Rolls-Royce will assemble some commercial jet engines in Singapore and some corporate jet engines, and possibly commercial regional jet engines, in the USA in an effort to be more competitive in the world market.

The UK-based engine marker says in a statement it has decided “to build a new facility in Singapore to assemble and test large civil engines starting with the Trent 1000 for the Boeing 787 and the Trent XWB for the Airbus A350 XWB.”

“Together with its existing UK facility in Derby this will provide the company with a dual sourcing capability for the assembly and testing of large civil engines including new versions of the Trent engine,” it says.

“The new facility will be located in an aerospace park at Seletar”, a secondary airport in the north of Singapore. Singapore Airlines (SIA) is one of Rolls-Royce’s largest airline customers and Rolls-Royce already has an engine maintenance, repair and overhaul centre in Singapore in joint venture partnership with SIA Engineering.

The engine assembly plant “will be fully operational by the end of 2009 [and] will employ up to 330 people depending on customer demand,” says Rolls-Royce which has the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). The EDB is a Singapore Government organisation that lures investment to Singapore and sometimes offers tax breaks.

While Rolls-Royce is building a manufacturing capability in Asia, in North America it is stepping up its presence.

A new “facility in the commonwealth of Virginia will assemble and test RB282s, the engine selected in June by Dassault to power its new midsize corporate jet and potentially the first in a family of small engines for the corporate and regional jet market”, says Rolls-Royce.

It will also “have the capability to undertake blisk manufacture for the F136 engine for the Joint Strike Fighter [and] it will also provide the company with options for future advanced manufacturing activities as opportunities arise”.

The new facility in Virginia’s Prince George County “will be operational by the end of 2009” and will generate up to 500 jobs “assuming the F136 programme proceeds to volume production”, says Rolls-Royce, which has received economic incentives from Virginia and Prince George County.

One reason Rolls-Royce chose to assemble this engine in Virginia is because “90% of corporate aircraft are manufactured in the USA” and the USA is the most significant market for these products.

It also says the move to establish plants outside of the UK will cushion the company against the fall in the US currency. In recent years the US currency has depreciated markedly, particularly against European currencies.

The US dollar has also depreciated against the Singapore dollar but to a far less degree.

In a statement Rolls-Royce stressed that even though it is establishing plants overseas, its plants in the UK – namely Derby and Bristol – will continue.

It says, for example, the RB282’s development and production proving programmes will occur at Bristol.