By Sarah Young
DERBY, England Feb 26 British engineering
company Rolls-Royce has outlined plans designed to
maintain long-term dominance in large aircraft engines,
showcasing two new models that could improve efficiency by up to
Rolls-Royce warned this month that U.S. and European defence
cuts mean that a decade of profit growth will come to an end
this year, sending its shares sharply down and providing added
incentive to refocus investor attention on the company's
Soaring demand for more fuel-efficient engines for aircraft
made by Europe's largest aerospace group Airbus and its
U.S. rival Boeing has helped Rolls-Royce's civil
aerospace division, which generates about half of its sales, to
drive the company's strong run over the past decade.
That appetite shows no signs of slowing. Over the next 20
years the world will need to double its fleet of aircraft as
cities expand and Asia's increasingly affluent middle class
takes to the skies, Airbus forecast in September, adding that
airlines, leasing companies and cargo operators would need a
total of 29,226 new passenger and freighter jets worth $4.4
Rolls-Royce, a major British exporter founded in 1884, has
responded with Wednesday's unveiling of the new Advance and
The Advance could be ready to enter service by 2020, it
said, bringing efficiency improvements of up to 6 percent on its
Trent WXB engine, which will be powering planes later this year.
At its headquarters in Derby, central England, Rolls-Royce
unveiled the lightweight Advance's carbon-titanium fan blades,
suspended from the roof of one of the huge kerosene-smelling
hangars scattered around the vast site. The blades will be
attached to a core smaller than the Trent model's before the
engine is put through its paces over the coming years.
Among the tests to be conducted is the simulated bird
strike, in which dozens of frozen birds are fired at the blades
at high speeds to assess the durability of this crucial engine
The Ultrafan engine, which differs from the Advance in that
it will incorporate a gear system, could be ready to be attached
to aircraft by 2025 and is expected to be about 10 percent more
efficient than the Trent XWB.
Rolls-Royce, which describes the Trent XWB as the world's
most efficient engine to date, said it is confident of demand
for its new products from Airbus and Boeing.
"To some degree we've already started these conversations
with the air-framers as part of our normal discussions around
future requirements," Simon Carlisle, executive vice-president
of strategy and future technology, told reporters.
The world's second-largest manufacturer of aircraft engines
of all sizes, behind U.S. group General Electric, said
that its civil aerospace business could also seek further growth
by utilising its large-engine know-how to move into supplying
In the meantime, Rolls is aiming to exploit additional
opportunities with its biggest civil aerospace customer, Airbus.
"We are having very live discussions with them." said Eric
Schulz, head of civil large engine operations.
"If Airbus decides to go for a re-engine of the A330 or A380
(passenger jets), we will be here to support," he added,
referring to the possibility that the French company could seek
different engines for existing aircraft.
Schulz also said that an ongoing investigation by Britain's
anti-fraud watchdog into Rolls-Royce's dealings in Asia has not
"Our customers are confident that the management of this
company has the right level of ethics, has the right level of
processes and governance in place," he said.