Rolls-Royce eyes additional 10K prizes

 - September 20, 2007, 9:40 AM

Rolls-Royce earlier this year was the surprise winner in the competition to power a new super-midsize business twinjet from Dassault with engines producing 10,000 pounds of thrust each. The competition launched a new engine family, referred to internally as RB282, after Rolls-Royce beat out competing designs from Snecma, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and General Electric.

Ian Aitken, Rolls-Royce president for corporate and regional engines, said the engine was officially launched with the selection by Dassault. “Program development will continue as we work toward certification and entry into service over the next several years,” he said, adding that derivative engines with a range of thrust capabilities will be offered. The 10,000-pound-thrust version’s development will coincide with that of the first airframe, which is expected to enter service sometime after 2012. Code-named SMS, the new Falcon super-midsize jet is being developed as a replacement for the out-of-production Falcon 50EX.

Aitken added that Rolls-Royce intends to pursue other super-midsize program competitions. “Many aircraft makers are exploring new designs, and we will compete for these opportunities as they arise,” he said. “The total super-midsize business jet market for propulsion systems and services is valued at $40 billion, and this engine family will compete in that marketplace.”

Aitken admitted that a considerable amount of development work lies ahead on the Falcon project, but emphasized that Rolls-Royce can keep pace with Dassault. “We are running a number of dovetailed technology-acquisition activities and collaborative programs that support our future two-shaft engine strategy, so there is never a definite start or stop point for this activity,” he said. “The engine will be ready in time for delivery to Dassault according to their schedule.”

Asked if the RB282 program engine might be based on an upsized AE3007A, a downsized Tay 611-8 or BR710, or would borrow elements from any of the three, Aitken stressed this engine is all new. “While the RB282 engine will build on the design heritage of previous Rolls-Royce engines, there will be no design commonality or common technology taken from those models.” He added, “The engine for Dassault is brand new, derived from the ongoing RB282 technology acquisition program for the 6,000- to 30,000-pound-thrust class. This particular engine is optimized for the super-midsize business jet.”

Aitken said further RB282 program-based engines will be built with “new manufacturing technology not previously available that will allow them to be designed for manufacture in a different way.”

He described the RB282 program goal as “to advance technologies progressively to readiness for incorporation into the latest designs. This is a rolling program and takes in a broad range of technologies offering the highest operating efficiencies, lowest maintenance costs and lowest environmental impact. We develop technologies both internally and through our global network of academic collaborations, and we’re involved in a large number of collaborative programs. This engine will be among the most environmentally friendly in business aviation. It will meet all global environmental regulations.”