R-R hopes Pratt's GTF wins out in A320neo sales battle

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Rolls-Royce aims to ensure Pratt & Whitney is "as successful as they possibly can be" in selling PW1100G geared turbofans for the Airbus A320neo.

Its intention follows last year's decision by the two companies to seek regulatory approval to co-operate on next-generation narrowbody engines, says the UK manufacturer's civil aerospace president Mark King.

R-R and P&W announced in October 2011 that they had struck a deal to work together on geared-fan technology, to potentially be incorporated in an open-rotor engine for service-entry in the middle of the next decade.

However, R-R determined it could not make a viable business case for investing in an interim A320neo engine offering through International Aero Engines and agreed to sell its 32.5% stake in the consortium to P&W.

"The best way [P&W] is going to be successful is to be able to go to market with a common face between the V2500 and the [PW1100G] geared turbofan," says King. "That's in our interest because this new venture we've agreed where we're going to work together on geared solutions will benefit from the geared turbofan creating a strong market presence."

Despite some executives in R-R having previously expressed reservations about the wisdom of offering a geared-fan solution for the A320neo, King says the company is fully committed to developing the architecture with P&W.

"We were already working on a geared solution, in the open rotor," says King. "We had already recognised that, as bypass ratios get very big, you have no choice but to put a gearbox between the fan and the turbine that's driving it.

"There is clearly some synergy between the geared turbofan and open rotor and really it's just a question about how bypass ratios increase and at what point you decide to take the casing off and actually open the rotor."

The progressive loss of revenue as IAE's V2500 is phased out of production will be more than offset by the rapid ramp-up in production of the Trent XWB for the A350, says King.

"We can't do anything with Pratt & Whitney until we have regulatory approval, but once we have that our intent would be to sit down with them and agree what is our technology roadmap to be ready for that next-generation single-aisle sometime in the next decade," he says.