The UK government is to provide Rolls-Royce with £200 million ($330 million) of funding over four years to enable the UK manufacturer to launch three variants of its Trent turbofan. R-R says that the Government will receive a commercial return which is based on sales of the three engine derivatives.

The company has committed itself to develop the 463kN (104,000lb)-thrust derivative of the Trent 800, the 8104, for the Boeing 777-200/300X; the 236-276kN Trent 500 for the Airbus A340-500/600; and the 289kN Trent 600, which will have applications on the proposed growth versions of the Boeing 747-400, and the stretched 767-400ER.

R-R was selected by Airbus as sole engine supplier in June when it announced the go-ahead for its ultra-long-range and stretched A340-500/600 models. Airbus has since signed up Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada and EVA Air as launch customers.

R-R's decision to launch the Trent 8104 comes as General Electric has decided not to develop a higher-thrust GE90 engine for 777 growth versions.

R-R signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing in August covering the development to meet a 777-200X entry-in-service date of September 2000.

Source: Flight International