Last year, the Airbus A350 XWB took to the air for the first time. Eleven months later, Rolls-Royce announces that the first production Trent XWB turbofan engine that powers the plane has left the factory and is on its way to Toulouse, France to be installed in a Qatar Airways A350 XWB. According to Rolls-Royce, Qatar airways has ordered 80 of the aircraft and the “world's most efficient aero engine” engine is the first of 1,600 ordered worldwide by 40 airlines around the world.
The result of almost a decade of parallel development, the Trent XWB was designed specially for the A350 XWB and is the sixth generation Rolls-Royce Trent engine. Taking to the air for the first time in June of last year, it’s already undergone extensive field testing in Bolivia, the UAE, and Canada for high altitude, hot weather, and cold weather performance respectively.
The three-shaft turbofan packs a lot of power behind its 3-m (118-in) fan. According to Rolls-Royce, it punches out 50,000 bhp for a takeoff thrust of up to 430 kN (97,000 ft-lb) as 1,440 kg (3,170 lb) of air flows through the engine every second. The company compares the force on a fan blade at takeoff to a freight train weighing almost 1,000 lb hanging off of each of the 68 turbine blades.
But the Trent XWB’s main selling point is its efficiency, burning fuel at 2,000⁰ C (3,600⁰ F), Rolls-Royce says that the XWB has a 16 percent advantage over the first Trent engines of 1995 and is 10 percent more efficient than the previous generation of engines. The company estimates it will give customers US$2.5 million in fuel savings per plane, per year.
"This is an exciting moment for all of us, and marks the first of many Trent XWB deliveries for service," said Chris Young, Rolls-Royce, Trent XWB Programme Director. "When we reach peak production in 2017 we will be delivering a Trent XWB every working day."