Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney form new next-gen engine partnership

The two engine manufacturers will establish a joint venture company to develop new engines for the next generation of aircraft that will replace the existing mid-size fleet. The companies also are changing their participation in International Aero Engines (IAE).

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Aircraft engine manufacturers Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney on Oct. 12 announced an agreement to form a new partnership to power future mid-size aircraft (120 to 230 passengers). The two companies will establish a joint venture company, in which each will hold an equal share, to develop new engines for the next generation of aircraft that will replace the existing mid-size fleet.  Worldwide demand for new aircraft is expected to reach 20,000 (or nearly 45,000 engines) over the next 20 years.

This new joint venture will focus on high bypass ratio geared turbofan technology. In addition, the venture will collaborate on future studies for next-generation propulsion systems, including advanced geared engines, open rotor technology and other advanced configurations.

The new collaboration brings together complementary technological resources and is designed to offer the best, most competitive response to customer demand for the next-generation powerplant in the mid-size segment. Japanese Aero Engine Corp. (JAEC) and MTU Aero Engines (MTU), partners of IAE and the PurePower PW1100G-JM (Geared Turbofan) program for the Airbus A320 New Engine Option (neo), also intend to join the new collaboration.

As well as establishing the new partnership, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney will restructure their participation in International Aero Engines (IAE), which produces the V2500 engine for the A320 family of aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement Rolls-Royce will sell its equity and program shares in IAE to Pratt & Whitney for $1.5 billion and in addition receive an agreed payment for each hour flown by the current installed fleet of V2500-powered aircraft for 15 years from completion of the transaction.

Rolls-Royce says it remains committed to IAE and its customers and will continue to be responsible for the manufacture of high-pressure compressors, fan blades and discs as well as the provision of engineering support and final assembly of 50 percent of V2500 engines.

“Today’s announcement charts a clear course for the future of Rolls-Royce in the important mid-size aircraft segment” said Mark King, president - Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce. “We are building on many years of successful collaboration with Pratt & Whitney in this segment to develop advanced aero engines, which we are confident will set new standards in aviation technology, performance and fuel efficiency.”

In addition, Rolls-Royce will make a modest financial investment in the PurePower® PW1100G-JM (Geared Turbofan™) engine for the Airbus A320 New Engine Option (neo) program.