Rolls-Royce withdraws from competition to power Boeing new midsize aircraft
Proposed timetable would leave engineering manufacturer unable to meet internal requirements for technical maturity.
Rolls-Royce has withdrawn from the current competition to power Boeing’s proposed middle market aircraft platform due to scheduling concerns.
The engineering giant has said it is unable to commit to Boeing’s proposed timetable while ensuring a product that satisfies its internal requirements for technical maturity at entry into service.
Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “This is the right decision for Rolls-Royce and the best approach for Boeing. Delivering on our promises to customers is vital to us and we do not want to promise to support Boeing’s new platform if we do not have every confidence that we can deliver to their schedule.”
He added: “We have made a clear commitment to our customers that we will deliver on our current engine programmes. At the same time, we remain committed to the development of new technologies and will continue to mature and de-risk our next generation UltraFan engine architecture in preparation for future applications.”
Commitment to deliver Ultrafan engine
UltraFan is a scalable jet engine design suitable for widebody or narrowbody aircraft, which will offer a 25 per cent fuel efficiency improvement over the first-generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.
Rolls-Royce has successfully run tests of the new architecture which sits within the core of the engine through the Advance3 demonstrator, as well as the power gearbox and composite fan blade system.
Meeting Boeing’s timetable would have required accelerating the demonstrator programme. Withdrawing from the competition process will enable Rolly-Royce to have a high confidence in engine maturity towards the end of the next decade.
Chris Cholerton added: “UltraFan is the foundation of our future large civil aero engine programmes and we must ensure that it has as smooth an entry into service as possible. We had begun its development before the Boeing opportunity emerged and it must undergo a rigorous testing regime before we offer it to customers, which we do not believe can be achieved within the New Midsize Airplane (NMA) timeframe. Withdrawing at this stage will enable Boeing to structure the final part of the competition in a way that best suits them and we hope and expect to work with Boeing on other new opportunities in the future.”