Rolls Royce Nene Aviation Models
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The Rolls Royce Nene .

    The Rolls Royce Nene was the third and last model of a series of centrifugal-flow turbojets following the Wellend and Derwent turbojet engines developed by Rolls Royce. It was supplanted by the Avon axial-flow turbojet which was the next generation of turbojet engines to follow. It utilized a double-sided centrifugal compressor and doubled the thrust of previous turbojets to 5,000 lbf (22.2 kN).

    The engine was flight tested in an Avro Lancastrian in 1946 with the two outboard Rolls-Royce Merlins replaced by Nenes. The airplane to be fitted solely with the Nene was a modified Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star.

    Twenty-five engines were given to the Soviet Union as a gesture of goodwill for non-military use purposes, but it was reverse engineered and developed as the Klimov RD-45, and a larger version, the Klimov VK-1. These engines soon appeared in various Soviet fighters that included the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15.
    The Taylor Turbine Corporation had first applied to build the Nene under license, but the Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) was concerned that the new company would not able to produce enough engines fast enough. The license was transferred to Pratt and Whitney in 1947 and produced the J42 which powered the Grumman F9F Panther. The J42 was a centrifugal-flow turbojet with a thrust rating of 5,000 pounds. The J42 engine was active during the Korean Conflict in the early 1950s. It was also briefly built under license in Australia for use in the RAAF de Havilland Vampire fighters and by Orenda in Canada for use in 656 Canadair CT-133 Silver Star aircraft. 1

The Pratt & Whitney J42 turbojet.

The Russian built Klimov RD-45F.

Specifications: Rolls Royce Nene
Date: 1944
Type: Turbojet
Compressor: Single-spool 1-stage double-sided centrifugal compressor
Combusters: Nine combustion cans
Turbine: Single-stage axial
Length: 96.8 in (2.45 m)
Diameter: 49.5 in (1.27 m)
Thrust: 5,000 lbf (22.24 kN)
Dry Weight: 1,600 lb (726 kg)


1. Rene J. Francillon, Grumman Aircraft since 1929. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1989. 316.
2. The Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Story. Pratt & Whitney: 1950. 101.

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© Larry Dwyer. The Aviation History On-Line Museum. All rights reserved.
Created November 4, 2013.