Rather than divide its production capacity between Singapore and the UK across all Trent engine types, Rolls-Royce makes all its Trent 900s in Singapore and plans to have all its Trent 1000s made here too. The Trent 900 powers the Airbus A380 and the Trent 1000 the Boeing 787.

At the moment, Trent 1000s are made in Derby, UK, but by midyear the Singapore facility will also start making Trent 1000s, says a Rolls-Royce spokesman. About 45% of the engines that Rolls-Royce Singapore will deliver this year will be Trent 1000s, he says.

Rolls-Royce regional director for Southeast Asia Jonathan Asherson says the plan is to eventually shift all Trent 1000 manufacturing to Singapore. The factory in Singapore has capacity to make 250 engines per year, across various types, and the Rolls-Royce spokesman says, “We are on course to ramp up to full capacity by early 2016.”

The Derby facility, however, will continue to be busy, because it will be manufacturing the Trent WXB that powers the Airbus A350. Derby will also continue to manufacture Trent 700s, the engine that powers the Airbus A330, an aircraft that continues to sell well.

The A330 has a large order backlog, and Asherson says the Trent 700 has been chosen for 75% of those aircraft.

Rolls-Royce manufactures its engines in Singapore at a purpose-built facility at Seletar Aerospace Park.

The facility opened two years ago, during the previous Singapore Airshow. As of the end of 2013 it has delivered “a little over 50” Trent 900 engines,” says the Rolls-Royce spokesman.

The Rolls-Royce facility also has a factory that makes fan blades for the Trent 900 and Trent 1000. As of the end of last year, it had made more than 2,000 fan blades, says the spokesman. The fan blade factory is running at 50% capacity now, and in this year’s second quarter it will start making Trent XWB fan blades, he says. It is on track to reach total of production of 6,000 blades per annum in 2015 and aims to further increase its capacity, so that it can produce 7,600 blades per annum in 2016 if need be, adds the spokesman.

Asherson says this factory already makes all the fan blades for the Trent 900 and will eventually fabricate all the fan blades for the Trent 1000, but only some of the Trent XWB blades.

Besides manufacturing, the Rolls-Royce facility at Seletar has a research and development center. Asherson says this Singapore center takes the lead globally in Rolls-Royce’s development of electronic power and control systems, computational engineering and precision manufacturing. “We are doing it actively here and is not duplicated anywhere else,” says Asherson, adding that Singapore is Rolls-Royce’s center of excellence in these areas of research.

He says that when it comes to precision engineering, the aspect that the Singapore R&D center is focused on is investigating new techniques for surfacing, edging and finishings.

Asherson says altogether the R&D workforce that Rolls-Royce has in Singapore totals 150, of which 50 are direct employees of Rolls-Royce and 100 are employees of organizations that partner with Rolls-Royce in research. The engine maker’s partners include local universities such as Nanyang Technological University. Rolls-Royce in the UK has a long tradition of collaborating with universities to develop new technologies, something it is now also doing with Singapore universities.

In land-scarce Singapore, engines are a good business because – unlike airframes – they don’t take up much space and are the most valuable part of an aircraft, accounting for about 25% of an aircraft’s purchase price.

The value is even higher if you look at the aftermarket, says Asherson, referring to the fact that much revenue is to be generated from helping to maintain and overhaul engines. In fact Rolls-Royce’s aircraft engine business generates more revenue these days from the aftermarket than from the sale of engines.

Asherson predicts that having large original equipment makers in Singapore, such as Rolls-Royce, will not only benefit Singapore but other countries in Southeast Asia. He says there will be a spillover effect. Some suppliers from North America and Europe will decide to set up factories – to be close to Rolls-Royce and other engine makers in Singapore ¬– but they won’t all necessarily set up in Seletar, he says, adding that some will decide to establish their factories in neighboring countries.