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Rolls-Royce delays Trent 1000 TEN blade fix to 2021

Rolls-Royce is to delay introduction of a redesigned high-pressure blade for the Trent 1000 TEN, after discovering that it will not be as durable as initially expected.

The Boeing 787 engine manufacturer says that the revised blade is "unlikely" to be ready before the first half of 2021.

Rolls-Royce says it has carried out a detailed technical evaluation of the high-pressure turbine design which it had intended to introduce in early 2020.

But it has found that it "will not deliver a sufficient level of enhanced durability", and says that it is assuming a "prudent" timeframe which pushes back readiness of an improved blade design to 2021.

The manufacturer has re-examined its financial and operational expectations for the Trent 1000 TEN, using a "more conservative" durability estimate.

"This estimate is lower than our initial target but sufficient to meet the needs of our customers," it adds. Rolls-Royce says it allows the company to update forecasts of future maintenance shop visits and costs.

It describes the delay to the Trent 1000 TEN blade redesign as "regrettable" and, in response, it is shoring up its capabilities to deal with the continuing blade problems on the in-service fleet.

Rolls-Royce will increase its stock of spare engines and speed up expansion of its maintenance network.

It is transforming part of its Dahlewitz and Montreal facilities into service hubs for Trent 1000s, in order to provide near-term overhaul capacity, and it has obtained access to another testbed in Dallas. The company will also invest in further capacity at London Heathrow and Derby.

The manufacturer adds that it will "step up" its investment in engineering to support the specialist team which is focusing on resolving the final design "challenges" with the powerplant.

"We aim to offset the significant majority of this capital expenditure as we reprioritise spend and deliver savings elsewhere," says Rolls-Royce.

The manufacturer is still aiming to bring the aircraft-on-ground situation down to "single-digit levels" by the end of the second quarter of 2020.

Rolls-Royce has been trying to cope with three significant problems, which have affected all three versions of its Trent 1000 – the Package B and C engines plus the TEN – giving a total of nine issues to address.

It says that it has designed eight fixes for these nine problems, and seven of them have been certified and are undergoing implementation. The redesigned Trent 1000 TEN high-pressure turbine blade is the "final modification" required, insists the company.

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