Rolls Royce reports progress solving technical issues affecting three variants of its Trent 1000 engine. The company states it is making good progress with eight out of nine fixes needed. However, as more issues were found with the proposed Trent 1000TEN blade fix solution, the improved blade is now expected a year later than previously ‒ in the first half of 2021. 

Three variants of Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines have been affected by corrosion issues. The problem, which results in early wear and cracking of blades, was first detected in 2016 on Package C engines, followed by detection on Package B in 2018 and early wear of the high-pressure turbine (HPT) blade of Trent 1000 TEN in January 2019.

Rolls Royce estimates that nine fixes are required for Package B, Package C and TEN engines. So far, the manufacturer has designed eight and got certified seven modifications, that are now being incorporated into the fleet. 

The company has reiterated its previous estimation that the number of grounded aircraft will go down to a “single digit levels” by the end of the second quarter of 2020. 

However, the ninth, final, solution remains a challenge. Rolls Royce has found that its proposed redesign of high-pressure turbine (HPT) blade for Trent 1000 TEN engine would not “deliver a sufficient level” of durability. Consequently, the company is now expecting the upgraded blade not to be ready before the first half of 2021. It means over a year of delay, as it previously expected to start incorporating improved blade into the fleet in early 2020. 

“We have completed a detailed technical evaluation of our work on an improved high pressure turbine blade for Trent 1000 TEN, the last major redesign activity required for the issues which we have identified with the engine,” Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce is cited in a press release. “Although we regret that the blade will not be ready when we had originally planned, our understanding of the technical issues has significantly improved. As a result we are now able to reset our financial and operational expectations for the engine based on a blade design with a prudent durability estimate that we are confident we can deliver [..]”. 

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Rolls-Royce is facing yet another stumbling block in the way of solving its intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) blade problems on the Trent 1000 engines. Having previously announced being “about to fix” the issue, the manufacturer now is pushing back the date of when grounded aircraft numbers could return to a single-digit level.