Rolls-Royce plc finalized its manufacturing joint-venture with the Safran group’s Hispano-Suiza, a company named Aero Gearbox International and announced almost a year ago. The capitalization of the venture has not been announced, but Rolls-Royce noted it is based in a 25-year contract. They plan to manage the operation jointly.
“Rolls-Royce’s market lead in the civil large engine market is built on innovation alongside proven expertise. This joint venture delivers both,” commented Norbert Arndt, Rolls-Royce, executive vice president - Structures and Transmissions.
Safran S.A. manufactures aircraft and rocket engines and various aerospace components and systems. Hispano-Suiza specializes in mechanical, hydraulic and electronic systems for aircraft; the venture with Rolls-Royce will design and produce accessory drive trains (ADTs) for Rolls-Royce civil aircraft engines.
“Accessory drive train transmissions” refers to gearbox 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.
Construction for Aero Gearbox International’s manufacturing plant will begin later this year in southeastern Poland – a region known as Aviation Valley for the number of suppliers located there. Hispano-Suiza has a plant a Sedziszow Maopoloski.
The Aero Gearbox International plant will be in operation by 2017. The joint venture will have 60 employees, initially, but up to 110 once operations are underway.
The partners intend to draw on Hispano-Suiza capabilities in drivetrain design and production, and on Rolls-Royce’s engine design and propulsion system integration skills.
Although the partners have committed to supply ADT 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. The ADT for the Trent 7000 will be one of Aero Gearbox International’s first products.