This is the first Farnborough for Colin Green since becoming Managing Director of the Rolls-Royce Aerospace Group on 30 April. He spoke to Alan Dron on industry trends and the future of his company.


Q: You took up your present position after a year as vice-president, business operations, at Allison Engines. Did you find a markedly different business philosophy or mindset on the other side of the Atlantic?

A: I was more impressed by the similarity rather than the difference. That's partly because aerospace is global. What we've learned from Allison is that they're faster than Rolls-Royce in areas such as implementation of change. The US workforce appears to be more responsive to the need for change.


Q: What are your most immediate tasks and priorities?

A: We have to accelerate that process of change - a little less debate after the event. Have the debate before the decision is made. We need to continue to develop our people's skills and capabilities to meet changing customer requirements, notably the ‘extended product', not just the simple hardware. Finally, the growing importance of joint ventures has to be recognised and dealt with.


Q: Where do you see the industry in 10 years' time?

A: I still foresee the ‘Big Three' engine manufacturers, but each major will have a family of firms with which it routinely teams. We see three family groups, with two of the three teaming on a project. It's not inconceivable that all three could team on a particularly complex project.


Q: What are the chances of two of the Big Three joining forces permanently?

A: I don't really see a merger in the near term - but who knows? I don't think I would have predicted a teaming between Lockheed and Martin.


Q: Do you see the consolidation of the aviation industry having far to run?

A: Yes, I think there's further rationalisation to go, both on the airframe side and weapon system providers. The Lockheed Martin merger, now including Loral is one, as is the BAe - Matra tie-up.


Q: Given that latter example, do you foresee more European co-operative efforts for Rolls-Royce?

A: Well, there's already the Eurojet consortium producing the EJ200 for the Eurofighter EF2000 and it's worth pointing out we already have a programme with SNECMA, the Advanced Military Engine Technology project, which has been going for about two years. That's a technical acquisition and development programme for a new combat engine for the 2015-25 time frame. It's very conceivable this will develop into a production requirement.


Q: What developments do you see in the field of emerging technologies?

A: We're going to see a progressive selective use of non-metallics and metal matrix materials. I know we've been saying that for a long time, but eventually the inherent strength of ceramics will find its way into production engines. What's holding us back is production cost and inspectability, both in terms of new manufacture and in operation.


Q: To what extent were you hit by the demise of Fokker, to whom you supplied Tays?

A: Probably less than you would initially imagine. Firstly because the receiver has maintained limited build-out of the F100 and F70, and secondly, because we also produce the Tay for the Gulfstream GIV, and that's continuing to sell extremely well. There are still prospects for Fokker to emerge under new ownership. Demand for the product is still there.


Q: What do you like most about the Farnborough air show?

A: I think it's still the premier air show and the most international in its flavour. Paris is still very French. But the food's better in Paris, and the girls are prettier.





Source: Flight Daily News