Rolls-Royce plc

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Rolls-Royce Group plc
Types of companiesPublic company (London Stock Exchange: RR.)
Founded1906 (as Rolls-Royce Limited)
1987 (privatised as plc)
HeadquartersFlag of the United Kingdom Derby, England, United Kingdom
Key peopleSimon Robertson (Chairman)
John Rose (Rolls-Royce) (CEO)
IndustryAerospace & Defense contractor
Product (business)Civil & military aero engines
Marine propulsion systems
Power generation equipment
Revenue Pound sterling7,435 million (2007)
Earnings before interest and taxes Pound sterling514 million (2007)
Net income Pound sterling600 million (2007)
Employment38,000 (2007)

Rolls-Royce Public limited company (London Stock Exchange: RR.) is a United Kingdom Aircraft engine maker, and the second-largest in the world, behind GE Aviation. The company has related businesses in the defence aerospace, marine and energy markets.

Rolls-Royce was nationalised in 1971, by which time aircraft engines had long been the most significant part of the business. The automobile company was separated in 1973 and the present Rolls-Royce plc was re-privatised in 1987. Rolls-Royce is, through its defence aerospace division, the world's 16th largest Defense contractor.[1] Defence aerospace sales accounted for 21% of group sales in 2005, civil aerospace 53%, marine 17% and energy 8%.[2] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.



Rolls-Royce Limited was founded in 1906 by Henry Royce and C.S. Rolls, and produced its first aircraft engine in 1914.

Around half the aircraft engines used by the Allies in World War I were made by Rolls-Royce. By the late 1920s, aero engines made up most of Rolls-Royce's business. Henry Royce's last design was the Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine, which came out in 1935 although he had died in 1933. This was a development subsequent to the Rolls-Royce R engine, which had powered a record-breaking Supermarine Supermarine S.6B Seaplane to almost 400mph in the 1931 Schneider Trophy. The Merlin powered many World War II Aircraft: the British Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire, De Havilland Mosquito (twin-engined), Avro Lancaster (4-engine), Vickers Wellington (2-engine); it also transformed the American P-51 Mustang into one of the best fighters of its time, its Merlin engine built by Packard under licence. Over 160,000 Merlin engines were produced.

In the post-World War II period Rolls-Royce made significant advances in Gas turbine engine design and manufacture. The Rolls-Royce Dart and Rolls-Royce Tyne Turboprop engines were particularly important, enabling Airline to cut journey times within several continents, whilst Jet airliner were introduced on longer services. The Dart engine was used in Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy, Avro 748 and its military variant the Andover, Fokker F27, Handley Page Dart Herald and Vickers Viscount aircraft, whilst the more powerful Tyne powered the Breguet Atlantique, Transall C-160 and the Vickers Vanguard. Many of these turboprops are still in service.

Rolls-Royce engines had traditionally borne numeric designations during development and then were assigned the name of a British river on delivery. The use of river names was introduced with the earliest Rolls jet engines to reflect their nature: a steady flow of power rather than the pulses of a piston engine. RB stands for "Rolls Barnoldswick", the latter a major ex-Rover (car) facility bought by Rolls-Royce when it traded production of engines (the Rolls-Royce Meteor) for production of the first Whittle engines.

Amongst the jet engines of this period was the Rolls-Royce Spey which powers the Hawker Siddeley Trident, BAC 1-11, Grumman Gulfstream II and Fokker F28. Military versions of the Spey powered the Blackburn Buccaneer S2 for the RAF, the F-4 Phantom II, and the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod. The Spey was licence built by Allison Engine Company as the TF41 for the A-7 Corsair II. Other types of military engines produced in the second half of the 20th Century include the Rolls-Royce Avon and Armstrong Siddeley Viper; these engines powered many of the British Aircraft of this period.

Also of this period was the Rolls-Royce Conway, a low (by today's standards) bypass ratio turbofan which was used on some Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, and all Vickers VC10 as well as on the MkII variant of the Handley Page Victor bomber for the RAF.

During the late 1950s and '60s there was a significant rationalisation of the British aero-engine manufacturers, culminating in the merger of Rolls-Royce and Bristol Siddeley in 1966. Bristol Siddeley, which had itself resulted from the merger of Armstrong Siddeley and Bristol in 1959, and with its principal factory at Filton, near Bristol, had a strong base in military engines, including the Rolls-Royce Olympus, which was chosen for Concorde.

Nationalisation & separation

Having been selected as the sole engine supplier for the Lockheed L-1011 (TriStar), Rolls-Royce committed heavily to the RB211 engine, but its development was hampered by considerable problems and on February 4 1971 Rolls-Royce went into Administrative receivership. To save the company, Edward Heath's government Nationalization it. The automotive division was separated from the aircraft engine division in 1973 as Rolls-Royce Motors and sold to Vickers. A side-effect of this affair was a change in accounting regulations to forbid the capitalisation of expenditure on research. This practise had resulted in Rolls-Royce massively overstating its assets, thus disguising its financial difficulties until it was too late.

Privatisation & expansion

Rolls-Royce plc was privatised in 1987 under the government of Margaret Thatcher. The 1980s saw the introduction of a policy to offer an engine on every civil aircraft type, with the company's engines now powering 17 different airliners (and their variants) compared to General Electric's 14 and Pratt & Whitney's 10.

In 1988, Rolls-Royce acquired Northern Engineering Industries (NEI), a group of heavy engineering companies mainly associated with electrical generation and power management, based in the North East of England. The group included Clarke Chapman (Cranes), A. Reyrolle & Company (now part of Siemens) and C. A. Parsons and Company (now part of Siemens). The company was renamed Rolls-Royce Industrial Power Group. It was sold off piecemeal over the next decade as the company re-focused on its core aero-engine operations following the recession of the early 1990s.

In 1990 in aviation BMW and Rolls-Royce established the BMW Rolls-Royce joint venture to produce the Rolls-Royce BR700 range of engines for regional and corporate jets, the most recent of which is the newly announced BR725. BMW subsequently withdrew from the company, and Rolls-Royce took full control of it in 2000, renaming it Rolls-Royce Deutschland.

Allison acquisition

In November 1994 Rolls-Royce announced its intention to acquire the Allison Engine Company, an American manufacturer of gas turbines and components for aviation, industrial and marine engines. Rolls-Royce had previously tried to buy the company when General Motors sold it in 1993, but GM opted for a management buyout instead. Owing to Allison's involvement in classified and export restricted technology, the 1994 acquisition was subject to investigation to determine the national security implications. On 27 March 1995 the US Department of Defense announced that the "deal between Allison Engine Co. and Rolls-Royce does not endanger national security."[3] Rolls-Royce was, however, obliged to set up a Proxy board to manage Allison and had also to set up a separate company, Allison Advanced Development Company, to manage classified programmes "that involve leading-edge technologies". In 2000 this restriction was replaced by a more flexible Special Security Arrangement.

The Allison acquisition brought four new engine types into the Rolls-Royce civil engine portfolio on seven platforms and several light aircraft applications. Allison is now known as Rolls-Royce Corporation, part of Rolls-Royce North America.

In 1996 in aviation Rolls-Royce and Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding specifying the Rolls-Royce Trent as the engine of choice for the then A3XX, now called the Airbus A380.

1999 acquisitions

Rolls-Royce spent £1.063 billion on acquisitions in 1999. These were interests of Cooper Energy Services (with the effect of making the Cooper Rolls joint venture a wholly owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce), Vickers, National Airmotive and BMW's share of BMW Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce acquired Vickers plc for its marine businesses. Vickers had expanded this part of its business in the period leading up to the purchase, acquiring Kamewa, a manufacturer of waterjets, in 1996, and Ulstein, a major marine propulsion and engineering company, in 1998. Rolls-Royce sold Vickers Defence Systems (the other major Vickers area of business) to Alvis plc in 2002 which then became Alvis Vickers Ltd, then the largest armoured vehicle company in the UK.

Rolls-Royce has established a leading position in the corporate and Regional airline sector through the development of the Tay engine, the Allison acquisition and the consolidation of the BMW Rolls-Royce joint venture. In 1999 BMW Rolls-Royce was renamed Rolls-Royce Deutschland and became a 100% owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce plc.

Optimized Systems & Solutions (formerly known as Data Systems & Solutions) was founded in 1999 as a joint venture between Rolls-Royce plc and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). In early 2006, SAIC exited the joint venture agreement, making Rolls-Royce plc the sole owner.

Recent events

On April 6, 2004 Boeing announced that it had selected both Rolls-Royce and General Electric to power its new Boeing 787. Rolls-Royce submitted the Rolls-Royce Trent, a further development of that series. GE's offering is the General Electric GENX, a development of the General Electric GE90.

On June 13 Rolls-Royce were awarded a £110m deal with the Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) to supply engines for its C-130 Hercules transport aircraft for the next 5 years.[4]

In July 2006, Rolls-Royce reached an agreement to supply a new version of the Trent for the revised Airbus A350 (XWB) jetliner. Although details have yet to be released, it is likely that the so-called Trent XWB will be significantly larger than the Trent 1700, basically a throttle-push of the Trent 1000 intended for the original A350 proposal.

In October 2006 Rolls-Royce suspended production of its Trent 900 engine because of delays by Airbus on the delivery of the Airbus A380 superjumbo. Rolls-Royce announced in October 2007 that production of the Trent 900 had been re-started after a twelve month suspension caused by delays to the A380.[5] The plant in Derby, UK employs 11,000 workers and will continue to produce engines for Bombardier, Boeing, including those for the new 787 series and other Airbus aircraft such as the A330 and A340.

On the military side, Rolls-Royce has been (in cooperation with other European manufacturers) a major contractor for the Turbo-Union RB199 which in several variants powers the Panavia Tornado, and also for the Eurojet EJ200 engine for the Eurofighter Typhoon. Two modified RB199 engines also powered the British Aerospace EAP demonstrator which evolved into the Typhoon.

At the 2005 Paris Air Show Rolls-Royce secured in excess of $1 billion worth of orders. The firm received $800m worth of orders from Air China to supply its 20 Airbus Airbus A330 jets[6].

On 18 June 2007, Rolls-Royce announced at the 2007 Paris Air Show that it had signed its biggest ever contract with Qatar Airways for the Trent XWB to power 80 List of Airbus A350 orders from Airbus worth $5.6 billion at list prices.[7] On 11 November 2007, another large contract was announced at the Dubai Airshow from Emirates Airline for Trent XWBs to power 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 aircraft with 50 option rights. Due to be delivered from 2014, the order is potentially worth up to 8.4 billion US Dollars at list prices, including options.[8].

Current operations

Rolls-Royce's aerospace business makes commercial and military Gas turbine engines for military, civil, and corporate aircraft customers worldwide. In the United States, the company makes engines for regional and corporate jets, Helicopter, and Turboprop aircraft. Rolls-Royce also constructs and installs power Electrical generator systems. Its core gas turbine technology has created one of the broadest product ranges of aero-engines in the world, with 50,000 engines in service with 500 airlines, 2,400 corporate and utility operators and more than 100 armed forces, powering both Fixed-wing aircraft and Helicopter. Rolls-Royce Marine Power Operations Ltd (a subsidiary company) manufactures and tests Nuclear reactor for Royal Naval Submarines.

Civil Aerospace


Rolls-Royce Trent 900 on the prototype Airbus A380. This aircraft carries four.
  • Rolls-Royce RB211 - Boeing 747, 757 (most popular engine) and 767, Lockheed L1011, Tupolev Tu-204
  • Rolls-Royce Trent series (47% (largest) market share of engines for new generation widebodied aircraft, launch engine for all 3 Boeing 787 variants, leading engine for Boeing 777, Airbus A330, Airbus A340-500, Airbus A380, Airbus A340-600 and all versions of the A350 XWB. ) [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]
  • International Aero Engines V2500 (as part of International Aero Engines) - Airbus A320 series
  • Rolls-Royce Conway - Vickers VC10, Boeing 707-420 and Douglas DC-8-40
  • Rolls-Royce Avon - de Havilland Comet 4
  • Rolls-Royce Olympus (with Snecma) - Aerospatiale/BAC Concorde
  • Rolls-Royce Spey - HS.121 Trident and BAC 1-11
  • Rolls-Royce RB162 - booster engine and APU on Hawker Siddeley Trident

Regional aircraft

  • Rolls-Royce AE 2100 - Saab 2000
  • Rolls-Royce AE 3007 - Embraer ERJ
  • Rolls-Royce BR700 - Boeing 717, Tupolev Tu-334
  • Williams International FJ44 (with Williams International)
  • Rolls-Royce Model 250
  • Rolls-Royce Tay (turbofan) - Fokker 70 and 100
  • Rolls-Royce RB282


  • Rolls-Royce Model 250

Defence Aerospace

Combat aircraft

File:RR-408 Pegasus.jpg
Rolls-Royce Pegasus schematic
  • Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour (with Turbomeca)
  • Eurojet EJ200 (as part of Eurojet)
  • General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 (with General Electric)
  • Rolls-Royce Pegasus
  • Turbo-Union RB199 (as part of Turbo-Union)
  • Rolls-Royce Spey
  • Rolls-Royce Nene
  • Rolls-Royce Derwent


  • Rolls-Royce AE 1107C-Liberty
  • Rolls-Royce Gem
  • Rolls-Royce Model 250 turboshaft
  • MTR390 (with MTU Aero Engines and Turbomeca)
  • Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 (with Turbomeca)
  • LHTEC T800 (with Honeywell)

Transport market

  • Rolls-Royce AE 1107C-Liberty
  • Rolls-Royce AE 2100
  • Rolls-Royce Model 250 turboprop
  • Rolls-Royce T56
  • Rolls-Royce Tay (turbofan)
  • EPI TP400 (as part of Europrop International)

Trainer market

  • Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour (with Turbomeca)
  • Williams International FJ44 (with Williams International)
  • Rolls-Royce Model 250 turboprop
  • Rolls-Royce Viper

Tactical market

  • Rolls-Royce AE 1107C-Liberty
  • Rolls-Royce AE 2100
  • Rolls-Royce AE 3007
  • Rolls-Royce BR710
  • Rolls-Royce Model 250 turboprop
  • Rolls-Royce Spey
  • Rolls-Royce T56
  • LHTEC T800 (with Honeywell)
  • Rolls-Royce Tay (turbojet)

Unmanned aerial vehicle market

  • Rolls-Royce AE 3007
  • Rolls-Royce Model 250 turboshaft
  • Rolls-Royce Viper


Gas turbines

  • Rolls-Royce AG9140
  • Rolls-Royce MT30
  • Rolls-Royce MT50
  • Rolls-Royce RR4500
  • Rolls-Royce Spey
  • Rolls-Royce Olympus
  • Rolls-Royce Tyne
  • Northrop Grumman/Rolls-Royce WR-21

Diesel engines

  • Rolls-Royce Bergen B series
  • Rolls-Royce Bergen C series
  • Rolls-Royce Bergen K series
  • SEMT Pielstick


  • Kamewa and Bird-Johnson Pump-jet
  • Kamewa Bow thruster
  • MerMaid pod propulsion
  • Ulstein Aquamaster Azimuth thruster


  • Nato Submarine Rescue System
  • PWR1 reactor
  • PWR2 reactor
  • Molten salt battery

Hydrodynamic Bearings

  • Michell Bearings

Energy - oil & gas

Gas turbines

  • Rolls-Royce 501
  • Rolls-Royce Avon
  • Rolls-Royce RB211
  • Rolls-Royce Trent


  • Barrel Centrifugal compressor
  • Pipeline centrifugal compressor

Energy - power generation

Gas turbines

  • Rolls-Royce 501
  • Rolls-Royce RB211
  • Rolls-Royce Trent

Reciprocating engines

  • Rolls-Royce Bergen B series
  • Rolls-Royce Bergen K series

Distributed generation systems

  • Field Electrical Power Source (FEPS)
  • APU 2000 vehicle power unit
  • Marine generator sets
  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cell


  1. "Top 100 Defense Contractors 2007". Defense News. Retrieved on 2009-02-05. 
  2. Rolls-Royce (2005) Rolls-Royce Annual Report 2005
  3. DoD is satisfied that deal between Allison Engine Co. and Rolls Royce does not endanger national security
  4. "Penny Shares Online". 2006-07-10. Retrieved on 2006-07-13. 
  5. "Rolls-Royce settles into a launch groove for A380". Flight International. October 15, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-17. 
  6. BBC (2005-07-20). "Air China at Paris Air Show". Retrieved on 2006-07-13. 
  7. "Rolls-Royce inks biggest-ever sale". Flight International. June 19, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-06-20. 
  8. "Emirates places $8.4bn order for Rolls-Royce Trent XWB". Retrieved on 2007-11-14. 
  9. "Biggest Market share for new generation of widebodied aircraft". Retrieved on 2006-12-17. 
  10. "Launch Engine for 787". Retrieved on 2006-12-17. 
  11. "Biggest Market share for Boeing 777". Retrieved on 2006-12-17. 
  12. "Biggest Market share for Airbus A330". Retrieved on 2006-12-17. 
  13. "Sole Engine for Airbus A340-500/600". Retrieved on 2006-12-17. 


  • Peter Pugh, (2000), Icon Books, The Magic of a Name: The Rolls-Royce Story The First 40 Years. ISBN 1 84046 151 9
  • Peter Pugh, (2001), Icon Books, The Magic of a Name: The Rolls-Royce Story Part 2 The Power Behind the Jets. ISBN 1 84046 284 1
  • Peter Pugh, (2002), Icon Books, The Magic of a Name: The Rolls-Royce Story Part 3 A Family of Engines. ISBN 1 84046 405 4

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