Odds and Ends: RR–We lost 777X; 787 webcast on battery fix

Engine Selection on 777X: Rolls-Royce tells us it’s out as a supplier for the Boeing 777X. Pratt & Whitney earlier withdrew from the competition, deciding there wasn’t a business case to be second fiddle to GE, which was presumed by RR and PW to a sure bet to be a supplier even if Boeing went with a dual source engine option. All this means, of course, that GE and its GE9X will be the sole source engine on the new airplane.

Marc Birtel, in an email statement, neither confirmed or denied the news.

“We are following a disciplined development process for the 777X and will make announcements regarding suppliers at the appropriate time. Our decision regarding engine options will be based on the right technical solutions available at the right time under the right business arrangements to meet our customers’ requirements.”

Boeing webcast on battery fix: Boeing has a webcast open to all at 6pm PDT today about the battery fix for the 787.

36 comments on “Odds and Ends: RR–We lost 777X; 787 webcast on battery fix

  1. No a great loss for RR IMO. GE scored an own goal in choosing not to provide a powerplant for the A350-series (dash-800/-900/-1000) thus giving RR a lucrative de facto monopoly on the A350.

    The RB3025 conceptual engine — or even a more advanced engine having a geared contrarotating fan — would be suitable to power an all new A360X-series (i.e. one-and-a-half-deck configuration with a MTOW of around 350 metric tonnes) and A370X-series (i.e. twin-engined version of the A380, A330-type range). I would not expect GE to aboard. Even if they were to be invited to bid, GE has chosen to go all in on the 777. In 2020, the basic frame will be a quarter of a century old and the 777X program is looking increasingly like it’s going to be a one-trick pony program (777-9X). For GE’s sake Airbus better not launch an all new aircraft program aimed directly at the 777-9X market segment anytime soon. If Airbus did launch, what would GE do then? Count on the 777-9X managing to hold its own against the A350-1000 applying pressure from “below”, while being squeezed by an all new larger airframe from above; an airframe which would have the option of providing 11 seats across in coach (i.e. 777X level of comfort) while having about equal performance capability at 10 abreast (i.e A380 level of comfort) as that of the 777-9X.

    • I think an engine in the 80-100k lbs thrust class has options on the A350, A380, 777, 787-10 and future aircraft/ versions in that thrust class. PW is also continuing work on a big engine. If its good, customers will come. Airlines will force Boeing/ Airbus.
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-19/pratt-stays-in-market-for-biggest-jet-engines.html

      An 11 abreast single deck aircraft would probably have a low space utililization, an unused deck above the cabin and massive off standard cargo belly fitting 2.5 LD3 containers accross.. Maybe an airline will do 11 abreast on A380 maindeck at some point, but I don’t see many further opportunities.

      • An 11 abreast one-and-a-half-deck aircraft (not single-deck), having seat bottom widths of 17.2 inches (747, 777X standard), 2 inch wide armrests (industry standard) and 19 inch wide aisles, would have a constant fuselage section with an external cross-section about 25 cm (10 inches) wider than that of the 747. The radius would be equal to the lower lobe radius of the A380, hence the lower deck would basically look identical to that of the A380. Assuming a similar overall aircraft length as that of the 747-400, there would be good space utilzation on the aircraft forward of the wing. Aft of the wing, you would have options for an overhead galley and crew-rest areas.

    • No a great loss for RR IMO. GE scored an own goal in choosing not to provide a powerplant for the A350-series (dash-800/-900/-1000) thus giving RR a lucrative de facto monopoly on the A350.

      GE offered the GENX for the A350mk1, even got orders (QR?). Then when the A350 went XWB, GE felt it hurt their 777 investments/ Boeing deal. Later Airbus rejected the GENX offer for just the two smaller A350 variants, excluding the A350-1000.

      http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=191ded2c-3425-4c2f-987a-c4a4d0adfced

      • Leahy has accused GE of playing favorites.

        “The problem we have with GE is they go to Seattle and say, ‘What kind of engine should we design for your airframe?'” said Leahy. “Then they come to Toulouse and say, ‘Here is the kind of airframe you need to build to fit our engine.'”

        Spat Between Airbus, General Electric Over A350 XWB Engines Deepens
        http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=740080ef-2dd1-4c82-afe5-284390ffad20

        Now, has GE ever offered a clean-sheet design for an Airbus aircraft? I don’t think so. Even the GP7200 engine was AFAIK originally designed for the 747-500X/-600X.

      • In retrospect it’s funny how much fuss Aboulafia and Boeing in 2007 made out of the fact that the A350XWB came with only a single engine option. I found that laughable at the time already, given how many 737s Boeing had been able to shift with just a single engine supplier. But look at Boeing now… 737NG/737MAX, 747-8, 772LR/773ER and 777X are only offering a single engine option, incidentally all from GE (or a GE joint-venture in case of the 737).

        keesje :
        GE offered the GENX for the A350mk1, even got orders (QR?). Then when the A350 went XWB, GE felt it hurt their 777 investments/ Boeing deal. Later Airbus rejected the GENX offer for just the two smaller A350 variants, excluding the A350-1000.

        Funny, too, how at the time they said that they only wanted suppliers that provided engines for all three family members, while it recently transpired that RR have been given exclusivity on the -1000. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-22/pratt-whitney-said-to-study-airbus-a350-engine-to-rival-rolls.html

      • Funny, too, how at the time they said that they only wanted suppliers that provided engines for all three family members, while it recently transpired that RR have been given exclusivity on the -1000

        I got the impression at the time that Airbus wanted to force GE to fish or cut bait. Either they would have to decide to provide Airbus with custom-made engines for the entire A350 family, or get lost. One can agree or disagree with Mr. Leahy, but on this matter I believe he was correct in his observation about GE.

        Nothing would have prevented GE in offering the GE9X engine for the A350-1000, and a GEnx-derived engine for the A350-800/900. Since GE has not shown any interest whatsoever in providing an engine for the A350-1000 — even as late as of today when they do have an engine suitable for the dash 1000 on the drawing board — it was no loss for Airbus to offer RR exclusivity on what was essentially a walk-over.

  2. keesje :
    No a great loss for RR IMO. GE scored an own goal in choosing not to provide a powerplant for the A350-series (dash-800/-900/-1000) thus giving RR a lucrative de facto monopoly on the A350.
    GE offered the GENX for the A350mk1, even got orders (QR?). Then when the A350 went XWB, GE felt it hurt their 777 investments/ Boeing deal. Later Airbus rejected the GENX offer for just the two smaller A350 variants, excluding the A350-1000.
    http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=191ded2c-3425-4c2f-987a-c4a4d0adfced

    Don’t forget that much later Airbus decided the original engine planed for the A-3510 wasn’t the rght engine and asked RR to increase thrust by about 4000-5000 lbs.

    There is also a lot of talk (hoping) by the Airbus fans for a A-330NEO, powered by the GEnx.

    • An engine for an A330neo should at least have the same level of technology as that of GE9X and RB3025. The GEnx represents “old technology”. ;-) Hence Airbus would be stupid to put a GEnx on the A330. That train has long gone.

      • If Airbus is going A330 NEO, Timing will be very tigh !
        The Fal will be slowing in 2016 !
        No use to get the perfect solution for 2020 !
        So they have to compromise for the best engines available in a short time frame !
        – A T1000, with increased bleed air (From 3 to 7%) and some “Ten class” improvements, plus a CFRP fan may be the best candidate !
        – And the last version of the GEnx 2B, may work too !

        Airbus, if they launch an A330 NEO version, have not to run for the uppermost performances … just find the spot to sale 3-400 more A/C!

        My main questionning is about the huge antiquated wing, and the eventual introduction of Al-Li , within short delays !
        It’s costly and depends on Broughton … disponibiliy for the wings ! Hum !

      • Even if the current A330 production rate of 110 per year should start to taper off in 2016, Airbus should still IMO be able to produce at least 50 current A330-ceos per year through at least the year 2020. The A330-300, in particular, is still in high demand in Asia, and in China the A333 is replacing single aisle aircraft as the new trunk-liner. In that market segment you don’t need the extra capabilities offered by the 787. As long as the price right, the A333 will continue to be highly competitive.

        Hence there’s no need to rush an A330neo program. IMO, that wing is not antiquated at all. It merely needs to shed weight by the way of a reduced-size centre wing box optimised for a reduced MTOW and not the size and fuel volume requirements of the A340-300.

    • kc135topboom :
      Don’t forget that much later Airbus decided the original engine planed for the A-3510 wasn’t the rght engine and asked RR to increase thrust by about 4000-5000 lbs.
      There is also a lot of talk (hoping) by the Airbus fans for a A-330NEO, powered by the GEnx.

      What’s so unusual about thrust requirements changing during the development of an airplane?
      Regarding the A330NEO – the ideas I’ve seen thrown around so far always mentioned using bleed-air versions of either 787 engine, i.e. Trent 1000 [i]and/or[/i] GEnx. So far, by the way, none of that talk has come from Airbus, who as recently as late January 2013 pointed out that they didn’t see much sense in an A330NEO due to the additional engine and structural weight this plane would have to carry, as the airframe is optimised around the current engine configurations.

  3. The A330 NEO, if it happens, have to take under wing the T1000, with some bleed air added too, and may be a new CFRP fan !
    RR is the best engine seller for the A330 since a lot of years, they will not forget it !
    I think Airbus will maintain at least two providers…
    SO, GE and RR are the most certain !
    I was hoping for the TXWB, but the weight is too high !

    And surely, Airbus will not fight the A350 market vs the A330 for the long haul in 2016 , so just wait for lower MTOW, and modest ranges !

    P&W, with it’s new “Gear Reductor” project, will come too late to catch this oportunity !

    The Avio buy over, by GE may not help too, i’m just awaiting for a sharp turn, leaning towards MTU for the Gears!

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pw-still-working-on-widebody-geared-turbofan-despite-777x-rejection-383386/?cmpid=SOC|FGFG|twitterfeed|Flightglobal

    Waiting anxiously for “Le Bourget” announcements, we may see a lot of interesting moves from A & B !

    • You’ve got that exactly right. An A330neo should be re-optimised for its original mission — Medium Range. That means lower MTOW, OEW-reduction and new 60,000 lbs of thrust engines significantly lighter than the GEnx and the Trent-1000.

      • No time left for really new engines OV-099 …. sorry !

        It is a 3-400 A/C market at fair prices, for the 2016-2020 Timeframe !
        Too limited for very huge investments from motorists !

        So, if Airbus goes NEO for the A330, they may have to cope with what they have at hands to launch it between 2016-2017 and make it with what they have at hands without any speculation !

        A 1 to 3 billions buget if it happens !

      • The GENX seems the perfect engine for an A330 NEO. The right thrust-range and bleedair, already matured. It would give GE an opportunity to claw back into the Airbus portfolio, now that PW is taking bites from the A320 backlog and RR grabbed the A350. There’s the GP7000 too, but that seems restricted now. I wonder what EA will do if RR offer a better engine for the A380.. The PW/GE combi seems to have done a good job against RR there..

        • keesje, GE doesn’t have to “claw back to Airbus”. Airbus’s WB cash cow, the A-330 is sold with GE engines much more often than sold with RR or P&W engines. Airbus tried to get GE on board for the A-350, and GE wanted no part of that. It is Airbus who needs GE, not the other way around. GE builds more of the CFM-56 engines on the A-32X family, than the “other engine”. GE builds a big portion of the GP-7000, as you already mentioned. GE will do just fine not being part of the A-350 program.

          In the past 12 years GE certifed two versions of the GE-90 engine, the -110 and -115 versions, as well as a totally new engine in two versions, the GEnx-1B and -2B versions. GE, along with P&W got the GP-7000 certified. In that same time, RR certified two new Trent engines, the -900 and -1000.

  4. Rensim :
    No time left for really new engines OV-099 …. sorry !
    It is a 3-400 A/C market at fair prices, for the 2016-2020 Timeframe !
    Too limited for very huge investments from motorists !
    So, if Airbus goes NEO for the A330, they may have to cope with what they have at hands to launch it between 2016-2017 and make it with what they have at hands without any speculation !
    A 1 to 3 billions buget if it happens !

    Pratt & Whitney might have a new engine ready by the early 2020s. RR as well. No need to go with old technology. I’m sure Pratt would be more than eager to offer an all new GTF engine for an A330neo; and if they did, RR couldn’t just offer a Trent-1000. It would not be able to compete.

    >blockquote>Pratt & Whitney will continue working on the next generation of geared turbofan engine technology despite its exclusion from the Boeing 777X re-engining competition.

    The early success of the PurePower PW1000G series in the narrowbody market masks a key limitation. The 3:1 ratio used by the PW1000G reduction gear is insufficent to power widebody aircraft or a next-generation single-aisle.

    P&W is conducting “due diligence” studies on a new reduction gear with an at least 4:1 ratio to power the next generation of its commercial aircraft, says Bob Saia, P&W vice president of next generation engines.

    The 25% upgrade ratio applies a change in the architecture of the reduction gear. The PurePower 1000G series employs a five, fixed gears in a star configuration. The next generation will use an all-moving planetary gear to achieve the higher reduction gear ratio, Saia says.

    Such a new gear will be inherently more fuel-efficient than current technology.

    “That’s probably worth something on the order of 5 to 6% better fuel efficiency,” Saia says.

    P&W did not use such a gear at the outset years ago for several reasons, not least because it was more risky and airlines were already having trouble accepting the reduction gear technology in the first place.

    Boeing’s plan to introduce the 777X by the end of the decade was too fast for P&W to support with an all-new engine architecture, Saia says.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pw-still-working-on-widebody-geared-turbofan-despite-777x-pass-383386/

  5. keesje :
    GE would love to supply engines to Airbus for the A350 because that’s their business.

    But no clean sheet engine. Just a left over engine from another program. ;-)

  6. We have gone off topic somewhat, so let me ask a question.
    The 744, A330/340 have winglets of sorts.
    Does anyone know what the philosophy of thos were? Fairly sure they were not for a fashion statement.
    Current generation winglet or sharklet could possibly be very beneficial to A330 without the burden of a re-engine.

    • Andrew :
      We have gone off topic somewhat, so let me ask a question.
      The 744, A330/340 have winglets of sorts.
      Does anyone know what the philosophy of thos were? Fairly sure they were not for a fashion statement.
      Current generation winglet or sharklet could possibly be very beneficial to A330 without the burden of a re-engine.

      Airbus is looking at using sharklets on the A330 instead of the current winglets – as per Flight Global, Leahy is pushing engineering on this, but engineering is kind of responding with a “meh” on the idea.
      The sharklet suggestion is still facing resistance within Airbus. Executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams says he can “understand the logic” of the suggestion but is “not so sure on the advantages”.
      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/airbus-keeps-options-open-on-a330-sharklets-381256/

  7. Andrew :
    We have gone off topic somewhat, so let me ask a question.
    The 744, A330/340 have winglets of sorts.
    Does anyone know what the philosophy of thos were? Fairly sure they were not for a fashion statement.
    Current generation winglet or sharklet could possibly be very beneficial to A330 without the burden of a re-engine.

    The old wingtips on Airbus, give 2-3 % advantage versus a classical wing, the new “Sharklets” add only 3-4 % to the former Airbus wingtips , for a global result aprox 6% !
    The common winglets of the B737-757 also add 6% from the previous straight wing !

    The set back, is some added weight and reinforcements in the wing and the wingbox (Compression)!
    A task much easier to perform when you project to add a new engine (A320 NEO) and /or modernize the whole wing, since anyway you have a to make a lot of modifications to the wing !

    New engines, like aT1000-with the Ten upgrades, for example may add 10% of fuel economy, and anyway induce some wing, wingbox (And nose gear) reform!
    So obviously , it’s the indicated wa, to make the A330 NEO, adding apropriate “Sharklets” through the same move !
    Since An A330 only with “Sharklets” alone may complicate alot and add weight, just for a 3,5 % aero win ! And may be with less than 2 % fuel spared at the end !

  8. Airbus have to choose between :

    – To make the A330 NEO well adapted and inserted within the A350 offers !
    – To make nothing, or very few, with the A330 !

    John Leahy wants the NEO !
    Airbus engineering are dragging their feet !

    Timing is very important, decision, has to be done this year, may be for “Le Bourget” IMO !

    • The A330 has been on the agenda for over a decade, startingbwith the GP7000 and the A330 and A350mk1 offering later on. The same wingposition housed the Trent500, Trent700, Trent900, CFM56, CF6-80E1 and PW4000, so is well know to Airbus engineering.

      If a go ahead is giving, e.g. in combination with an big A333F or French MRTT order, the development time could be shorter the usual. I guess some manpower is allocated to ensure a quick move ahead if A350-800 orders vanish and available A350 slots move beyond 2020. GE says the Genx is 15% better then the CF6.

  9. And GEnx 2B, may be 2-3 % worse than GEnx 1B !
    And Trent 700 may be 2-3 % better than CF6 !
    And T1000 Ten will be 2% better than T1000 ….
    And weight including Nacelle may get a sizable increase !
    And underwing adaptation to A330, may cost 1-2 %

    And so on, I think Airbus may be happy to get 10 % from the engines, vs the T700 !
    More is still possible, sure !
    But more easily worked out from the structure and aerodynamic’s

    • RR and/or GE would build on their most recent engines and improvement initiatives, optimize the fan or the specific application. Maybe One of them is wlling to pay for the pylons etc. in return for exclusivity.

  10. Hum Keesje …

    RR milking the T700 !
    GE everytime protecting first its investments with Boeing !
    P&W somewhat late for a big engine, since they are reconsidering, and have to test the “New” reductor !

    Not so easy to get the best in a given, short timeframe, for an old plane !

    In an other hand, Airbus may consider the options to reduce Range, Weight, an MTOW for the A350 séries, with a smaller wing, and adapted engines, near the 2020 Horizon !
    With P&W for example !

  11. Howard :
    I would be highly surprised if Pratt can make an engine by 2020 that would be good enough for that size category.

    I think P&W is able to make a large GTF in the (60-80 000 lbs ) range in a 6-7 years lapse!
    And we get the signals they are beginning to work on it !
    So , just wait for an announcement, may be this year, to know the power range they are choosing, and the launch customer they get !

    My first bet is for : A shorter range, and low MTOW A350 !
    May be it fits the A380 too, if allowed by GE, or through an arrangement with EA ????
    My second bet is China or Russia !

    And, time will tell for the delay !

  12. With regard to Rolls Royce and the 777x. I am very surprised that they even bothered after being shafted with the 777. Developing the Trent 8114/5-first past 100,000lbft thrust onto 115,000lbft thrust. McNerny then CEO of GE gave Boeing $500million to be exclusive engine provider and now that same CEO is at Boeing(talk about jobs for the boys) So it was obvious from the start,even P&W saw through the blarney. With Rolls divulging all the details of the RB3025 to Boeing,possibly passed straight on to GE. Wouldn’t trust Boeing with a barge pole.

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