Rolls-Royce in Exclusive Engine Deal with Airbus

June 22, 2011
Long-range Airbus A350-1000 will gain range, capacity, fuel-economy from higher-thrust variant Trent XWB
Rolls-Royce plc will be the exclusive supplier of aircraft engines to Airbus for its new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, the long-range wide-body commercial aircraft that Airbus originally scheduled to be introduced in 2013. In turn, Rolls-Royce extended a 20-year contract to FLY S.p.A. for production and assembly of Trent XWB fan case modules. FLY is a partnership between Forgital Group, a seamless ring producer, and the Trentino Sviluppo company. Forgital supplies titanium forged rings for the modules. The value of the deal was not reported. The A350 series was designed by Airbus to employ the Trent XWB (extra wide body) on all three versions, but the plans were changed after the engine proved too large to use on the smaller A350-800 and -900 models. Published reports detail that Rolls-Royce could invest up to $500 million to develop a new, higher-thrust variant of the engine for the A350-1000. Airbus has delayed the launch of the -1000 model until 2017 to incorporate design changes. Rolls-Royce said the higher-thrust variant of the Trent XWB is an engine specifically tailored for the A350-1000, and with significant benefits in design and systems integration that will reduce fuel consumption, life-cycle costs, and environmental impact. It noted that the new Trent XWB engine would allow the A350-1000 to fly 400 nautical miles further with a full load of 350 passengers, or carry an additional 4.5 metric tons of payload. Six of the new Trent XWB engines being tested now and flight-testing is scheduled to begin later this year. According to Rolls-Royce president-Civil Aerospace, Mark King: “Trent XWB engines currently on test are proving to be the most advanced civil aero engines in the world today. The higher-thrust variant … incorporates further innovations from our Advance 3 technology demonstrator programs. Many of the technological and performance improvements of the higher-thrust Trent XWB also will be used to enhance performance of other members of the Trent engine family.” Rolls-Royce calls its Trent XWB engine “the most advanced civil turbo fan engine in the world” and notes it is the fastest-selling Trent engine it has ever introduced. It delivers 97,000 lbs maximum thrust thanks to a new high-temperature turbine technology that increases the size of the engine core, as well as advanced fan aerodynamics. The engine builder has previous orders for the Trent XWB from 36 customers for a total of 574 aircraft.