Rolls-Royce Plc announced a £150-million (est. $195 million) program of capital investments to double its jet-engine production capacity in England, a program necessitated by its record volume of orders from civilian aircraft builders. Rolls noted the investment is “underpinned” by agreements with union representatives and will help to retain over 7,000 jobs.
Most of the capital will be directed to build a new test bed for large jet engines like the Trent XWB at the Rolls Civil Aerospace manufacturing and technology campus in Derby.
“This investment comes at a time of unprecedented growth in Rolls-Royce. We are doubling the production of new engines at the same time as introducing three new engines to the market,” stated Eric Schulz, president – Civil Aerospace.
Rolls did not specify the schedules for its various plans, but indicated the investments will be made “over the next few years.”
The new test bed will be available for testing a range of engines, including the Trent XWB, described by Rolls as “the world’s fastest selling civil large engine with over 1,600 on order from 45 customers.” The Trent XWB is the power plant for the Airbus A350 XWB, and each one carries an estimated cost of $35 million.
In addition to manufacturing and maintenance, the Derby complex is the design and development center for three new engines: the Trent XWB-97, which will power the Airbus A350-1000; the Trent 1000 TEN, for all three variants of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner; and the Trent 7000, for the Airbus A330neo.
Other engine programs affected by the new investments include the Trent 700 (for Airbus A330 jets) and Trent 900 (for Airbus A380 aircraft) engines, both also centered in Derby.
Rolls also plans to update its large engine Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) operation in Derby, as engine manufacturing plants in Derby and Hucknall. And, it committed to retain the Precision Machining Facility in Derby, which previously it announced would be closed.
“With this investment, we are creating the capacity and flexibility to deliver on our goals, while committing to sustain employment in the U.K.,” according to Schuz, “and I would like to thank the unions for their support in delivering this important package of investment.”