The battle between GE and Rolls-Royce for overall supremacy in the Boeing 7E7 engine selection contest looks likely to dwarf most, if not all, previous transatlantic powerplant squabbles.

The two chosen engines, GE's GENX (pictured) and Rolls-Royce's Trent 1000, will be similar enough for full interchangeability within a matter of hours - but that is where the understanding ends.

If you thought that previous 'engine wars' got a tad vicious, as the lyric says: 'You ain't seen nothing yet.' Especially as the makers have neither revealed their risk sharing partners, nor where on the globe they're situated, other than Japan, Japan and maybe... Japan. Rolls-Royce drew first blood with orders from Air New Zea-land, but for only two shipsets. The pleasure of being in pole position on the 7E7 grid was undoubtedly enhanced because ANZ's entire widebody fleet (bar three Boeing 747-400s) is powered by GE.

With four confirmed airline customers ordering 62 7E7s, the prize for victory in the battle of the engine makers is worth winning already - and likely to be hugely more valuable in late summer/early autumn, by which time Boeing hopes to have many more firm orders on the books.


And then there will be a launch customer and a launch engine - unless, as one wag has suggested, 'interchangeability' runs to having a GENX on the left wing and a Trent 1000 on the right.

Although both the GENX and the Trent 1000 are all-electric bleed-free engines, that's where the similarities end. Rolls-Royce's Trent-derived offering features the type's three-shaft design layout while the GE engine has composite fan blades and what the company claims is "the highest pressure-ratio compressor in aviation".

Source: Flight Daily News