Airbus has opted to switch engine supplier for its new Beluga XL specialised transporter, selecting Rolls-Royce Trent 700s for the aircraft.
While the current Beluga fleet, based on the A300 airframe, is fitted with General Electric CF6 powerplants, the Beluga XL will be developed from the A330.
Rolls-Royce has become increasingly prominent on the A330 programme and will be the exclusive supplier of engines – through its Trent 7000 – on the new A330neo.
Airbus is creating the Beluga XL to supplement, and eventually replace, the current five-strong transporter fleet, used by the airframer to move large aircraft sections between production facilities.
Rolls-Royce has confirmed the Trent 700 selection and adds that the $700 million agreement includes long-term maintenance support.
Beluga XL programme head Bertrand George says the powerplant is “ideally suited” to the new aircraft.
Airbus is aiming to put the XL into service in 2019. It is intended to assist particularly with the ramp-up of A350 production.