Rolls-Royce Presses For Improved Performance From Trent 1000 Engines

 - February 15, 2012, 5:00 PM

With its Trent 1000 engines finally in commercial service on the delayed Boeing 787 platform, Rolls-Royce is stepping up efforts to advance further applications of the powerplant. It has started development of the Trent 1000C1 engine, also known as Pac C, that will be able to manage higher loads necessitated by the [787]-9 aircraft’s changed wing and thrust profiles. “It delivers 74,000 pounds of thrust at economic performance levels,” reported Trent 1000 project manager Simon Carlisle in a pre-show briefing.

Pac C should deliver a 2-percent improvement in Trent 1000 performance over the current Pac B engine, which, according to a Boeing audit, is 2.3 percent ahead of the original Pac A powerplant. The C1 engine will start flight tests on the 787-8 aircraft from early 2013 and the improved technology will be made available to existing Dreamliner operators once Rolls-Royce and Boeing have agreed to a plan for incorporating the upgrades. Pac C-powered 787-9 is due for service entry at the end of next year.

Beyond Pac C, Rolls-Royce sees further possible improvements for the Trent 1000, some of which could be derived from work that its Trent XWB team is doing to develop the engines that will power Airbus’s new A350XWB. “We are feeding performance targets [from the Trent XWB] back into the 1000 and there certainly a lot of benefits at the component level,” explained Carlisle.

“Looking to the future, we are still talking to Boeing about its plans for the [787]-10X in terms of its size and timing, and we feel we are well placed for this because the engine has more capability if required,” he said. “We can certainly deliver more than 74,000 pounds of thrust, but we need to do this with the right attributes in terms of noise, lifecycle costs and SFC [specific fuel consumption].”

As of the middle of January, the Trent 1000s had made more than 400 flights on the 787 service with launch customer ANA of Japan. The carrier has just taken delivery of the first aircraft equipped with the Pac B-configured engines.

According to Phil Harris, Rolls-Royce’s senior vice president for civil aerospace in the Eastern Hemisphere, the manufacturer holds a dominant position as the powerplant choice for widebody airliner customers in the Asia Pacific region. “We still see long-term positive growth in Asia Pacific,” he told AIN. “We will increasingly see widebodies used to overcome airport congestion and we are also seeing some new low-cost carriers go straight into the long-haul [that is, widebody] market.”

At the same time, Rolls-Royce has no regrets about last year’s decision to withdraw from the International Aero Engines joint venture that makes the V2500 engine. Harris insisted that Rolls-Royce take the long-term view of future narrowbody powerplant requirements. “We have positioned ourselves now with Pratt & Whitney so that when new-generation narrowbodies are coming through we will develop the appropriate engines for them and this reassures airlines that there will be strong joint venture to respond to this need and an alternative to CFM,” he concluded.