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British Industrial History

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Rolls-Royce: Aero Engines

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March 1934.
‎‎
December 1939.
Dec 1939.
Sept 1940.
1941.
1944.The "Griffon" 12 Cylinder Aero-Engine.
September 1950. Engines for the Vickers Viscount.
1945. Rolls-Royce "Derwent" Jet-Propulsion Engine.
January 1952.
1955. The "Flying Bedstead".

Note: This is a sub-section of Rolls-Royce and Rolls-Royce plc

1914 The Royal Aircraft Factory, responsible for supplying military aircraft, asked Rolls-Royce to tender to build a batch of Renault aero-engines. Royce was not much impressed by the design of the Renault engine. The company constructed an initial batch of 50 needed to power B.E.2 light bombers. This inspired Royce to develop a better product, one that would be water-cooled to provide a much higher power-to-weight ratio than Rolls-Royce's earlier engines. This became the Eagle.[1]

1915 The company's first aero-engine, the Eagle, was completed in October. Designed to produce 200 hp, in practice it showed 255 hp. By 1918 this engine was producing 360 hp at 1,800 rpm. [2]

1915 December. Designed the Hawk engine to produce 75 hp at 1,350 rpm. By October 1918 it had been increased to 105 hp. [2]

1916 April. The Falcon engine gave 205 hp and by July 1918 was producing 285 hp. [2]

Around half the aircraft engines used by the Allies in World War I were made by Rolls-Royce.

1919 John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown fly the Atlantic in a Vickers Vimy fitted with two Eagle engines

1919 Ross Smith and his brother Keith Smith fly from England to Australia in a Rolls-Royce engined Vimy

1920 Produced the Condor aero-engine

By the late 1920s, aero engines made up most of Rolls-Royce's business.

1931 A Rolls-Royce engined Vickers biplane wins the Schneider Trophy at a speed of 386.1 mph

1933 The Condor engine was produced.

1935 Henry Royce's last design was the Merlin aero engine, which came out in 1935, although he had died in 1933. This was developed after the R engine, which had powered a record-breaking Supermarine S6B seaplane to almost 400 mph in the 1931 Schneider Trophy. The Merlin was a powerful V12 engine and was fitted into many World War II aircraft: the Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire, de Havilland Mosquito (two-engine), Avro Lancaster (four-engine), Vickers Wellington (two-engine); it also transformed the American P-51 Mustang into possibly the best fighter of its time, its Merlin engine built by Packard under licence. Over 160,000 Merlin engines were produced. The Merlin crossed over into military vehicle use as the Meteor powering the Centurion tank among others.

1937 Aero engine manufacturers. "Kestrel" Aero Engines. "Merlin" Aero Engines. [3]

1937 Rotol Airscrews was formed on 13th May 1937 by Rolls-Royce and Bristol Aeroplane Co to take over both companies' propeller developments.

1940 Stanley Hooker met Frank Whittle and later introduced him to Rolls' CEO, Ernest Hives. Hooker led Rolls' supercharger division, which was naturally suited to jet engine work. Hives agreed to supply key parts to help the Whittle jet engine project; Rolls' engineers helped solve the surging problems seen in the early engines.

By late 1941 it was obvious to all that the arrangement between Power Jets and Rover for production of the engine was not working. Whittle was frustrated by Rover's inability to deliver production-quality parts; Rover was losing interest in the project after the delays and constant harassment from Power Jets.

Early 1942 Whittle contracted Rolls-Royce to supply six engines, known as the WR.1.

1943 At the start of the year Rover made a swap with Rolls-Royce, transferring all of the jet engine work and facilities to Rolls

In the post-World War II period Rolls-Royce made significant advances in gas turbine engine design and manufacture. The Dart and Tyne turboprop engines were particularly important, enabling airlines to cut times for shorter journeys whilst jet airliners were introduced on longer services. The Dart engine was used in Argosy, Avro 748, Friendship, Herald and Viscount aircraft, whilst the more powerful Tyne powered the Atlantic, Transall and Vanguard, and the SRN-4 hovercraft. Many of these turboprops are still in service. Amongst the jet engines of this period was the RB163 Spey, which powers the Trident, BAC 1-11, Grumman Gulfstream II and Fokker F28.

1960 Arrangement with Continental Motors Corporation to licence the Continental piston engines. Rolls-Royce would supply Beagle with Rolls-Royce/Continental engines for its new aircraft[4]

During the late 1950s and 1960s there was a significant rationalisation of all aspects of British aerospace and this included aero-engine manufacturers, culminating in the merger of Rolls-Royce and Bristol Siddeley Engines in 1966 (Bristol Siddeley had itself resulted from the merger of Armstrong Siddeley Motors and Bristol Aero-Engines in 1959). Bristol Siddeley, with its principal factory at Filton, near Bristol, had a strong base in military engines, including the Olympus, Viper, Pegasus and Orpheus. They also manufactured the Olympus 593 Mk610 for Concorde.

1968 First test run of the RB 211 turbo-fan engine for Lockheed.

1968 Four Proteus gas-turbine engines for the British Hovercraft Corporation SR.N4.[5]

1974 The first industrial RB 211 gas turbine engine began powered tests at the company's Industrial and Marine Division at Ansty. The second was under construction for test while the third will be shipped out in the Autumn to Canada for a gas pumping installation.[6][7]

Piston aero-engines

Gas turbine turbojet aero-engines

Gas turbine turboprop aero-engines

Gas turbine bypass turbofan aero-engines

Gas turbine lift jet aero-engines

Gas turbine turboshaft aero-engines

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Early History of Motoring by Claude Johnson
  3. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  4. The Times, Nov 02, 1960
  5. The Engineer 1968/01/05 p21
  6. The Engineer 1974/01/24
  7. The Engineer 1974/04/04