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Rolls Turns Adviser in Battle Against Gas-Guzzling Fighter Jets

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, the world’s second-largest aircraft-engine maker, is working to advise cash-strapped governments on cutting fuel costs of fighter jets by as much as 3 percent.

The supplier of engines for the Tornado warplane will analyze and model data from missions, such as climb profiles, thrust settings, and the performance of the engines and airframes, Paul Craig, Rolls-Royce’s executive vice president of defense services, said in an interview. A Tornado guzzles about 5,000 pounds ($7,772) worth of fuel an hour.

Rolls-Royce is in talks with multiple governments, he said, without being specific. Faced with cutbacks in spending, the London-based company is seeking to bolster its services offered to governments by transferring analysis and models currently provided for clients in the civil aerospace, marine and energy industries.

“People haven’t got the same amount of money, so they are looking to get more out of what they’ve got,” Craig said in the Jan. 20 phone interview. “It’s a little bit more complicated to do in the military world because of the sensitivity over data, but it is something we know how to do and are starting to do.”

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s C-130 Hercules is among the aircraft that Rolls-Royce could target with its fuel-saving analysis, Craig said. Rolls currently has about 7,200 engines in use on the military transporter worldwide, he said.

The percentage of savings “is significant” if you look at the amount of fuel an air force or airline uses, he added.

In the U.K., Rolls services Tornado and Eurofighter jets, which both saw action in Afghanistan and Libya.

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