General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce are all bidding for a place on the A330-200F with current or upgraded versions of existing powerplants already used on the Airbus twinjet.
Airbus is yet to finalise which engine will be the lead offering on the newly launched A330F, and says it will be dependent on customer selection.
GE, which says it has discussed possible applications on the A330 of the advanced technology GEnx, now in final development for the Boeing 787 and 747-8, says proposals are now focused on the CF6-80E1. It says "GE has responded to the request for proposals on the A330F and is continuing to provide technical data".
Flight International understands that plans for the potential GEnx application are thought to have foundered over cost and complexity of adapting the engine to the A330 wing and strut.
P&W and R-R appear more enthusiastic about the new aircraft, with the latter, which is market leader on the A330 passenger models, understood to be pushing to be lead engine supplier. It is proposing the Trent 772B which, at the Airbus-calculated (static) equivalent thrust rating, produces 71,400lb (320kN) and is therefore the highest power setting currently available on the A330. "Any sensible improvements that can enhance the performance will be incorporated," says R-R.
Airbus says customer selection will lead engine choice for the freighter
P&W sees the A330F as an early opportunity to introduce its upgraded Advantage 70 package on the PW4168A engine, currently powering the baseline passenger model. "We are working closely with Airbus to understand their requirements and offer the best product for that application. The PW4000-100 is the most experienced engine for the A330, and we continue to invest in technology upgrades for this product."
P&W, which first unveiled details of its "Advantage 70" upgrade package for the PW4168A in February 2006, expects the improvements to reduce fuel burn by up to 1.2% as well as lower overall operating costs by as much as 20%. The engine maker plans to introduce the package from the end of 2008 on new-build engines as well as upgrades, and appears optimistic the "Advantage 70" initiative could help win it a launch engine deal on the new freighter version.
The package includes high-pressure (HP) compressor ring case and HP turbine durability improvements to cut maintenance costs. There is a new second-stage HPT vane, and improved thermal barrier coatings with half the conductivity of the current material. The first stage vane is also strengthened for longer life, and the turbine will be fitted with more durable outer seals. There is also a new software load for the full authority digital engine control.