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The date of December 17th 2003 is well recognised as the centenary of the first powered flight. What is less well known is that May 4th 2004 also represented another historical centenary for aerospace. On this date in 1904, the Charles Rolls and Henry Royce first met and their drive and ambition led to the formation of this world famous company. Since that day, Rolls-Royce has established itself with a reputation for excellence and innovation across a wide range of engineering products. This presentation will explore the evolution of aero-engine development at Rolls-Royce. The story starts with the highly successful Eagle and Falcon, which dominated the Allied propulsion systems of World War I. This success was followed with the Merlin, arguably the most recognised name in aerospace engines in the 1940s, before Frank Whittle’s pioneering work led to the development of the modern jet engine. Rolls-Royce is also the world leader for the unique propulsion technologies required for both supersonic and V/STOL flight and this presentation will describe design and development of these engines. The Olympus engine, which has accrued almost one million engine flying hours on Concorde and over one billion supersonic engine miles. Rolls-Royce V/STOL experience on the innovative Pegasus engine in the Harrier has also secured a position on the LiftSystemTM, the STOVL propulsion system for the Joint Strike Fighter. Today Rolls-Royce is a world leader in gas turbine technology for civil and defence aerospace, marine and energy power systems. This presentation will describe the process of developing technology once, and using it many times which has led to the development of a broad range of the latest gas turbine engines and technologies, including EJ200, F136, Adour and RTM322 for the latest military combat, trainer and helicopter aircraft. The next 100 years in gas turbine technology is certainly going to be as challenging, new and exciting as the past century. We can expect the growth of UAVs requiring More Electric, Variable Cycle and High Mach engines as well as a wealth of unique, new propulsion systems. With over 100 years success and innovation in the aerospace power business, Rolls-Royce is ideally placed to face these challenges


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Price, P. (2023). Rolls-Royce - 100 Years of Power. Journal of Aerospace Sciences and Technologies, 57(1), 180–192.


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