‘Rolls-Royce keen to partner India for developing combat engines with IP rights’

April 09, 2023 12:00 am | Updated 05:44 am IST

U.K. government and company working together very closely to develop small modular reactors, a clean energy solution which can combat climate change by delivering cost-competitive, scalable net zero power for multiple applications, says the firm’s India, South Asia president

In February, Tata’s Air India placed an order for 840 aircraft, including 40 A350-900/1000 aircraft from Airbus. With this, Rolls-Royce bagged its biggest-ever order for Trent XWB-97 engines which will power the A350-1000 aircraft. The Trent XWB-84 engines will power the Airbus A350-900s, says India & South Asia president Kishore Jayaraman. Excerpts:

How significant is Air India’s engine order for Rolls Royce as a firm?

It is a very significant part of Rolls Royce, it is the largest-of-its-kind order for Rolls Royce anywhere globally. It is the largest wide-body order in India by far.

This is the first time that an Indian airline has ordered the Trent XWB [engines] and the deal will make Air India the largest operator of the Trent XWB -97 in the world.

With a 15% fuel consumption advantage over the first generation Trent engine, the Trent XWB goes further on less fuel, and offers leading performance and noise levels. It is also ready to operate on a 50% sustainable aviation fuel blend.

How are you gearing up to execute the order?

We received an order from Air India for 68 Trent XWB-97 engines, plus options for 20 more. Air India has also ordered 12 Trent XWB-84, engines, the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900. These are in the production factory. Six aircraft need to be delivered before the end of this year. So, we’ll have to make sure that engines are in place before that.

Are you reducing the carbon footprint?

It’s a good question. We have signed up to the U.N. Net Zero chapter, so by 2050, we will be net zero, all our products, all our services, all our factories, everything we do will be net zero. That’s Rolls Royce’s promise. This year it is going to be sustainable alternative fuels (SAF). All our products will be SAF compatible by 2023.

We flew the first electric aircraft, it reached a speed limit of about 350 miles per hour, a speed record. For an all-electric [aircraft], we are looking at battery technology.

Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines will power the first-ever net zero transatlantic flight from the U.K. this year using 100% SAF.

How is Rolls-Royce contributing to India?

Ours is the original Make- in-India story which started over 60 years ago with Rolls-Royce partnering with HAL for whole engine technology transfer, and Rolls-Royce engines have been manufactured in India since then. We continue to build on this relationship to deliver service excellence and supply chain capabilities.

Rolls-Royce is keen to partner India for combat engine developmentwith a co-creation model that ensures Intellectual Property (IP) forthis critical technologyis created and owned in India. With technological know-how resting within the country, India could position itself as a strong supplier to the global market.

What is the next big thing happening?

When we talk about climate change, Small Modular Reactors play a very important role. The U.K. government and Rolls- Royce are working together very closely to develop a product, which would be approximately 400 megawatts. I think that’s the future of sustainable power generation.

(Read the full interview at https://bit.ly/3mdAjjR)

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