Founded in 1906 (with origins dating back to the 1890s), Rolls-Royce is one of the most famous names in engineering throughout the world. Rolls-Royce is one of the most well-known brands in the world. The name is one of the company's most valuable assets. It helps open doors, it attracts talented people, it differentiates and it is a reassurance of trust in technical capability. Today, the brand means more than engineering excellence. It is a standard of quality across all the company's activities. The brand guides our actions and behaviors and the way the company present itself to the world as a leading-edge, international power-systems business.
Rolls-Royce grew from the electrical and mechanical business established by Henry Royce in 1884. Royce built his first motor car in 1904 and in May of that year met Charles Rolls, whose company sold quality cars in London. Charles Stuart Rolls was the son of the wealthy Lord Llangattock. He sold imported cars to well-heeled friends in London early in the 20th century. Frederick Henry Royce, had started his career by selling newspapers at age 10. He pieced together the elements of a technical education and set up a factory in Manchester that built dynamos and heavy electrical equipment. In 1904 he built a 10-horsepower (7.5-kilowatt) automobile, which ran well. Agreement was reached that Royce Limited would manufacture a range of cars to be exclusively sold by CS Rolls & Co – they were to bear the name Rolls-Royce. Success with the cars led to the formation of the Rolls-Royce company in March 1906 and to the launch of the six-cylinder Silver Ghost which, within a year, was hailed as 'the best car in the world'.
At the start of the First World War, in response to the nation's needs, Royce designed his first aero engine – the Eagle, providing some half of the total horsepower used in the air war by the allies. The Eagle powered the first direct transatlantic flight as well as the first flight from England to Australia – both in the Vickers Vimy aircraft. The late 1920s saw Rolls-Royce develop the 'R' engine to power Britain's entry in the International Schneider Trophy seaplane contest. It established a new world air speed record of over 400mph in 1931. Subsequently it established new world records on both land and water. More importantly, as subsequent events were to prove, it gave Rolls-Royce the technological base to develop the Merlin, which Royce began to work on before his death in 1933.
Demand for the Merlin during the Second World War transformed Rolls-Royce from a relatively small company into a major contender in aero propulsion. The Merlin powered the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire in the Battle of Britain. Fitted with Merlins, the four-engine Lancaster bomber carried an 11-ton bomb. Fleets of Lancasters, carrying high explosive and incendiary bombs, burned the city of Hamburg to the ground in July 1943. America's P-51 fighters, powered by Merlins that were built in the United States by Packard, won air superiority above German cities. When the senior Nazi leader Hermann Goering saw that the bombers attacking Berlin were escorted by these fighters, he told his staff, "The war is over." Rolls-Royce built some 160,000 of these engines, in 52 versions.
In parallel, Rolls-Royce began development of the aero gas turbine, pioneered by Sir Frank Whittle. The Welland engine entered service in the Gloster Meteor fighter in 1944 and Rolls-Royce had the confidence immediately after the war to commit itself to the gas turbine, in which it had a technological lead. Rolls-Royce entered the civil aviation market with the Dart in the Vickers Viscount. It was to become the cornerstone of the universal acceptance of the gas turbine by the airline industry. The Avon-powered Comet became the first turbojet to enter transatlantic service and in 1960, the Conway engine in the Boeing 707 became the first turbofan to enter airline service.
The major aero engine manufacturers in Britain between the wars were Armstrong Siddeley, Blackburn, Bristol, de Havilland, Napier, and Rolls-Royce. The leader among these was Bristol which, in 1959, merged with the motor car and aero-engine maker Armstrong Siddeley. Three other smaller engine companies were absorbed into Bristol Siddeley and Rolls-Royce in 1961. Finally, the capability of the British aero-engine industry was consolidated when Rolls-Royce and Bristol Siddeley merged in 1966.
With the emergence of the widebody airliners in the late 1960s, Rolls-Royce launched the RB211 for the Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star. The RB-211 was one of the first "high bypass" designs, with an enormous front fan and a rated thrust of some 40,000 pounds (177,929 newtons). This design certainly broke new ground, but its development proved to be very costly, which brought Rolls-Royce to the brink of financial ruin. Early in 1971, company directors learned that they had no prospect of raising the funds they needed. They placed Rolls-Royce into bankruptcy, expecting that the firm would be broken up and sold.
Rolls-Royce was, until 1971, a publicly traded limited liability corporation that included both the original automobile division and the aircraft engine division. In 1971 the company went bankrupt because of its attempt to develop the RB211 for the Lockheed L1011 Tristar. Early problems with the RB211 and the market failure of the the Lockheed L1011 Tristar led to the company being taken into state ownership, and the flotation of the motor car business in 1973 as a separate entity.
Lockheed's chairman, Dan Haughton, rescued Rolls-Royce by arranging for the U.S. Congress to guarantee a new loan of $250 million. This gave Rolls-Royce the money it needed. The firm emerged from bankruptcy and turned the RB-211 into a successful engine. Rolls-Royce remains active in its field as its new Trent series of engines vie for sales in the ongoing competitions of commercial aviation.
When Rolls-Royce emerged from bankruptcy in 1973, it was as a nationalised company that had spun off its automobile business. Even as a nationalised company Rolls-Royce had to cope with the dramatic shift in the identity of its owner from the Labour governments of Wilson and Callaghan from 1974 to 1979 to the Conservative government of Thatcher from 1979 to 1987, when Rolls-Royce was privatised.
The three-shaft turbofan concept of the RB211 has now established itself at the heart of the Rolls-Royce world-class family of engines. By 1987 Rolls-Royce returned to the private sector, undergoing a number of mergers and acquisitions to create the only company in Britain capable of delivering power for use in the air, at sea and on land. Since 1987 Rolls-Royce has remained a publicly traded corporation, although one in which the British government maintained a "golden share" that prevents a takeover of the company. Nevertheless, Rolls-Royce has been dependent on external finance to fund its growth, including two major share issues in 1993 and 1995. Rolls-Royce made its initial investments in the three-shaft engine architecture in the 1960s (starting as early as 1963), when the eventual superiority of the technology was not at all assured. Rolls-Royce has sustained its investments in advanced technological capabilities, despite dramatic changes in the company's ownership.
Rolls Royce's development of the wide-chord fan gave it a technology lead in this area, but U.S. firms reacted quickly to close the gap and are likely to move ahead over the next several years, as composite fan blades were introduced on the GE90 and Pratt and Whitney's Advanced Ducted Prop engine. Research and development of active compressor stability control and high strength-to-weight ratio materials -- including metal matrix composites -- proposed by the European Aero-Engine Industry Group parallel U.S. efforts. Japan's responsibility within the IAE consortium for the fan and low pressure compressor is its first major share of a commercial engine program. Although the fan was derived from an existing Rolls Royce design, it is worth noting that the V2500 passed every ingestion and fan-blade-off test the first time the engine was tested. Despite this improvement, problems experienced on other indigenous efforts suggest that Japan still has a substantial technology lag.
Rolls Royce combustor technology is at parity with that of U.S. manufacturers; however, the company slightly lags in the application of turbine technology to commercial engines. Its latest civil engine offering--the Trent--still uses directionally solidified high-pressure turbine blades. While Rolls Royce and the UK Ministry of Defense are jointly funding high-pressure turbine design research, improvements resulting from this program will likely be offset by advances already achieved in a similar U.S. effort. Japan's responsibility for the low-pressure turbine on the GE90 program complements its role in the IAE consortium. Rolls Royce now uses full authority digital engine controls (FADECs) on all of its engines and France has demonstrated improvement through production of a FADEC for SNECMA's latest military engine and controls components for the CFM56 and CF6-80.
n 1995 Allison Engine Company in Indianapolis was acquired. Allison brought with it major new civil engines including the AE3007 for Embraer's new regional jet, and existing, successful defence programmes. The 1990s ended with the £576m acquisition of Vickers plc which, with primarily the Ulstein and Kamewa products and capabilities joining the Rolls-Royce existing gas turbine activities, transformed Rolls-Royce into the global leader in marine power systems.
Rolls-Royce is the world’s second largest provider of defence aero-engine products and services. Rolls-Royce engines power aircraft in all sectors: transport, combat, reconnaissance, training, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. Rolls-Royce is number 1 in Europe and Number 2 in the US, with 18,000 engines in service and 160 customers in 103 countries. Rolls-Royce employs 50 different nationalities, manufacture in 20 countries, customer support facilities in 50, with £2.1bn underlying revenue 2010.
Rolls-Royce operates in all of the major military aviation market sectors, from military transport aircraft and helicopters, to trainers, combat aircraft and UAV’s. Rolls-Royce is the market leader in transport and mobility, have the broadest portfolio in helicopters, outstanding pedigree in trainer applications and positioned on the most advanced and unique combat programs. Working closely with Governments and industry leaders, Rolls-Royce Defence is developing the next generation of power systems technology.
Rolls-Royce Distributed Generation Systems is a leading provider of specialist electrical power generation and distribution systems for military, marine, homeland security and disaster relief markets. Systems are typically supplied for harsh environments – on the move or in remote locations away from the grid, where users require highly mobile, high-specification solutions up to 1MW. Rolls-Royce has a long established history of collaborating with other engine manufacturers. Throughout Europe and the United States, Rolls-Royce depends on the expertise and experience of partners to provide products and services customers have come to rely on.
- AirTanker Holdings Limited – AirTanker is contracted to provide the Royal Air Force (RAF) with an air transport and air-to-air refuelling service. Cobham, EADS, Rolls-Royce, Thales UK and VT Group collaborate in the partnership.
- Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Limited – This joint venture has developed and mass-produced two aero-engines, the Adour turbofan and the RTM322 turboshaft.
- Turbo-Union Limited – A joint venture between FiatAvio, MTU and Rolls-Royce. The company produces the RB199, a turbofan developed for the Panavia Tornado.
- Europrop International GmbH (EPI) – A joint venture between MTU, Snecma, Rolls-Royce and Industria de Turbo Propulsores. The product is the TP400, a 10,700 shaft horsepower turboprop developed for the Airbus Military A400M.
- EuroJet Turbo GmbH – A partnership between Rolls-Royce, Avio, ITP, MTU formed in 1986 to manage the development, production, support, maintenance and sales of the EJ200 turbofan engine for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
- MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce Gmbh (MTR) – A joint venture between MTU, Turbomeca and Rolls-Royce. The partnership focuses on the manufacturer of the MTR390, a turboshaft developed for the Eurocopter Tiger.
- LHTEC (Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company) – A joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell to develop the T800 turboshaft engine. The company has sold CTS800 for the August Westland Super Lynx and Future Lynx.
- OSys (Optimized Systems and Solutions, LLC) – A wholly owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce, OSys delivers solutions that ensure the safe and profitable operation of mission-critical customer assets.
Rolls-Royce Marine Group provides a range of capabilities and expertise for – merchant vessels, naval surface ships, submarines and offshore vessels. Our primary focus is on power, propulsion and motion-control solutions, serving over 2,000 customers and equipment installed on over 30,000 vessels globally. Rolls-Royce Marine Group involvement in naval propulsion spans 50 years and has seen the company pioneer two of the most important technical advances in marine propulsion – the use of aero gas turbines for surface ship propulsion and the development of nuclear propulsion for the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet. The world's most powerful marine gas turbine, the Rolls-Royce MT30 powers Lockheed Martin's, flight 0 Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and is also included in the baseline design for two proposed Royal Navy aircraft carriers.
Rolls-Royce can trace its roots in the marine industry back as far as 1849 - a time span which includes the development of many ground breaking technologies, from the development of the controllable pitch propeller, tunnel thruster and nuclear propulsion for Royal Navy submarines - to marine aero-derivative gas turbines, waterjets and innovative offshore vessel designs. One of Sweden’s first railways requires a repair workshop; founded in 1849, this workshop was the forerunner of Kamewa, the present Rolls-Royce AB. In 1871 Brown Brothers, the Scottish marine engineering company was founded.
The Marine Group forecast a demand for marine power and propulsion systems valued at US$215 billion over the next 20 years. Demand will be greatest in the commercial sector, where the shipping of raw materials, finished goods and people, in addition to oil and gas exploration and production activity, play crucial roles in the world economy. These activities require large fleets of specialised and increasingly sophisticated ships, which have to be continually renewed and supported to remain operationally efficient. Merchant and offshore markets are rarely at the same stage of the business cycle, which helps to reduce overall volatility. While naval markets are driven by different considerations, customers are similarly seeking to get more from their budgets, leading to increasing demand for integrated systems and through-life support arrangements.
Rolls-Royce announced 16 January 2017 that it had in principle reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Rolls paid millions of pounds in bribes - or used middlemen to pay them - to win civil and military deals in about a dozen countries. Allegations include Rolls paying a $20m (£12.9m) bribe in return for Indonesia flag-carrier, Garuda, buying Rolls' Trent 700 engines for its Airbus A330 airliners. A deal to supply jet engines for Hawk fighter training aircraft to India had also been under scrutiny, with claims a “suspicious payment” was made to win the deal.
In total, the agreements, if finalised, would result in the payment of approximately £671m. Under the terms of the agreements with the DoJ and MPF, Rolls-Royce agreed to make payments to the DoJ totalling $169,917,710 and to the MPF totalling $25,579,179. Under the terms of the DPA with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Rolls-Royce will pay £497,252,645 plus interest under a schedule lasting up to five years, plus a payment in respect of the SFO’s costs. Implicated in the mega corruption scandal known as Lava Jato (Carwash), Rolls-Royce announced it had reached an accord with Brazil’s Ministerio Publico Federal (Public Prosecutor’s Office) to pay US$25 million for bribery and corruption charges. In 2015 the British company was accused of paying bribes to Petrobras employees for a US$100 million contract with the Brazilian state-owned oil giant.
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