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Rolls-Royce working on new two-shaft engine

 - June 20, 2007, 12:50 PM

Rolls-Royce has revealed exclusively to Aviation International News details of an entirely new family of two-shaft engines under development to power business jets and large regional aircraft.

The UK company, fresh from its success in winning the all-out competition to power Dassault’s new business jet, said the aircraft is only the first in a series of potential applications. “We’re working on a family of engines producing between 6,000 and 20,000 pounds thrust,” said Rolls-Royce’s corporate and regional aircraft president, Ian Aitken.

The first application is the 10,000-pound-thrust powerplant for the Dassault aircraft, which will, said Aitken, be run in 2009 and certified “probably in 2011.”  No name has yet been chosen for the new engine series, which is internally designated RB282.

Features include a forward-swept fan taken from the bigger three-shaft Trent and an extremely advanced core based around components that have already been tested. “We ran a nine-stage compressor in Berlin early this year, and we’ve tested a new high-pressure turbine, which proved very successful,” said Aitken. “We now have a set of building blocks for a family of engines. Everything is on the shelf and ready to go when we push the button.”

He estimates the market for Rolls-Royce’s share of the new generation of corporate and regional engines is worth “about $200 million” and that it will be split evenly between the two segments. The new engine will not, insists the company, replace the existing 6,500- to 9,500-pound-thrust AE3007. “There’s still ten years of business in this engine,” said Aitken.

Details of the new Dassault business jet remain scant. However, the aircraft is known to be sized between the Falcon 50 and Falcon 2000, and with two 10,000-pound-thrust engines will have extremely good performance to the top of climb. Rolls-Royce said only that the engine is “small, robust and very reliable.”
“There’s a lot of activity out there. It’s happening now,” Aitken. This “is why we went with the business jet engine first.”