Reaction Engines Ltd and Rolls Royce plc today confirmed a new strategic partnership agreement to develop and build high-speed aircraft propulsion
Reaction Engines Ltd and Rolls Royce plc today confirmed a new strategic partnership agreement to develop and build high-speed aircraft propulsion systems, in what Dr Turnock hailed as further evidence of Britain’s booming space sector. He said: “This strategic partnership will open a new world of possibilities and be the starting gun for making hybrid-electric airliners, and jets that fly at three times the speed of sound, a reality by 2030.
“Our space sector is booming and this collaboration will help put the UK at the forefront of developments in supersonic and hypersonic aviation.”
Jefferson Manufacturing, which describes itself as “passionate advocates of the British manufacturing sector”, tweeted: “Rolls-Royce and Reaction Engines announce a new strategic partnership.
“The British aerospace manufacturer’s SABRE hypersonic jet engine technology recently passed a crucial heat test in conditions equivalent to Mach 5 – five times the speed of sound.”
An artist’s impression of a SABRE engine-powered plane
Another impression of a SABRE Engine-powered craft
The Reaction Engines/Rolls Royce deal will also explore applications for Reaction Engines’ thermal management technology within civil and defence aerospace gas turbine engines and hybrid-electric systems.
Mark Thompson, Director of Global Strategy & Business Development, Rolls-Royce, said: “We have been working closely with Reaction Engines for the past two years, including exploring the potential of high-Mach systems for defence applications, and I am delighted that we are able to strengthen that relationship.
“This partnership follows our recent announcements with Boom Supersonic and Virgin Galactic.”
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One of the groundbreaking engines
He added: “Reaction Engines’ thermal management skills, added to our suite of existing technologies and capabilities, will further assist us as we explore opportunities in supersonic and hypersonic aviation.
“Building on our many decades of innovation, we will also explore the use of Reaction Engines’ technology within our aerospace gas turbines and its potential application in future hybrid-electric propulsion systems, as we look to make flying ever more efficient and sustainable.”
Rolls-Royce is also making a further investment in Reaction Engines as part of a wider round of funding.
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How an hypersonic jet would look above the clouds
The engines were put through rigorous tests in October
The two companies have been working together for two years, including on the first phase of a UK Ministry of Defence contract to undertake design studies, research, development, analysis and experimentation related to high-Mach advanced propulsion systems.
Mark Thomas, Chief Executive of Reaction Engines, explained: “This strategic partnership is about developing market ready applications for Reaction Engines’ technology in next generation engines and is a significant step forward for our technology commercialisation plans.
“Our proprietary heat exchanger technology delivers incredible heat transfer capabilities at extremely low weight and a compact size.
Reaction Engines’ test centre
“We look forward to expanding our international collaboration with Rolls-Royce, a global leader in power systems, to bring to market a range of applications that will transform the performance and efficiency of aircraft engines, enable high speed – supersonic and hypersonic – flight and support the drive towards more sustainable aviation through innovative new technologies.”
Speaking about the test breakthrough last year, Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “The SABRE engine is one of the UK’s most exciting engineering projects which could change forever how we launch satellites into orbit and travel across the world.
“It’s fantastic to see Reaction Engines passing this significant milestone, which demonstrates how its pre-cooler technology can deal with the extreme temperatures associated with travelling at five times the speed of sound.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore
“The Government has invested £60 million in SABRE and is committed to taking a more strategic approach to space, developing our national capabilities to complement and expand on the UK’s leading role in the European Space Agency once we leave the EU.”
The ground-based test, which took place in October 2019, achieved the highest temperature objective of the company’s HTX testing programme and took place at its specially constructed facility at the Colorado Air and Space Port.
During the latest tests, Reaction Engines’ pre-cooler successfully quenched airflow temperatures exceeding 1000C in less than 1/20th of a second.