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Rolls-Royce acquires Siemens' electric aerospace propulsion business



There’s plenty of talk these days about the future of air travel. With climate change rising to the top of many people’s agendas the search is on for a cleaner, greener way of propelling aircraft into the skies. To-date, these efforts have been confined to niche start-ups, but with Rolls-Royce’s acquisition of Siemens’ Electric and Hybrid-Electric aerospace propulsion business this week, it seems these efforts are about to seriously scale-up.
Rolls-Royce acquires Siemens' electric aerospace propulsion business
(Image via Siemens).

The former Siemens business unit (known as the eAircraft business until this week’s acquisition), is based across locations in Germany and Hungary and employs 180 specialist electrical designers and engineers who have been developing a range of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion solutions for the aerospace industry. 

The acquisition follows a period of intense collaboration between Siemens and Rolls-Royce, when the two companies were working on the E-Fan X demonstrator programme.

“We are very pleased with the rapid execution of the necessary legal and procedural steps to complete this acquisition,” said Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical. “We are welcoming our new colleagues into Rolls-Royce today and look forward to working with them to pioneer new technologies and solutions.”

“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, and our new colleagues will add vital skills, expertise and new technology to our portfolio.”

To-date, both Rolls-Royce and Siemens have conducted a series of ground tests of a hybrid propulsion system that can be used across a range of smaller transport platforms including EVTOLs (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft, and hybrid helicopters. These tests have formed part of a wider comprehensive hybrid aerospace turbine engine development programme. The programme is aiming for an experimental test flight in 2021.

The closing of the deal is the latest in a series of electrification announcements from Rolls-Royce. At the end of August, the aerospace giant launched a joint research programme on zero-emissions aviation with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia. The programme is part of the airline’s ambition to replace and electrify its legacy regional fleet by 2030.

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Tags: Engineering
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Rolls-Royce acquires Siemens' electric aerospace propulsion business - Time to read 2 min
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