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Rolls-Royce outlines view of next-generation engines

Rolls-Royce envisages developing a new smaller engine based on core demonstrator applications being run in Germany, but is vague on plans to commit the powerplant to potential re-engined offerings from Airbus and Boeing.

Speaking at the annual ISTAT aircraft appraisers in Orlando, R-R civil aerospace president Mark King said he is convinced the market should see a new small engine from the company after 2015.

King said the new engine might power a re-engined aircraft. But he hopes to see the new powerplant on a new airframe: "[You] have to look at the whole system front to back [to take advantage of new technology]," he said.

Further out, King said R-R believes open rotor technology is a potential game-changer. The company has completed three sets of wind testing of open rotor technology in conjunction with airframers and is convinced that noise issues associated with the engine are "definitely addressable", although King admitted that challenges remain in integrating the engine to an aircraft.

King declined to commit on a specific time period for the introduction of open rotor technology until aircraft manufacturers decide on a configuration for the engine. At that point, said King, R-R could explain "what our open rotor configuration would look like".

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