10-year outlook looks good for Rolls-Royce

February 23, 2009

Turbine engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is predicting an overall 10-year improvement in the helicopter market, but with a slight dip in production in 2009. However, 2010 deliveries are projected to surpass 2008 numbers.

Overall, the company anticipates 15,800 turbine helicopter deliveries in the next decade, 9,600 of them worth $27 billion in the civil market; the balance of 6,200 into military markets, worth $104 billion. The deliveries will account for 25,000 engines worth $12 billion. Deliveries during the period are expected to peak in 2014 and 2015 at about 1,750 units each year, with a slight downward trend in the remaining three years of the forecast period.

The largest number of deliveries will be in the light single-engine turbine helicopter market, driven mostly by technology that improves reliability and reduces the environmental footprint of such operations.

In other Rolls-Royce news, the company reported that its helicopter engines have now amassed 200 million hours, equivalent to running one engine 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 23,000 years.

Over the last year, the company has certified its new RR300 light turboshaft engine destined for the Robinson R66 and a new certified helicopter being developed by Rotorway International, which has traditionally only built kitbuilt helicopters. Rolls-Royce also introduced the RR500TP engine at EAA AirVenture last summer. The company is in discussions with various airframe manufacturers about introducing the light turboprop engine into the general aviation fleet.