Rolls-Royce is studying development of a new two-shaft family of engines to provide an eventual replacement for its BR700, Tay and smaller AE3007 turbofan product lines.
The UK company, along with R-R Deutschland and R-R Allison, is working on a long-term strategy to field a future family of engines, ranging from the 7,000lb-thrust (31kN) class up to 22,000lb thrust. It is intended to position R-R to compete for the next generation of corporate and regional jets and small airliners.
"We know what it is we would do...it's a matter of timing. We're waiting for a viable market opportunity to justify a core development," says Carmen Lloyd, R-R president corporate and regional aircraft. In the interim it is "investing in technology so that when the time comes along we have reduced the risk of making an engine available," he adds.
The company is not planning a full scale demonstrator but rather a series of core and module demonstrations. It will draw on different areas of technology from the UK, Germany and the USA. It would also incorporate developments from other programmes, such as swept fan, hollow blades and single crystal processes.
R-R is understood to be examining a possible family of four to five engines that make use of scalable technology, earlier used to expand the larger Trent family. The new engine would bridge the gap covered by 6,000-8,000lb thrust AE3007, 13,000-15,000lb Tay and 15,000-23,000lb BR700 engines.
Beyond 22,000lb thrust any new engine would fall into the V2500-class, which would have ramifications for R-R's International Aero Engine partnership with Pratt & Whitney. The nearest competitor to an engine family of this size would be the 8,000-17,000lb-thrust General Electric CF34 series.
"We're building on the success of the three-shaft Trent by looking at how best to put together a two shaft strategy and using various areas of excellence within R-R to do so," says Lloyd. The company appears to be steering clear of using a geared fan for now.
Industry sources suggest the initial application for any new powerplant is likely to come from Bombardier, which will eventually require a successor to its Challenger business jet and the derivative 50-seat CRJ200. "We're staying in touch with airframers on our strategy," says Lloyd.
Source: Flight International