The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 on Thursday received formal flight certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency, clearing it for entry into service on the first production Airbus A350-1000 later this year.
Designed to exclusively power Airbus’s biggest A350 XWB variant, the engine produces 97,000 pounds of thrust, some 13,000 pounds more than the version that has powered the A350-900 since its entry into service in 2015. Rolls achieved the increased thrust level through a combination of new high-temperature turbine technology, a larger core and advanced fan aerodynamics. The company has sold more than 1,600 Trent XWBs to over 40 customers.
Certification of the XWB-97 comes less than a week after the Trent 1000 TEN, destined to power all variants of the Boeing 787, gained a similar level of certification from EASA.
Although original plans called for the XWB-97 to generate 93,000 pounds of thrust, Rolls managed to extract additional power via a 6-percent increase in fan flow, combined with a slight change in bypass ratio and aerodynamic improvements in the larger core that increases flow. The XWB-97’s fan runs faster than those of smaller XWB units, but in a common nacelle and with unchanged aerodynamics.
Rolls says the XWB-97 turbine benefits from its use of advanced coatings and cooling technology, blade tip-clearance control for reducing “leakage” and improved materials. An enhanced combustor provides a 20-percent margin over CAEP 6 nitrous-oxide standards, and generates noise levels below QC1 arrival and QC2 departure limits.
A preliminary design review in early 2013 showed that the XWB-97 could use 80 percent of Trent XWB-84 line-replaceable units—effectively most items of equipment except fuel-metering units and more powerful pumps. The two engine variants use common ground-support equipment and tooling as well as shared “externals and consumables.”