Pontifications: bleak near- to mid-term future for Rolls-Royce engine unit

By Scott Hamilton

June 15, 2020, © Leeham News: The jet engine division of Rolls-Royce faces an uncertain future because of its own problems, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 on commercial airlines.

Beset by problems with its Trent 1000, Boeing 787 engine, hampered by a huge error in judgment to withdraw from a joint venture with Pratt & Whitney, beset by the premature termination of the Airbus A380 program and now facing a long-term impact of the coronavirus crisis, Rolls is an engine maker with few opportunities.

Continuing Trent issues

Technical problems with the Trent 1000 powering 787s emerged in 2018. At its peak, more than 50 aircraft were grounded. Regulators restricted RR-powered 787s in ETOPS operations, the ability to fly hours from the nearest airport on one engine.

Some airlines wet-leased in aircraft from operators like HiFly to backfill capacity. Others dry-leased in Airbus A330s or Boeing 777-200ERs.

Rolls was swamped with bad engines, backing up its MRO shops. Third-party vendors were also backed up, resulting in aircraft that remained grounded for months.

Some aircraft remained on the ground for more than a year.

As RR-powered 787s cycled through repairs, some AOG aircraft were replaced by others.

Fixes on early Trent 1000s were predicted to take until 2021 to cycle through the global fleet.

Then, new technical issues emerged on the latest Trent, the 1000 TEN. Some of these aircraft were grounded.

Rolls took hundreds of millions of Euros in charges against the program for customer compensation and costs to fix the engines.

Reputational damage

Damage to Rolls’ reputation has been incalculable. Several lessor and airline customers complained to LNA that Rolls’ customer service response has been lacking and insufficient. While the complaints are to be expected, given the duration of the technical issues and the time required to fix them, a few customers switched from the Trent 1000 to the GE Aviation GEnx for 787 follow-on orders.

The Trent 1000 reputation and the image of RR itself has spill-over effects on the Airbus A330neo, industry sources tell LNA. The Trent 7000 powering the neo is essentially the Trent 1000 TEN with bleed air features. There underlying problems of the 1000 cause some customers to shy away from the A330neo, LNA is told. Sales of the neo are slower than Airbus hoped.

On the other hand, the Trent XWB powering the Airbus A350 performed better than expected.

Abandoning single-aisle market

In what proved to be a disastrous decision, Rolls-Royce decided to exit its ownership position in International Aero Engines, a joint venture with Pratt & Whitney, Japanese Aero Engines (itself a JV of several companies) and MTU. IAE provided the V2500 engine powering the Airbus A320, the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 and the Embraer KC-390.

Embroiled in a legal patent infringement lawsuit with PW over the Airbus A380 Trent 900 and the PW Geared Turbo Fan, the lawsuit was settled. The settlement included PW buying out Rolls’ share of IAE.

When PW developed the GTF, Airbus wanted IAE to be the development, marketing and servicing company. Pratt hadn’t developed a single-aisle airplane engine since the disastrous PW6000 and its customer support system was a question mark outside of IAE.

With RR’s withdrawal from IAE and forfeiting any involvement in the GTF as a result, RR made the colossal mistake of exiting the largest engine market in commercial aviation. This is like the mistake PW made in the 1980s when it withdrew from competition to reengine the 737-200 (which became the 737 Classic series) in favor of powering the larger Boeing 757.

Softening widebody market

This left RR as a sole provider in the widebody market.

Its market share on the 787 is a small 35%, shrinking as customers prefer the GEnx.

The A380 program winds up next year after 251 orders. Airbus expected to sell 650 A380s over the life of the program, splitting power between RR and the GE-PW JV. RR has about a 47% market share, or 119 airplanes.

As exclusive supplier on the A330neo and A350, RR’s market potential in the big picture is already limited.

Even before the virus crisis, the widebody demand was soft. Airbus and Boeing each predicted a surge in orders from 2021. However, the creation of the 8-9-hour capable 737-8 and A321LR/XLR fragment the long-haul market, suppressing widebody demand.

RR, at its May 7 AGM, said it expected to deliver 250 engines for widebodies this year, down 25% from previous estimates. But Airbus and Boeing are cutting production for the A330neo, A350 and 787. More production cuts seem inevitable.

Aftermarket revenue was hurt by warranty work on the Trent 1000 and lack of shop capacity for other Trents while fixing the 1000. COVID upends future shop visit requirements.

Airbus and Boeing don’t expect widebody demand to recover until 2023-2025.

No new airplane anytime soon

Because of Boeing’s own challenges and now the impacts of COVID, any prospect of a new airplane is years away. Boeing’s New Midmarket Airplane is off the table. The product strategy surrounding the Boeing-Embraer JV is gone.

Airbus appears to favor a new aircraft to replace the A320—in 2033.

The near- to mid-term future for RR engines looks pretty bleak.

 

51 Comments on “Pontifications: bleak near- to mid-term future for Rolls-Royce engine unit

  1. And if widebody flying hours do lag narrowboday hours in the recovery RR’s focus on “by the hour” service contracts could also prove problematic.

    If France’s push his week toward a reduced emissions narrowbody near term does result in a new project this does possibly offer RR a route back, as both RR (SAGE 1) and Safran (SAGE 2) conducted open rotor efforts under the EU Clean Sky 1 initiative, and they were co-lead overall of SAGE. Under Clean Sky 2 Safran is lead on the Ultra High Propulsive Efficiency (UHPE) follow up, but RR and MTU are involved in the engines element of Clean Sky 2.

    Brexit obviously factors in and I don’t think it is any surprise that France’s Covid related aerospace investment is focused on short-medium haul as this is where it has the possibility of shoe horning Safran into a majority/control/lead position that it doesn’t have with CFM and won’t get on widebodies. But with the IP RR has developed and a more significant link to Europe than GE, I think RR could end up as a significant % part of the engine should the new Airbus narrowbody materialise.

  2. Agree RR getting out of the NB business doesn’t look a like a good idea. I wonder though, how strong RR’s negotiating position was.

    Maybe, after decades of investing, PW finally got the GTF right (2008) and didn’t need RR to share in their innovation finally paying off. So they made sure RR couldn’t accept IAE new terms for PW100G family MRO. I don’t know any details, so Pure speculation.

    • My recollection (however accurate or not) is that back in the late 2000s new single aisles were expected some time around now and RR were really talking up the RB2011/RB3011 open rotor, with service entry timed to match. Plus they had a lot of resources tied up with the 1000 and XWB. So (my speculation) maybe they miscalculated on the likelihood of a Neo green light or of it becoming so successful and simply felt the RB3011 was the better allocation of resources?

      • Keesje:

        P&W while not officially in a consortium on the GTF, shares that program with 3 Japanese engine mfgs and MTU that were in the IAF consortium.

        It may be what led Airbus to ok it as the lead engine.

      • I think this is close – RR really wanted to stay in NB, but couldn’t make the numbers work on the GTF and the neo.
        RR firmly believed that Boeing would launch an all-new NB to counter the neo. Boeing believed the same. That would make the neo a 5 year plane and RR couldn’t make the numbers work with such a short production (and hence limited aftermarket). It was only when American told Boeing it was going for the neo that Boeing hurriedly launched the Max instead (that turned out well, didn’t it?) – unfortunately that was a year after RR had sold out to P&W, but at that point the neo moved from being a 5 year plane to a 15-20 year plane. With the benefit of hindsight, the wrong decision, but not so stupid at the time.

        • I also recall them offering a traditional 2 spool, the RR285, for Neo but not any real competitive analysis vs LEAP or GTF. Any insight Charles?

          My feeling was that CFM was always too big to knock out and that they were aiming instead for the position P&W got. Probably selling Airbus on P&W’s well earned reputation of problematic early production number engines and aiming to knock P&W’s airliner ambitions out for the count, thinking that in a blink of an eye the GTF would be superseded significantly in capability by the RB3011 or derivative. Probably also driven by the relationship breakdown, legal spats of the time etc..

          • I think the RB285 would have been a bit later? So it was vying for a third position on the neo. The benefit of two engine suppliers is quite large vs one, but the additional benefit of a third is more limited, but the cost to Airbus to integrate would have been the same, so Airbus unlikely wanted a third – or would only want a third if there were spectacular efficiency improvements vs LEAP and GTF. I’m sure the RB285 would have been fine, but unlikely to have been the step change required (this is not insight, but theorising).

      • Airbus ok’d the GTF after taking the unusual step of testing it on their own test A346 aircraft in 2008.

        The IAE breakup was in 2012, it was clear the GTF worked and was a go, Airbus had sold them on hundreds of NEO’s already.

        Maybe Pratt no longer saw the added value of RR. They saw the added value of IAE, so bought them and kept working with MTU, who have a strong aftermarket position.

  3. There is significant value in having multiple engine-manufacturers servicing the industry . Choice of operating characteristics , support and supply capabilities , financial packaging , etc , all are desired by the airlines and the aircraft manufacturers . Also , having more than one engine type buffers an airline , in case of major engine crises .
    In order to maintain the above , and to keep the aircraft manufacturing industry healthy , it may be worthwhile to establish a system of financial incentives and support , in order to keep customers significantly engaged with all three major engine-makers .
    *An example of this would be assisting R.R. in developing a larger version of the GTF . This proven product could provide the quality engine-producer with an assured revenue-stream for years to come . Beyond this would be the possibility of contra-rotating fans ; both geared and non-geared . Rolls. unique engine architectures do lend themselves to this type of design very well .
    》If the aircraft production market is to remain healthy , then it must support and maintain it’s main components , especially in lean times .
    D.H.

    • The engine experts say the Ultra is a two spool design despite what RR is calling it.

      I do agree fully 2.5 large size engine mfgs is better than 1.5 (P&W not being into the bigger engines) . MTU and the Japanese group not being into full build engines in the Single Aisle or Wide Body group.

  4. There’s an awful lot of pent up results waiting to emerge from RR’s extensive R&D efforts. If those can be turned into engines in service, they will have a lot to offer whatever is left of the aviation industry, possibly more so than anyone else. And if they can keep it together long enough, that might end up counting.

    Though they are probably going to have to re-think their business model. It’s left them appallingly exposed to the current situation. They need to share the risks more with their customers, rather than take on the whole lot itself. No doubt “global collapse of the entire aviation industry” is a risk listed in their company risk register, but I bet it scored high impact / very low probability. Well, guess what.

  5. Supposedly, RR had already bowed out of the NMA anyway, something like 9 months ago, I believe. They made some disparaging comments as I recall about the total market potential not being worth their time, essentially further damaging their relationship with Boeing.

    • Within Boeing others are saying the same thing….that’s why it’s been repeatedly delayed. Considering Boeing has used a single supplier for it’s 737, I don’t think RR wanted be used as a way for the most likely builder GE to be pushed into a better deal.
      This time GE isn’t the mega wealthy Corp it once was and can’t buy it’s way into being a sole supplier, more likely they were expecting Boeing to invest its own money into development.
      Now Boeing nor GE have money to invest in this class of plane…..so sad…..so it’s a 767 refresh after all with a GEnx with a smaller fan.

  6. Pratt has also broke RR monopoly on Gulfstream large bizz jets. G500 and G600 are powered by PWC. Because of capacity PWC didn’t bid for G700 or GA might have gone PWC way.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if RTX buys out RR. Although i see heavy opposition from British government.

    • that (RTX buying RR) seems unlikely for political as well as financial reasons.

      RTX is going to need a few years to properly integrate Raytheon into the UTC structure (the RTX “merger of Equals” was much like the Boeing/McD merger where UTC bought Raytheon with Raytheon’s money and kept the Raytheon name and mostly UTC Board an C-Suite)

      They are not going to be in the mood to buy up a lot of liability and debt on the promise of IP that is not significantly different from what PW already has.

      • Torn:

        RR came back with Pearl on the BBD Challenger jets.

        Oddly they have quite a lineup in the small jet engine area.

        • More profitable than the narrow body business,where engine supply has become a commodity
          Thats why GE and Pratt want some of that top end business for themselves

  7. RR did calculate that it was more Money into widebody Engines than taking losses for 10years together with an unhappy PWA bride on the IAE/PW1100G before Life limited parts start to be consumed. With RR limited capability in manufacturing/MRO it was more beneficial to go for the big ones together with new full service paying customers coming with the T1000 and T-XWB.
    The T1000 design misstakes are the only major upset as they really wanted to be first on the 787-8,-9,-10.
    The T900 shortfalls vs. promises to Emirates are surprising and a sign that something started to go wrong years ago.
    The T7000 might do fine with its slightly lower thrust requirements.
    Many want RR to extend the MRO licence to several independent competing shops, reduce parts counts in their Engines, get better hot section materials and increase precison on gaspath parts manufacturing.

  8. As I understood it at the time, Airbus wanted IAE to support P&W’s new engine and R-R were faced with a choice of staying in IAE and ending up as a junior partner to P&W and being prohibited from developing any competing engines; or breaking from IAE and being free to develop their own engines (which would now be an eventual development of the Ultrafan, although they were talking open-rotors etc at the time). R-R still manufactures a large proportion of every V2500 made and gets substantial revenue from their flight hours and MRO.

  9. but, but, but….

    ULTRAFAAAANNNNN!!!!!

    /sarcasm

    I suspect the Ultrafan will remain “5 years out” for at least the next 5-10 years, meanwhile GE will design a GTF of some sort and PW will incrementally boost the HP section of theirs with advanced materials and improved 3d aero…..

  10. I wonder if GE will continue work on an engine for the A350XWB or if the prospect of a long downturn will nix that project.

    If GE gets on the A350XWB that would be another blow to RR.

    • More so to me it make me wonder if there is not a issue lurking that has not been revealed.

    • Both the A350XWB and 787-10 will be “neo’d” eventually and RR/GE will fight over orders.
      The RR Ultrafan would not get so much development money if there was no clear path forward on those most modern airframes.
      A reliable 10-12% better engine SFC will make the 787-10ER very competetive. The A350XWB-1000 “Double Sunset” aircraft will be very competetive against the 777-9 and leave the 777-8 as a 777-8F.

  11. What needs to be kept in mind is that the Trent 1000 issues were slow in coming. That is unusual (ask P&W!).

    So we don’t know how the Trent XWB is going to fare. How much of basic design did they take from the Trent 1000?

    And Trent 1000 had TWO blade issues. One was severe corrosion, the other was cracking. Not related. Two separate pieces of bad design. Both are jet engine 080 or 101.

    Amazingly RR did not understand why the cracks were occurring until last year, they found they had a harmonic issue. That goes back to the Junkers Jumo engine on the ME262, jet engine 010 level.

    What is not said here is that during the Emirates melt down on the A380 order and we want a whole new engine, is what was going on.

    The Vaunted 3 Spool design ala Trent 900, was under performing GE by 2-3% SFC.

    RR jumped in and claimed they could beat GE by 5% (at least according to Tim Clark). With a revised Trent 900. Impossible, the Trent 1000 TEN did not do anything more than match GE on the 787.

    The issues then went on to issues in the Trent 900 blades. Not clear is if it applied to all 900s or the new whiz bang one. What was clear was they never came close to promise of SFC and TC gave them a wash on it.

    I know Dukefurl will not believe it, but I hate to see a former fine mfg go bad (be it RR, Boeing) what I hate is arrogance.

    Cat had that snoot and while they made good engines, they were no better than Cummins, MTU, Perkins, Deutz, Detroit Diesel etc.

    Good mfgs just deliver and smile when they over deliver.

    My issue with RR is they had that snoot and 3 spool were superior to two spool.

    While possible, generality in mechanics, simpler is better.

    The trap RR talked itself into was the 3 spool was inherently better.

    Its not, it was better SFC to make better initially. GE found out, once the basics of two spool were under stood, you could make them more efficient than a 3 spool

    3 Spool could still pay back if it returned better SFC, but it also is more complex (costly) and maint costs are higher (more parts) – it has to be 2-3% better to make that up.

    At the 787 timeline, that not longer was true. Even the Trent TEN failed to match GE PIP improvements on the two spool. They were behind and stayed behind SFC and all those other costs become an anchor around their neck not a feature.

    RR is now a victim of the culture of being bailed out. Mostly that does not work.

    • “The Vaunted 3 Spool design ala Trent 900, was under performing GE by 2-3% SFC”
      Yada yada… comparing bench testing of cruise flight with in air performance is a whole different matter.
      GE has always had the philosophy since they were given British jet engines to copy of winning on price where it didnt win on technology, being sole source for the 737 since the classic.
      GE has had major problems with its GEnx engines too , replacing whole sections for many owners. GE just has better PR, especially via Bloomberg its favoured news agency. When there is a public problem they are always blamed on ‘suppliers’ or one off errors. Same as Boeing has benefited from FAA being under its thumb so has GE.

      • The focus on 2-3% fresh from the factory also steers away from lifetime efficiency, where the stiffer 3 spool wins out through less degradation.

        • Also in fairness to Rolls, the Trent 1000 harmonic resonance issues were subtle and occurred only in very specific flight modes. That’s why they required many cycles to appear. The fix is simple but unfortunately required replacing blades, which is expensive.

          Also the corrosion was due to pollution in some cities, so again would not show up in initial testing. But again, expensive to replace blades.

          There was a third blade durability problem as well, and that one was a more typical blade issue. But again requiring blade replacement.

          The combination of 3 blade problems at once is extremely challenging. I suspect Rolls has done as well as they could, under the circumstances. I’d hope the downturn would give them breathing room with customers to complete the fixes.

          The 3-spool design is not inherently less efficient than 2-spools. It’s fairer to say that the technology of 2 spools has advanced as quickly. The 3-spool (and contra-rotating) research still has value, and may pay off in other ways.

          • Rob:

            It took RR all these years to find a harmonic? They knew blades were cracking and harmonics for that type of crack are the cause.

            RR claimed the issue was salt corrosion to start with (and a 787 fly7e over what?). So now its certain cities (sulfur). That explains NZ issue when 99.999% of their flight time is over clean water and NZ?

            3 Spool was taughted as being inherently MORE efficient than two spool That has proven to be wrong. Its more complex and cost more and weights more. It was an easy win as at same level of development it is easier for SFC.

            GE and P&W (and others) have proven two spool is both better SFC and lower weight as well as less complex and lower maint costs.

            GE latest engines and the GE/PW GP7000 have beaten RR in real world SFC.

            GE has had issues, but not core issues. One currently to be addressed is the cracking disks.

            https://www.flightglobal.com/safety/faa-proposes-genx-disk-inspections-to-address-uncontained-failure-risk/138804.article?adredir=1

            They had issues with icing. A work around, that type of engine is subject to it and it seems to be a newer phenomena (climate change). Much like RR fuel cooler, not a show stopper though finding it was very close to really bad occurrence.

            Nothing in this says RR was totally wrong, 3 spool appeared to work and while not as good a current 2 spool, competitive enough.

            When they executed like Boeing though , then a mess ensues and we are lucky no crash has occurred due to dual engine failures as they were allowed problem engines on both wings.

            Airbus went out of their way to get RR on board and clearly they are regretting it.

            Airlines are dumping the RR Trent choice on the 787, these are deeply established RR users and likers.

            Don’t take my word for it, look at the record.

          • TW, as I mentioned the corrosion and harmonic problems are separate. There are in fact 3 separate blade problems.

            If you would like to post your eigenmode analysis of the Trent 1000 to show how obvious the harmonic problem is, I’m sure we’d all like to see that. Knowing it’s a harmonic problem and finding the specific frequency, cause and remedy are two different things. It’s not a trivial problem.

            If not, then you might have more respect for the people who have actually done the work. They created an enormously complex engine that has some flaws, which I’m sure they regret and have worked hard to fix. You are sitting at home criticizing from your computer. There’s an enormous difference.

          • “That explains NZ issue when 99.999% of their flight time is over clean water and NZ?”
            Many destinations are the same highly polluted Asian cities and my guess is the takeoff is the critical situation as high altitude air is far cleaner the world over.
            Just as the ‘dust’ of ME cities during takeoff has also been problematic

        • It used to be so when RB211’s competed with the CF6’s, but when GE introduced the GE90 design the performance retention got much better due to a more symmetric design of its frames and casings. RR benefited alot from being a CF6-80C2 parts manufacturer and could carry over alot of its design solutions to the T700 to outperform the CF6-80E1 initially. The T700 was initially the T600 for the MD-11.
          The T800/T900/T500 was not the same success as the T700, only with the T-XWB did RR hit jackpot again after loosing control over the T1000 design process letting solutions thru that normally should have been stopped.

          • My recollection is that data on T900 vs GP7000 (ie newer design than GE90) still shows an advantage. Is your understanding that GE90 beats or ballpark matches copeting RR, or is it that the Trent advantage was still there but reduced?

            The characterisation re T1000 I had was that it was an organisational issue re poor allocation of design authority rather than loosing control as such. Would this tie with what you understand?

          • Woody:

            While its a relevant point on the degradation, its no longer true for 3 spool vs 2 (at least RR design)

            The CFM-56 has more than proven that 2 spool can be very degradtion speicif. GE GenX is on part with the 3 sppol.

            But, its not just wear out and degredation.

            Its also cost of the engine (complexity) as well as number of parts and cost when you do have to overhaul it (and its in service costs)

            Unless the 3 Spool returns much better SFC and degradation rate is much better, then its more costly than a 2 spool.

            the Trent 1000/TEN has been hugely negative impact financially on the airlines.

            The airlines are switching now and those were airlines that had a deep investment and belief in the Three spools.

            Clearly they see no future for the Trent 1000/Ten engine on the 787

          • @woody, my point was that the GE90 and its derivatives have much better performance retention than the CF6-50/80C2. The T700 benefitted alot from RR work on the CF6-80C2 and RR managed to make a great blend of RB211 design and CF6 designs for the T700. Later in the A330 production run I don’t know if the CF6-80E1 managed to outperform the T700 or how RR managed to keep a huge lead on A330 sales. Even though the RR design has lots of parts, not only due to 3 spools but lots of safety features as well, just look at the FADEC fire safety box on the Trents, it was lower mass than the CF6-80E. The T1000 sales and design/manufacturing was very much Japan focused, hence some design solutions might have been done a bit fast. The vibration problems on the IPC was fan blade induced where the wake pressure variation was larger than expected at max continious thrust at altitude, you need good instrumentation and plenty time at US Arnold army center turbofan altitude test tunnel to catch that one. I.e. you can calculate that you have a harmonic at max cont. but you have problems to calculate the strength of the wake (forced response analysis) and if that forcing actions is strong enough to drive blades into vibration or are damped out, since it is blades in disk attachments you need to figure out the friction damping in it besides the aero damping and how much hoop stress is transferred over the blade attachment. If you are unlucky you get acoustic driven vibrations as well that is not n/rev driven (PWA PW1100G), so in summary you don’t give design authority for the first stages of the IPC to a rookie to figure all this out…

      • Duke:

        Clearly all engine mfgs have their issues. GE is not super engine and is not immune. Disk crack is the latest on the GenX engine. While that is core mfg, its not a core engine issue in that its fatal design. Bad mfg yes.

        Its the same type of issue RR had with the 900 oil pipes. Not a design issue, an mfg issue. P&W has had its issues on the GTF. But those are mfg and not basic core engine.

        Emirate went with GP and their ME experience contrasted to others in the ME had the GP at 2 to 3% acualy performance.

        That is not an artificial test, its real world.

        When RR wanted to get the Emirates contract (after Emirates tried to arm twist them into an all new engine) it was promised a 5% better fuel burn than the GP engine.

        That is a 7-8% engine improvement. Simply insane to believe you could tweak an older engine and get more than 1/2 % here or there. But that is what RR promised. TC for his own reasons chose to believe them (of course he to is retiring before the costs come home to the roost)

        The Trent 1000 could not be pipped up to meet its specs (let alone match the GenX). They then abandoned it as a production engine (no more made) and came out with the TEN, which barley met its fuel specs and did not match the GEnX.

        There is a reason that airlines are abandoning that Trent engine despite the cost to switch. Those are airlines who loved the RR 3 spools.

        So yes they have a Boeing class mess and financial impact on their hands and you have to wonder if the XWB is next as all engine mfgs tend to use elements of previous engines.

        • “Bad mfg yes.”
          There you go repeating their spin for them …how good is that.
          As I said GE often uses two lines, Supplier issue and manufacturing issue.
          Its got agencies like Bloomberg running its version , in return for nice exclusives.
          This is an example of the other angle , everyones problem
          ““It’s a relatively rare phenomenon because it requires just the right meteorological conditions,” Hans Weber, president of San Diego-based aviation consultant Tecop International Inc., said by telephone. “This isn’t a problem that will be limited to GE engines. These crystals have been found in all engines at high altitudes near thunderstorms.”

          and the real issue ?
          “U.S. regulators are poised to order airlines to avoid flying Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliners and 747-8 jumbo jets with General Electric Co. engines near thunderstorms after some of the planes experienced ice buildup.”
          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-25/boeing-warns-of-ice-risks-for-ge-powered-787s-in-storms

  12. “This left RR as a sole provider in the widebody market.”

    Ah no ….
    ‘Small’ engines for high end corporate jets
    Turbo- shafts including US V-22 Osprey ( Allison), A400M
    Marine naval turbines
    Shares in military fast jets including F-35, Eurofighter, T-45 etc
    Naval nuclear reactors
    Extensive product line in stationary and marine diesel engines

    • RR does have a wide jet engine portfolio. Ironic that Allison is one of their best now!

      But its not relevant to commercial aircraft. Much of its very old.

      I don’t think Nuclear Reactors naval or otherwise have a place on aircraft, let alone stationary and or marine engines (no focus?)

      P&W F-35 engine? Hmmm. Didn’t they get shut out of the F-35.

      • My reading of the phase was ‘jet engine division’ , not large civil jet engines, and for completeness added the non jet sector.

      • The lift system on the F-35 was designed by Rolls, who were contracted by P&W. Both the lift fan and the 3-bearing nozzle. It’s called the “Rolls-Royce Lift System”. It was designed to work with either the 135 or 136 engines. The 136 engine was canceled to reduce costs because the 135 performed well and met all its goals. But the lift system is one of the many successes of the F-35 program.

        • We are talking Apples and Coffee beans.

          RR scattered corporate structure and interests are not relevant unless its in jet engines and if the turboprop have some relationship in being derived from jet engine.

          The Allison Turbo they inherited is an very old design as is the T-45 engine.

          GE is shucking all that extraneous stuff they picked up under Walsh as its not core to their jet engine (not diesel) business.

          GE is in financially extremis as well but has a solid across the spectrum engine portfolio unlike RR.

          Their current biggest issue is lack of the GTF program.

          P&W actually would be the best choice for a A330 and A350 engines. Reports are hey have designed those engines but never got an Airbus commitment to proceed to build them.

  13. Rolls-Royce made some erroneous judgements in the past decade or so, such as;
    – That the A380 would continue in production and that improved RR engines would be the favourite for new customers.
    – That RR would get to be an option to power the 777X
    – That Airbus wouldn’t countenance the GTF on the A320 family and would hang on for a better new build five to ten years later, and that the GTF would be a dud in terms of sales.
    – That the initially promising start for the T1000 in comparison to GenX (which had its own blade problems) indicated a relatively trouble free future for that engine.

    But even if RR had called those issues correctly, this current airline crisis wouldn’t help much; A380 would still be grounded and no-one’s buying many 777, 787 or A350 (though this will change in time). If they’d stuck with P&W their cash-flow would still have dried up as thousands of narrowbodies were grounded.

    They might have predicted Brexit as an outside probability, but not that it would drag on for so long, change into the hardest of hard Brexits and combine synchronously with a surprise worldwide pandemic, nor that oil prices would be so low and look like staying so for a while.

    The stated intention of making thousands of redundancies is not so surprising.

    • The reality on the A380 program was that GE was beating them and badly in SFC terms. There was no evidence sans the airlines that had always used RR that the GP was not going to be the choice.

      I would call the A380 improved Trent 900 stupid vs erroneous as their own engineers would have told them it was impossible.

      Clark knew better as well, so two entities throwing pure BS around is pretty amazing, but plainly stupidity.

      Boeing made no indication that RR had an opening on the 777X. I believe the exclusive GE has on the 777 also covered it.

      The GenX did not have a blade problem. It had a coating problem (and agreed one that bad has to have its own story of insanity to it).

      As I read it GE always had a lead though both were short of SFC in specs.

      To say it wold not make any difference is bizzare. RR was poor on the 787 to start with as it was at least a 60-40 split in favor of GE before the issues.

      They have lost 3 or 4 billion over that debacle. If the Airbus reports are right, the A330NEO has cost them more engines as airlines don’t trust it.

      So they have an A330NEO exclusives and all the money they put into the Trent 10 is wasted as its both as bad as the 1000 and is the basis for the bleed air Trent 7000.

      Brexit has not impact on RR, its only real sales now are to Airbus and either they have no presences (A220/320 series) or they have exclusive.

      Their one area of success is the preferred RR on the A330CEO but those are wound down and its the A330MRT which is low numbers.

      RR mirrors the disaster that is Boeing these days. With the engine failures there easily cold have been a couple of crashes on the 787. (one quits and the other goes to max stress) – pax are beyond fortunate.

      What has been amazing is they have stated 3 or 4 times they have a handle on it, their models have it predicted for safe and then another engine failed inside the so called safe zone.

      Anyone that says EASA is better than the FAA ignores the fact the engine should have been grounded.

      Their patch was to have a new engine with a bad engine and hope both did not fail. Ugly thought process.

      Covd put evero9ne in the same boat financially so that is a wash.

      • The T1000TEN is have a HPT stg1 blade life problem, the T1000 B/C had other problems that was solved on the TEN, still the combination of its problems together with limited engine shop capability around the world as RR did not want independent shops to maintan its engines created the problems its airline customers had to endure for a extended time. Hopefully will RR learn and make sure future engines will be as successful as the T-XWB and let independent shops compete for MRO work on RR engines. It will help RR with 1000’s of MRO shop repair suggestions, PMA parts and DER repair driving their engines to be more cost effective. Now it is easy for RR to throw in new hardware from the productoin line instead of qualifying advanced repairs on expensive parts and help MRO shops master them.

  14. Both RR & GE made bad choices & both got burned.

    – RR ignoring GTF, leaving AIE & T1000 troubles.
    – GE ignoring GTF & putting all eggs in Boeings basket.

    Pratt is the dark horse. They came from far behind but now are on NEO, E2, A220 & F35 and matured GTF technology.

    GE tries to get on the Airbus 330, which might be a win for both.

    • RR at least has a GTF program, successful yet or not.

      GE is not burned yet but down the road?

      You miss that GE has a full lock on 737MAX (its still going to be built in numbers) the CFM engine pay backs as well as about 50% going the A320.

      They have great numbers on the 787 as they are in the 65% range and probably going to close to 100%. That is a bright spot going forward.

      While the 747-8 is probably in its wind down, they still have 600 engines on that program that are GenX.

      They are doing well in turbines (won the Army upgraded engine ) and they are powering a large number of jet fighters and the F-15 and FA-18 have been given new life due to the F-35 debacle.

      I doubt they will get on the A330 or A350. P&W might as they can offer an architecture that gives a huge boost SFC. Wiht its MTU and Japanese partners they have a very solid organization to do so.

      While the GTF has had its issues on the C series (now A220) as well as the A320 (it was the lead engine there) Airbus has hands on with their response.

      I don’t see P&W having thrown any spin, its been, yes its an issue, we have to fix it and have. Behind them is the IAE organization sans RR. While not huge the V2500 was solid numbers.

      GE big issue is the future and GTF and they do need to get in gear (love those puns!)

  15. Civil Large Engine part of Rolls-Royce is in extremely difficult position right now. As a business it is not breaking even. In the current crisis up to 30-40% of the staff in Derby, UK headquarters, is to be laid off. No perspectives for new CLE engine developments for the next decade (let’s forget Ultrafan). Quickly loosing technical expertise, Rolls-Royce plc. will struggle to stay competitive, which is well demonstrated by T1000/7000 issues.

    Without a prompt support from UK government to match French aerospace rescue package, Rolls-Royce will be cut of from the future market soon. Opportunity window will close in a very few years in Europe, as turbo fan development in the current shape has just reached the limit with GE9x and Trent XWB 97k.

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