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Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Rolls-Royce looks to Japan for new midsize Airbus


Rolls-Royce has approached Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan to develop an engine for Airbus' next-generation midsize passenger jet, the two Japanese companies said yesterday.

The British firm has approached Kawasaki Heavy Industries about a possible project to co-develop engines for A350 XWB aircraft by Airbus, Kawasaki spokeswoman Yuko Ogino said.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has also been approached about the project, said Hideo Okuno, a spokesman for Daiya PR Co, which handles international press for Mitsubishi.

Both Ogino and Okuno said the respective companies were still studying the proposal and refused to offer further details.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said that Kawasaki Heavy was likely to develop and produce compressors, while Mitsubishi Heavy would probably be responsible for combustors and turbine rotor blades.

Typically, ¥100 billion to ¥200 billion (US$850 million to US$1.7 billion) is required to develop a jet engine, and Rolls-Royce wants Kawasaki Heavy and Mitsubishi Heavy to shoulder around 8.5 percent and about 7 percent of costs, respectively, the Nihon Keizai said.

The firms are in the process of finalizing the shares, with a decision to be made by autumn next year.

The trio co-developed an engine for Boeing Co's next-generation 787 passenger jet. They also have a track record of developing jet engines for Airbus' smaller aircraft.

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