Rolls-Royce has reached an impasse in its negotiations with Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) on taking a risk-sharing stake in the development and production of the new Trent 500/600/8104 engine series.

The two Japanese manufacturers had hoped to sign memoranda of understanding with R-R for each to take a 4-6% stake in the new Trent developments. Uncertainty over the future status of the Trent 600 and 8104 is causing KHI and IHI to adopt a "wait-and-see policy".

While the Trent 500 has already been launched with the go-ahead of the Airbus A340-500/600 programme, the other two more powerful derivative members of the Trent family await launch platforms. The 280-303kN (63-68,000lb)-thrust Trent 600 is targeted as an alternative engine for the new Boeing 767-400 or future 747-400 growth development, while the 454kN 8104 is intended for the now-delayed 777-200/300X derivatives

R-R is discussing a Japanese investment in the three engines as a single package, and KHI and IHI accordingly want to see a business case for the Trent 600 and 8104, as well as for the 500. There is also a suggestion that Japanese industry is politically reluctant to back the European-built A340-500/600 without a balancing commitment to a competing US development.

Sources confirm that a decision on Japanese participation is expected by March. KHI and IHI had planned to take part on the now-delayed Trent 900 programme and have smaller stakes in the Trent 700/800 and RB.211-524 series.

Source: Flight International