Rolls-Royce Holdings has formed a new joint venture with Hispano-Suiza, an operating unit of the French aerospace group Safran, and together they will design, manufacture, and support accessory drive train transmissions (ADT) for all future Rolls-Royce civil aircraft engines. The project was introduced via a letter of understanding last summer, and now the two firms indicate a new manufacturing plant will be built in some low-cost market, starting up late in 2016 or early 2017.
Together, they noted the new company would build on their combined experience and expertise: Rolls’ engine design and propulsion system integration; Hispano-Suiza’s design and production of accessory drive transmissions.
“Accessory drive train transmissions” refers to gear box units that, while not part of a turbine engine’s main power system, draw power from a main drive to supply other functions, for example, fuel pumps.
While the partners aim to cover all types of civilian aircraft (“from business jets to wide-body commercial jets”) their announcement identified particularly the new Airbus A330neo wide-body jet program, for which Rolls-Royce’s Trent 7000 turbofan model is the exclusive engine option.
Rolls and Safran will hold 50% shares in the unnamed new company, which they earlier explained would have activities in France, Germany, and the U.K., as well as the new plant at a location to be determined. The headquarters will be in France.
The value of the two partners’ investments has not been indicated, but it will have about 180 employees to start, including staff from its parent companies.
"With each parent company contributing its world-class skills to this joint venture, we have taken a major step forward in performance," stated Norbert Arndt, executive vice president for Rolls-Royce Structures and Transmissions. "Our aim is to meet the requirements of our customers, both aircraft-makers and airlines, by giving them outstanding, cost-competitive products."