Rolls-Royce will consider developing an engine for Russia's proposed next-generation single-aisle twinjet, the MS-21, provided the aircraft concept lives up to heightened market expectations.
Work on a refined conceptual vision of the MS-21 has moved into high gear with its design team expected to submit it to the board of Russia's United Aircraft (OAK) in August.
Speaking at an industry event in Moscow, R-R regional director Vladimir Rashchupkin said the project could give OAK a chance to fill a niche in the global market. But to succeed, he added, it should come up with a product that meets prospective customer requirements.
He envisages that the airline industry will expect manufacturers to develop an aircraft offering a 50% improvement in overall fuel efficiency. Achieving it would require a combination of enhanced aerodynamics and uprated engines with a 25% lower fuel burn.
R-R is talking to OAK about the MS-21, with the aim of conveying this vision and identifying technical solutions. "To win the market, [the MS-21] should employ a principally new technology and powerplant," says Rashchupkin.
He adds that if OAK adopts this policy and manages to secure orders for around 200 aircraft, R-R could be a likely bidder for work on the MS-21's engine. Rashchupkin believes there is a window of opportunity as long as neither Airbus nor Boeing have immediate plans to develop a new aircraft to replace A320s and 737s on medium-haul routes.
NPK Irkut, which is leading the MS-21 project, is expected to invite competitive tenders from engine manufacturers in September.