift engine to power VTOL aircraft with the emphasis on simplicity, durability and lightweight construction. Development costs were shared by Britain, France and Germany after signing a joint memorandum of agreement.[1] The engine featured fibre glass compressor casings and plastic compressor blades to save weight which also had the effect of reducing production costs. The engine has no oil system, a metered dose of oil instead being injected into the two main bearings by the compressed air used to turn the compressor at startup.[2] Although the RB.162 was a successful design, the expected large VTOL aircraft market did not materialise and the engine was only produced in limited numbers.[3] The French government invested in losses 79 million French francs (1970 value, or 94 million euros in 2022 values) between 1960 and 1966 for the Mirage IIIV.[4]

Development for the Trident

In 1966 British European Airways (BEA) had a requirement for an extended range aircraft to serve Mediterranean destinations. After a plan to operate a mixed fleet of Boeing 727 and 737 aircraft was not approved by the British Government[5] Hawker Siddeley offered BEA a stretched and improved performance version of the Trident that they were already operating. This variant, the Trident 3B, used, in addition to its three Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, a centrally mounted RB.162-86 which was used for takeoff and climb in the hot prevailing conditions of the Mediterranean area. The 'boost' engine was shut down for cruising flight. Some conversion was needed for the change from vertical to horizontal installation. With the RB.162 fitted the Trident 3B had a 15% increase in thrust over the earlier variants for an engine weight penalty of only 5%.[6]

RB175 and 181

A design study for a turbofan version of the RB.162 was designated RB175.[7] Another projected derivative, the RB.181 was to be a scaled-down version of the RB.162 producing approximately 2,000 lbs of thrust. Seven of these lift engines were to power the unbuilt Lockheed/Short Brothers CL-704 VTOL variant of the F-104 Starfighter.[8]

General characteristics




Engines on display

Specifications (RB.162-86)

Rolls-Royce RB.162-4D on display at the Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen

Data from [10][11]

See also

Comparable engines

Related lists



  1. ^ Gunston 1989, p.150.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2012.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Gunston 1989, p.150.
  4. ^ https://www.hydroretro.net/etudegh/SNECMA_debuts_cooperation.pdf p. 16
  5. ^ Swanborough 1971, p.89.
  6. ^ Swanborough 1971, p.90.
  7. ^ Flight International, 7 January 1965 www.flightglobal.com Retrieved: 31 December 2009
  8. ^ Flightglobal archive - Flight - June 1962 Retrieved: 21 July 2009
  9. ^ RAF Museum Cosford - RB.162 Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine www.rafmuseum.org.uk Retrieved: 27 January 2010
  10. ^ Gunston 1989, p.151.
  11. ^ Swanborough 1971, p.88.