Rolls-Royce has entered into an agreement to acquire the electric and hybrid-electric aerospace propulsion activities of Siemens.
Rolls-Royce says the move will accelerate the delivery of its electrification strategy and boost its ambition to play a major role in the ‘third era’ of aviation.
The acquisition is expected to complete in late 2019, following a period of employee consultation.
Siemens’ eAircraft business, based in Germany and Hungary, employs around 180 specialist electrical designers and engineers who have been developing a range of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion solutions for the aerospace industry.
They have worked with Rolls-Royce on its E-Fan X demonstrator project, which aims to demonstrate hybrid electric propulsion at the scale required to power regional aircraft.
Dawn of a third era
Rob Watson, Director, Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “Electrification is set to have as dramatic an impact on aviation as the replacement of piston engines by gas turbines. We are at the dawn of the third era of aviation, which will bring a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport to the skies.”
“We have already made significant strides in realising our strategy of ‘championing electrification’ and this move will accelerate our ambitions in aerospace by adding vital skills and technology to our portfolio,” he said. “It brings us increased scale and additional expertise as we develop a product range of hybrid power and propulsion systems. I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues into Rolls-Royce and working with them to pioneer new technologies and solutions.”
Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer, added: “To support the rising demand for air travel while achieving CO2 emissions targets, the aviation industry is developing increasingly environmentally friendly technologies and practices.
“The electrification of flight is just one part of Rolls-Royce’s commitment to making aviation more sustainable: we are continuing to increase the fuel efficiency of our gas turbines; encouraging the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable aviation fuels; and pursuing the electrification of aviation.”