Rolls-Royce to develop hypersonic engine

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Rolls-Royce has been awarded a contract by the UK’s ministry of defence to develop hypersonic propulsion systems for the UK’s next generation fighter jet, the Tempest.

The two year contract will see engineers from engine-maker Rolls-Royce, air-breathing engine developer Reaction Engines and defense firm BAE Systems undertake design studies, research, development, analysis and experimentation relating to high-Mach advanced propulsion systems.

Speaking at an event in London this month, the UK’s chief of the air staff, air chief marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said, “As part of the technologies being developed in parallel with Project Tempest, I am delighted to reveal that in concert with Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines and BAE Systems, we are developing hypersonic propulsion systems, which will pave the way for the UK to become a centre of excellence in this technology and contribute to meeting future UK Defence needs.”

Alex Zino, director business development and future programmes at Rolls-Royce said, “Going forward, this collaboration will allow us to focus on enabling innovative technologies for increased aircraft performance and capability.”

Meanwhile, the UK and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this month to partner on the development of future combat air systems. Discussions between the two countries industries and governments has been ongoing since the publication of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy and launch of Project Tempest in July 2018

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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