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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Volvo joins Rolls to power Airbus jumbo
Airbus A380 super jumbo
Rolls-Royce and Volvo will power the Airbus super jumbo
UK plane engine maker Rolls-Royce and Sweden's Volvo Aero have signed a joint venture to build engines for the new Airbus A380 super jumbo.

Rolls-Royce had been seeking a partner to share the risk and profit for developing the Trent 900 engine, which will power the Airbus A380 super jumbo, as well as the Trent 500 engine for the Airbus A340-500 and -600.

So far all 60 orders for the A380 have selected the Rolls-Royce's Trent 900 and not its rivals General Electric or Pratt and Whitney.

In February Rolls-Royce said it had secured orders worth more than 12bn for all its Trent aero engines, which would sustain more than 7,000 jobs.

Rolls-Royce has never revealed the cost of developing the Trent 500 and 900 but the size of a British government investment announced in February suggested the figure for both is about $1.1bn.

Growth engines

The Trent 900 will be capable of powering all variants of the A380 which means operators will require only one standard of engine to power a fleet.

Saab's Gripen jet fighter
Volvo Aero makes the engines that power the Gripen fighter
Production for the new engines will continue for at least 20 years and demand for Trent 500 is estimated to be for more than 3,000 during this period.

To date, Trent 900 is the only engine that has been selected for the more than 60 orders placed for the Airbus 380.

Profits from civil aircraft engines come not so much from sales of the units as from the supply of spare parts and service over decades of use.

Volvo Aero

Volvo Aero already has several joint ventures with Rolls-Royce building military jet engines but this contract would involve the largest cooperation between them to date.

Volvo Aero, a wholly owned subsidiary of heavy vehicles maker Volvo, develops and manufactures components for aircraft and rocket engines.

The company was founded in 1930 and services almost all the jet engines for the Swedish Air Force, including the Gripen fighter.

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