Regionals Update: Rolls-Royce joins AVIC in Chinese RJ studies

 - May 27, 2008, 6:08 AM

Rolls-Royce and Chinese aerospace representatives have signed a “collaborative agreement” to study a new regional jet application for the Rolls-Royce BR710 engine. An MOU, signed by representatives of Rolls-Royce Deutschland and the China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), involves the potential use of the 14,000 lb- to 17,000-lb-thrust BR710 on China’s proposed ARJ21 regional jet.

The ARJ series, now in the early stages of development, would consist of a 70- to 90-seat family of jets. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder signed the MOU during his state visit to the People’s Republic of China in October. Under a separate agreement, AVIC and the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment will work with Rolls-Royce Deutschland and the German Aerospace Centre on a joint study of aerodynamic issues involving the new aircraft and the fuselage-mounted engine installation.

Used primarily in business jet applications, the BR710 powers the Bombardier Global Express and Gulfstream V and GV-SP. Rolls-Royce recently drew a contract for the engine’s use on Bombardier’s new Global 5000. BAE Systems has also chosen it for the Nimrod MRA4, the UK’s new maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

Chinese officials have also recently held negotiations with Canada’s Bombardier over the possible manufacture of 50- to 100-seat regional jets in China for its domestic market. Western manufacturers generally agree that China represents the largest potential market for regional jets in Asia. Bombardier, Embraer and Fairchild Dornier have all sold regional jets to the People’s Republic in recent years.