By the beginning of June, the first 84,000-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine had flown for more than 40 hours aboard the Airbus A380 flying testbed (FTB) as Airbus moves toward a first A350 flight “probably around mid-2013,” according to engine program director Chris Young. Trent XWB Serial Number 20990 had logged 43 hours and was scheduled to make two more flights before replacement by S/N21000, dubbed FTB2 (see box).
British Aerospace industry
The opening in late April of GKN Aerospace’s manufacturing and assembly facility for composite wing structures at Bristol in the UK represents a $270 million investment that the company believes will see it significantly boost its presence in this sector over the next 30 to 40 years. The new 333,000-sq-ft facility is primarily dedicated to making wing spars for the new Airbus A350XWB airliner, but it is also producing spares for the A400M military transport.
Rolls-Royce will not be rushing to spend the proceeds from selling its 32.5-percent equity and program shares in International Aero Engines (IAE) to Pratt & Whitney (P&W), according to civil aerospace president Mark King. The $1.5 billion cash sum will be retained for general corporate purposes, said the company, which is making a “modest” financial investment in P&W’s PW1100G-JM geared turbofan (GTF) powerplant offered for the re-engined Airbus A320neo program.
BAE Systems announced this week that its Mantis Male (medium-altitude, long-endurance) unmanned technology demonstrator is to fly again, starting next year. The UAV first flew on Oct. 21, 2009, and undertook a short and successful flight trials campaign from the remote Woomera base in South Australia. The vehicle returned to BAE Systems Warton and has been laid up since.
The April 27 opening of GKN Aerospace’s new manufacturing and assembly facility for composite wing structures at Bristol in the UK represents a £170 million ($270 million) investment that the company believes will see it significantly boost its presence in the sector over the next 30 to 40 years.
Airbus has begun joining the A350 XWB’s 65-foot-long center fuselage with its 69-foot-long front fuselage in Toulouse, marking the official start of the mostly composite airplane’s final assembly, the European manufacturer announced today.
Rolls-Royce and Airbus are just about to start flight-testing the 84,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB engine for the A350XWB. Airbus’s A380 flying testbed (MSN 001) has already been fitted with the test engine and requisite instrumentation and is only waiting “for the weather in Europe to warm up a bit,” according to Rolls-Royce chief operating officer Mike Terrett.
The new Rolls-Royce factory in Singapore could be producing half of the company’s large commercial engines by the middle of this decade. The 1.65-million-sq-ft campus at Seletar Airport has cost more than $450 million to build, with some of the funding coming from the island republic’s Economic Development Board. Rolls-Royce managers expect to assemble engines and make fan blades more efficiently here than in the UK, thanks to the clean-sheet, all-under-one-roof building designs.
Rolls-Royce arrives at this week’s Dubai Air Show pleased with the “very positive” results achieved during 1,200 hours of testing eight examples of the new Trent XWB engine developed for the planned Airbus A350XWB twin-aisle twinjet. The first Trent XWB has recently been fitted to Airbus A380 (MSN001) and is expected to fly shortly.
Rolls-Royce arrives at this week’s Dubai Air Show pleased with the “very positive” results achieved during 1,200 hours of testing eight examples of the new Trent XWB engine
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