Rolls-Royce is accelerating the manufacturing work on the initial test batch of the Trent XWB-97 variant for the A350-1000 in parallel to the production ramp-up of the Trent XWB-84 engine for A350-900.
The XWB-97 is the highest thrust production engine ever developed by Rolls-Royce, and made its first ground test run in mid-July.
The engine, which will be rated at 97,000 lb. thrust, has “run to 99,000 lb. thrust and will go above that before it gets certificated,” said XWB program director Simon Burr. “Three other test engines are in build. The 1st is in horizontal build and will run shortly, the 2nd is in final assembly and the 3rd in module build.”
Rolls-Royce has also begun the assembly of the 1st engine destined to fly on the Airbus A380 flying testbed today 26/Dec, and expects the unit to become airborne early in the 3Q/2015.
The first 8 flight-engines, and possibly more than that, will run through a pre-production line specially established to iron out any initial manufacturing and assembly issues without interrupting the flow of XWB-84 engines. The flight test engines will be delivered later in 2015 in the build-up to first flight of the A350-1000 in 2016.
Externally identical to the 84,000 lb. thrust XWB-84, the XWB-97 is designed to power the 679,000 lb. maximum take-off weight A350-1000 on ranges up to 8,400 naut. mi.
This will have to be achieved with the same efficiency of the baseline engine, using the same 118 in. diameter fan and external nacelle packaging.
Around 150 hours of total test time have so far been amassed on the first engine says Burr. “So there is a huge amount to do, but we have made a good start.”
“The next engine will be fully instrumented,” says Burr.
Additional engines will be used for type testing, icing, cross wind and water ingestion work.
Although building on the XWB-84 foundation, the coming tests will focus initially on the newer design aspects of the XWB-97, specifically the higher flow fan which turns 6% faster than the -84 and pumps more air.
The XWB-97 is also designed with a 5% larger core and higher temperature capability as well as unshrouded high pressure turbine blades.