Long-running negotiations between Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) and Rolls-Royce on a Japanese risk sharing stake in the Trent 500 and 8140 turbofans have taken on renewed impetus, with the hope of an agreement being reached in time for the Farnborough air show to be held in early September.

KHI has confirmed that it has re-opened discussions with R-R about taking an as yet undisclosed stake in the development and production of the 56,000-62,000lb-thrust (249-276kN) Trent 500 engine which will power the new A340-500/600. Talks are understood also to include the larger 102,000lb-thrust Trent 8104 turbofan and the Japanese manufacturer taking an overall share of around 5%.

KHI already has close to a 4% stake in R-R's Trent 700, 800 and RB211-524. Its Trent 500 work package will be similar, notably the low-pressure turbine discs, nozzle guide vanes and casing. Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI), which also has a 5% interest in the RB211, is discussing a similar stake in the Trent 500 and 8104.

Negotiations stalled earlier in the year over the issue of the Trent 500 and 8104 being packaged with the 63,000-68,000lb-thrust Trent 600. KHI sources say there are no plans to invest in the Trent 600, which is regarded as being too far in the future to assess a business case. Japanese trading house Marubeni has already announced a 5% investment in the Trent 500.

Local industry observers suggest that KHI's reluctance to back the Trent 600 is intended to try to maintain a "balance between Europe and the USA".

The R-R engine, which is intended to power 767-400 and future 747-400 growth derivatives, would compete directly with General Electric & Pratt & Whitney powerplants.

KHI, along with IHI and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, have all invested in the PW4000 engine series. IHI, in addition, has recently indicated that it intends to take 10% of GE's 50% share in the planned GP7200 engine development with P&W.

Source: Flight International