Air Transport World

Rolls-Royce takes megapower lead. (aircraft engines)

Rolls-Royce takes megapower lead

Firing up to newest RB211 member gets the engine maker off the mark ahead of its competitors in the big-twin market.

With the push of a button last August, Rolls-Royce started up the newest member of its highly regarded RB211 family and took a giant leap over its competitors in the megapower-engine field.

Rolls's Trent engine is one of three competitors being developed to power the large widebody twins of tomorrow and the first to actually run. The engine was started up on Aug. 27 and had been taken up to over 50% by early September. According to company officials, Rolls will build six or seven engines for the development program, which is expected to cost about $900 million. The second and third engines already are under construction.

The Trent program is just part of Rolls-Royce's plan for increasing its market share by 50%, up to 30% of the overall civil-engine market that is estimated to be worth more than $160 billion over the next 14 years, according to Frank Turner, director-civil engines.

Competing with the Trent in the megapower field will be GE Aircraft Engines' GE90 and a new version of Pratt & Whitney's PW4000. The Trent, formerly the RB211-524L, is a direct derivative of the RB211-524G/H, although it is lighter and will operate at lower turbine temperatures.

Partners hold 20%

The new engine is being developed with risk and revenue-sharing partners accounting for about 20% of the program. …

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