Boeing [NYSE:BA] has selected two engine types, the General Electric GENX and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, for its all-new Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner, an airplane that will provide the world's airlines with exceptional efficiency and environmental performance.
Boeing's decision follows months of collaboration with the leading manufacturers of large commercial airplane engines.
"The General Electric and Rolls-Royce engines will enable the 7E7 to fly higher, faster, farther, cleaner, quieter and more efficiently than comparable airplanes," said 7E7 Senior Vice President Mike Bair. "Having an engine choice is a key consideration for our customers. We're now offering two excellent options for the 7E7."
Both engine types will be capable of providing between 55,000 and 70,000 lbs. of thrust, which will allow the three planned 7E7 models to use the same basic engines.
The 7E7 will reduce fuel use -- and associated emissions -- by 20 percent over today's comparably sized airplanes. The engines are key contributors to the airplane's dramatic efficiency improvements. The engines will also help the 7E7 be significantly quieter than today's airplanes and meet new industry requirements.
"All three engine manufacturers presented exceptional proposals," Bair said. "We reached this major milestone well ahead of our original schedule due to the close collaboration on requirements, capabilities and technologies. While it was a challenging decision, the speed with which we made it is representative of the customer interest and the overall momentum on the 7E7 program."
For the first time in commercial jet history, both engine types will use the same standard interface with the airplane, allowing any 7E7 twinjet to be fitted with either engine at any point in time. Engine interchangeability makes the 7E7 a flexible asset that can easily be moved among carriers, an attractive feature for financiers, leasing companies and airlines. Other 7E7 innovations include the elimination of traditional bleed air systems in favor of an efficient, more-electric architecture.
General Electric's new engine, called the GENX (GE Next Generation), is derived from the ultra-high-thrust GE90 engine, which has a proven track record on twin-engine aircraft. The GENX technologies include composite fan blades, the highest pressure-ratio compressor in aviation, and a unique single-annular combustor (where compressed air and fuel are mixed) to achieve dramatically lower emissions. The GENX will have its first full-engine test in 2006. The engine is being designed and tested at GE Transportation's world headquarters in Evendale, Ohio. Final assembly will occur in Durham, N.C.
"Our engine for the 7E7 represents the culmination of new technologies for which GE has made considerable investments over many years," said David Calhoun, president and CEO of GE Transportation. "Needless to say, this is one of the biggest days in the history of our jet engine business."
Rolls-Royce will produce a new variant of its successful, high-thrust Trent engine series to power the 7E7, the Trent 1000. Designed to deliver optimum performance with minimum development risk, it will be the fifth member of the Trent family to enter service, once again featuring the three-shaft design layout unique to Rolls-Royce. The engine will be the most efficient and environmentally advanced Trent ever built.
Mike Terrett, president of Civil Aerospace for Rolls-Royce, said, "This is a special day in the long and rewarding relationship between our companies. Now, once again, our focus is on bringing a new generation of Trent successfully to market."
Boeing is continuing to receive strong customer support for the 7E7 and has submitted a number of firm contract proposals to airlines. The company expects to launch the new airplane this year.
The 7E7 is a family of three airplanes, all of which will use the same engine type. The baseline version will carry 217 passengers in three-classes of seating with a range of up to 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 kilometers). The shorter-range 7E7 will carry 289 passengers in two-class seating on ranges up to 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 kilometers). The stretch version of the 7E7 will carry 257 passengers in three classes with a range of 8,300 nautical miles (15,400 kilometers).
It is being designed to provide customers with a better flying experience including and improved cabin environment with more room and more conveniences.
GE Transportation, a business unit of General Electric Company, is the world's leading manufacturer of jet engines for civil and military aircraft, including engines produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma Moteurs and GE. GE also manufactures gas turbines, derived from its highly successful jet engine programs, for marine and industrial applications. In addition, GE Aircraft Engines provides comprehensive maintenance support, through its GE Engine Services operation, for GE and non-GE jet engines in service throughout the world.
Rolls-Royce plc operates in four global markets -- civil aerospace, defense aerospace, marine and energy. It is investing in technology and capability that can be exploited in each of these sectors to create a competitive range of products. The company has made rapid and substantial gains in market share over recent years and has a total of 54,000 gas turbines in service. Its customer base includes 500 airlines and 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces and more than 2,000 marine customers, including 50 navies. Energy customers span 120 countries. Income from aftermarket services has increased by 60 percent in the past five years and currently accounts for half the group's revenues.