As the only one of the ‘big three’ engine makers to be assembling high-value widebody engines in Asia, Rolls-Royce aims to capitalize on its growing regional presence with sales of new powerplants and upgrade developments.
Driven largely by its success in Asia with both the Airbus and Boeing twin-aisle products, Rolls is eager to ride the regional wave to new levels of growth through the remainder of the decade with the Trent 1000 on the 787 and XWB on the A350 family. The engine maker, which predicts the Asia-Pacific air transport market will account for 40% of the world’s air travel in 20 years, aims to build on the foundations established with the continuing regional popularity of the Trent 700-powered Airbus A330 and Trent 900-powered A380.
In a market which Rolls estimates will buy more than $800 billion worth of new widebody jets by 2031, the company also wants to build on the growing number of Trent 1000-powered 787s and large installed base of Trent 800-powered Boeing 777s. The company is following a two-pronged strategy; offering a series of upgrades for some Airbus and Boeing engines while putting extra resources into development of two engine Trent XWB derivatives for the A350 as well as more efficient engines for the 787.
According to Boeing, of the 1,030 787s on firm order some 249 are, or will be, powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, while 463 will have the competing General Electric GEnx-1B. A further 318, or 31% of the current firm backlog, have yet to make an official engine selection. Yet, according to Rolls, a host of additional unacknowledged campaigns and potential orders could almost double the size of the ‘undecided’ market. Including options, Rolls adds it could see Trent 1000 engines on more than 460 787s before these other potential opportunities are included.
The market is all to play for says Jeremy Hughes, chief project engineer on the latest Trent 1000 TEN version now in development. “By ours and Boeing’s estimate only one-third of the market has been decided to date and two-thirds remains open for the 787 and the Trent 1000 to pursue. We are confident that we will capture at least half of that market going forward.”
The Trent 1000-TEN, forms the vanguard of this push. Launched at the 2012 Farnborough airshow, the 78,000 lb. thrust engine is in development for all versions of the 787 including the -10 which received the go-ahead last year. The engine, which will be built in Singapore, will enter service on the 787-8/9 in 2016 and on the stretched 787-10 in 2018. Assembly of the first -TEN engine is underway and the unit will enter testing in March. Eight engines are scheduled to take part in the certification program which includes a stint on Rolls’ 747-200 flying testbed in mid-2015. Certification is expected at the end of next year.
Flight testing of the baseline Trent XWB-84 powered A350-900 meanwhile continues in anticipation of entry-into-service later this year. The first two aircraft, MSN1 and MSN3 have between them amassed more than 800 flight hours since the first flight on June 14. In total the A350 XWB flight test campaign will accumulate around 2,500 flight hours with five aircraft. Engine sets have been installed on MSN2 and have been readied for MSN4 and MSN5, engines for the latter being delivered just before the start of the Singapore airshow.
“We are on track to hit all our targets at entry-into-service (EIS),” says Rolls’ XWB program director Chris Young. The engine has behaved well in tests to date and, although Young acknowledges the company has “some minor fine tuning to do” he adds the engine maker is “happy that we’ll hit our targets.” The overall test program includes up to 13 engines which between them will accumulate 6,000 hours and 11,250 cycles. Assembly of the first production XWB-84, ‘Engine 19’ began in early February. “That’s a big milestone for us and the second production engine runs a few weeks later. We will deliver those in the middle of the year ready to support EIS,” Young says. At the same time Rolls is also poised to begin assembly of the first XWB-97 version for the stretched A350-1000 and plans to start the engine for initial runs in mid-2014.
Rolls’ broad ranging policy of upgrading the Trent family continues to gather momentum with production of the Trent 900 transitioning to the new EP2 build standard by the end of March. Similar upgraded EP standards have been developed for the Trent 500 and 800 engines, while a second set of improvements offering 1% better fuel burn will be introduced as the Trent 700 EP2 on the A330 from 2015 onwards.