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Rolls-Royce 'confident' XWB will not suffer Trent 1000 issues

Rolls-Royce is confident that its Trent XWB powerplant for the Airbus A350 will not be afflicted by similar technical problems which have emerged on the Trent 1000.

The A350 family is exclusively powered by the Trent XWB – the -900 variant is fitted with the XWB-84 and the larger -1000 has the higher-thrust XWB-97.

Speaking during the delivery of the first A350-1000 to Qatar Airways, newly-appointed Rolls-Royce civil aerospace chief Chris Cholerton said the XWB engine had "performed superbly" over the three years since service entry.

Cholerton was the programme director for the XWB-84 and says the engine has completed 1.3 million flight hours, around 25% of which were with Qatar Airways.

This shows the powerplant has "demonstrated that reliability in some pretty arduous environments", he says, putting dispatch reliability at 99.9%.

While acknowledging the difficulties experienced by some operators of Trent 1000 engines on Boeing 787s, relating to compressor blade durability, Cholerton says he has "very high confidence" that the Trent XWB will not face similar or related issues.

He says that the XWB has a different architecture, and adds: "[The] magnitude of testing, the magnitude of experience we have, and the experience to date in the fleet – of those 1.3 million flying hours – has been exceptional."

For the -1000 the XWB-97 incorporates an improved, higher-speed fan, a larger core, and new materials and coatings for protection.

The manufacturer ran 10 XWB-97 development engines over 3.5 years, exposing them to extreme conditions in five countries, and logging over 11,000 simulated flight cycles, as well as 1,600h of flight tests.

Cholerton claims the XWB has "set a new record for reliability" for entry into service of a large commercial air transport engine. Rolls-Royce says the engine type accounts for about 40% of its order book.

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