Turbo-Union RB199

The Turbo-Union RB199 is an aircraft turbofan jet engine designed and built in the early 1970s by Turbo-Union, a joint venture between Rolls-Royce, MTU and FiatAvio. The RB199's sole production application is the Panavia Tornado.

RB199 on static display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford
Type Turbofan
Manufacturer Turbo-Union
First run 1972
Major applications Panavia Tornado

Design and development

The RB199 is a modular engine, improving servicing. It was flight tested on the Avro Vulcan, the same aircraft that was used for the flight testing of Concorde’s Olympus 593. A specially built nacelle was designed that was fully representative of the Tornado fuselage and attached below the Vulcan. The aircraft first flew in this configuration in 1972.

All the installed versions of the RB199 are of three spool design and are fitted with thrust reversers for braking on the Panavia Tornado. The engine's compact design gives high thrust-to-weight and thrust-to-volume ratios while maintaining good handling characteristics and low fuel consumption. The RB199 has amassed over 5 million flight hours since entering service with the Royal Air Force, Luftwaffe, German Navy, Italian Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force.

The engine was also used in the EAP Demonstrator assembled at, and flown from, Warton in Lancashire, England, and the early prototype Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, both types without thrust reversers.

The RB199 was designed to give the Tornado outstanding performance. In order to meet the many different mission requirements of the Tornado, in particular extreme low-level missions, a 3-shaft design with afterburner and thrust reverser was selected. The Digital Engine Control Unit (DECU) reduces the pilot's workload during operation and supports on-condition maintenance. The fact that the RB199 is still a very modern combat engine with future growth potential is a confirmation of its advanced design. Modular construction allows damaged modules to be changed within the minimum turnaround time, thus ensuring greater availability of the aircraft. Its unprecedented reliability has been demonstrated not only in hostile environmental conditions but also in combat. The most recent production standard, Mk105, powers the German ECR (Electronic Combat Reconnaissance) Tornado.

Variants and applications

RB199 Mk 101
Initial variant powered first Tornado IDS deliveries, with a 38.7kN (8700lbf) dry thrust, 66.01kN (14840lbf) with afterburner.[1]
RB199 Mk 103
Powering Tornado IDS strike versions, with a thrust rating of 40.5 kN (dry) 71.2 kN (reheat)
RB199 Mk 104
Powering the Tornado F3 Air Defence Variant, with a thrust rating of 40.5 kN (dry) 73 kN (reheat)
RB 199 Mk104D
Derivative used on the BAe EAP.[1]
RB199 Mk 105
Powering Tornado ECR versions and applicable to IDS, with a thrust rating of 42.5 kN (dry) 74.3 kN (reheat)
A derivative of the Mk104 (originally designated Mk 104E[1]), powering the first two prototypes of the Eurofighter Typhoon (DA1 and DA2) until the initial versions of the Eurojet EJ200 were available.

Engines on display

A Turbo-Union RB199 is on public display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford and Brooklands Museum Weybridge.

A Turbo-Union RB199 is on public display at the Morayvia Centre in Kinloss

Specifications (RB199-104)

Data from Rolls-Royce[2]

General characteristics

  • Type: Turbofan
  • Length: 3,600 millimetres (142 in)
  • Diameter: 720 millimetres (28.3 in)
  • Dry weight: 976 kilograms (2,151 lb)


  • Compressor: 3-stage LP, 3-stage IP, 6-stage HP
  • Turbine: Single stage HP, Single stage IP, 2-stage LP


See also

Comparable engines

Related lists


  1. Taylor 1996, pp. 610–611
  2. RB199-104 data sheet Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved:27 July 2009
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1996). Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory. London, England: Brassey's. ISBN 1-85753-198-1.
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