Power Jets W.2

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Whittle Jet Engine W2-700.JPG
Preserved Power Jets W.2/700 at the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (rear view).
Type Turbojet
Manufacturer Rover Car Company
First run c.1941
Major applications Gloster E.28/39
Gloster F.9/40
Developed from Power Jets W.1
Developed into Rolls-Royce Welland

The Power Jets W.2 was a British turbojet engine designed by Frank Whittle and Power Jets (Research and Development) Ltd. Like the earlier Power Jets W.1, the trombone configuration featured a simple double-sided centrifugal compressor, reverse-flow combustion chambers and an air-cooled axial-flow turbine section.

Design and development[edit]

In 1940 the Air Ministry placed a contract with the Gloster Aircraft Company for prototypes of a new twin-engined jet fighter aircraft to the requirement of F.9/40, this aircraft became the Gloster Meteor. At the same time Power Jets was authorised to design a new engine that was intended to power the same aircraft.[1] The W.2 was built under contract by the Rover Car Company in the early 1940s. Relations between Power Jets and Rover were somewhat strained and development of the W.2 was very slow. However, in late 1942, Rover agreed to exchange their jet engine factory at Barnoldswick, Lancashire for the Rolls-Royce Meteor tank engine factory in Nottingham, with no money exchanging hands. At the behest of the UK government, Rolls-Royce there upon assumed control of the W.2 project, with Frank Whittle and his small team at Power Jets acting in an advisory capacity. [2] Together, they ironed out the problems with the W.2 and finally put the engine into mass production as the 1,600 pounds-force (7.1 kN) thrust Rolls-Royce Welland. These engines were installed in the Gloster Meteor F Mk1 and early F Mk3's and entered service in 1944.


A Rover W.2B/26 on display at the Midland Air Museum
Design thrust of 1,600 pounds-force (7.1 kN) and a dry weight of approximately 850 pounds (390 kg). Early versions could not exceed 1000lbf thrust without compressor surge.
Direct flow combustion chamber design, May 1940, unbuilt.
Rover developed unit.
New compressor diffuser, improved compressor rotor and a static thrust of 2,000 pounds-force (8.9 kN) at 16,700 rpm.
No details beyond specifications.
A developed version of greater thrust of 2,485 pounds-force (11.05 kN) at 16,500 rpm and a higher dry weight of 950 pounds (430 kg).
Rolls-Royce Welland
Mass produced version of the W.2. Developed 1,600 pounds-force (7.1 kN) static thrust.
Rolls-Royce Derwent I
Straight-thru development of the trombone style W.2 configuration, with compressor and turbine upflowed by 25% to give 2,000 pounds-force (8.9 kN) static thrust


The following aircraft were used for test purposes only:

The W.2B/700 was to be used in the Miles M.52 supersonic research aircraft. In order to achieve the thrust required for supersonic flight, a version of the engine was developed using a turbine-driven "augmenter" ducted fan (an early form of turbofan). The NO.4 augmenter was mounted behind the engine, drawing fresh air through ducts surrounding the engine. Power was boosted even further by supplying the air to the world's first "reheat jetpipe" or afterburner which was actually a very early athodyd or ramjet. The hope was that this combination of the W.2/700, turbofan augmenter and re-heat/ramjet would produce the required power for the proposed 1,000mph aircraft. [3]

Engines on display[edit]

Specifications (W.2/850)[edit]

Data from Jane's[4]

General characteristics

  • Type: Centrifugal flow turbojet
  • Length:
  • Diameter:
  • Dry weight: 950 lb (431 kg)


  • Compressor: Single-stage double-sided centrifugal flow
  • Combustors: Reverse flow can, 10 chambers
  • Turbine: Single stage axial flow
  • Fuel type: Kerosene


See also[edit]

Related development
Related lists



  1. ^ Smith 1946, p. 87.
  2. ^ Hooker 1984, Chapter 3.
  3. ^ Eric Brown 2012, The Miles M.52: Gateway to Supersonic Flight
  4. ^ Jane's 1989, p. 266.


  • Gunston, Bill. World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines. Cambridge, England. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-163-9
  • Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London. Studio Editions Ltd, 1998. ISBN 0-517-67964-7
  • Smith, Geoffrey G.Gas Turbines and Jet Propulsion for Aircraft, London S.E.1, Flight Publishing Co.Ltd., 1946.
  • Kay, Anthony L. (2007). Turbojet History and Development 1930-1960 1 (1st ed.). Ramsbury: The Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1-86126-912-6. 
  • Hooker, Sir Stanley. "Not much of an Engineer". Airlife, England, 1984. ISBN 0 906393 35 3

External links[edit]