Rolls-Royce withdraws from NMA bid

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw February 28, 2019 15:24

Rolls-Royce withdraws from NMA bid

Rolls-Royce has announced today that the company has decided to withdraw from the current competition to power Boeing’s proposed middle of the market – or New Midsize Airplane (NMA) – platform. In a statement Rolls-Royce said that although it believes the platform “complements Boeing’s existing product range, we are unable to commit to the proposed timetable to ensure we have a sufficiently mature product which supports Boeing’s ambition for the aircraft and satisfies our own internal requirements for technical maturity at entry into service”.

Rolls-Royce had proposed its UltraFan engine for the programme. UltraFan is a scalable jet engine design that is planned to be suitable for widebody or narrowbody aircraft and is aimed to offer a 25% fuel efficiency improvement over the first-generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines. Although Rolls-Royce has successfully run tests of the new architecture that sits within the core of the engine through the Advance3 demonstrator, as well as the power gearbox and composite fan blade system, the company says that the meeting Boeing’s timetable would have required accelerating the demonstrator programme. By withdrawing from the process, Rolls-Royce says that it will have a “high confidence in engine maturity towards the end of the next decade”.

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, President – Civil Aerospace, said: “This is the right decision for Rolls-Royce and the best approach for Boeing. Delivering on our promises to customers is vital to us and we do not want to promise to support Boeing’s new platform if we do not have every confidence that we can deliver to their schedule.”

We have made a clear commitment to our customers that we will deliver on our current engine programmes. At the same time, we remain committed to the development of new technologies and will continue to mature and de-risk our next generation UltraFan engine architecture in preparation for future applications.

Cholerton added: “UltraFan is the foundation of our future large civil aero engine programmes and we must ensure that it has as smooth an entry into service as possible. We had begun its development before the Boeing opportunity emerged and it must undergo a rigorous testing regime before we offer it to customers, which we do not believe can be achieved within the NMA timeframe. Withdrawing at this stage will enable Boeing to structure the final part of the competition in a way that best suits them and we hope and expect to work with Boeing on other new opportunities in the future.”

Lauren Eldershaw
By Lauren Eldershaw February 28, 2019 15:24