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the magazine ISSUE 138 SEPTEMBER 2013

for customers

1,000mph man The Bloodhound adventure

Future flagship New carriers for the Royal Navy

Airborne analysis Flight testing the A350 XWB

China Special Edition 50 years of Rolls-Royce in China

Rolls-Royce is a global company providing integrated power solutions for customers in aerospace, marine and energy markets. We support our customers through a worldwide network of offices, manufacturing and service facilities.

Welcome to the September issue This is a ‘China special’, celebrating 50 years of working closely with the People’s Republic. In addition, we are driving at 1,000mph, flight testing the A350 XWB and inspecting the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers. For over 30 years the magazine has been highlighting how Rolls-Royce works closely with customers all over the world. Providing power systems for use on land, at sea and in the air. Seeking to be ‘trusted to deliver excellence’ in all we do. We hope you find this latest issue both informative and entertaining.

David Howie Editor


inside the magazine

14 Bloodhound

Editorial Board Tom Bell, Ian Craighead, Simon Goodson, Lawrie Haynes, Andrew Heath, Peter Morgan, Mark Morris, John Paterson, Colin Smith, Tony Wood

Rolls-Royce is an official sponsor of ‘Bloodhound’, the engineering project that aims to set a new land speed record of 1,000mph, but just as importantly, inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists along the way.

Editor: David Howie Design & Production: Hubert Burda Media UK LP Print: Pureprint Group Printed in England ISSN 0142-9469 © Rolls-Royce plc 2013 the magazine September 2013 Rolls-Royce plc 65 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AT England

18 Future flagship In this issue we celebrate 50 years of working with China.

2 China insight Patrick Horgan is the Rolls-Royce Regional Director for China. As the company celebrates 50 years of partnership with the People’s Republic he gives us an expert view of doing business in this unique country.

22 A350 XWB – airborne analysis The successful first flight of the A350 XWB was only the start of the comprehensive flight test schedule before the aircraft and its Rolls-Royce engines enter service.

6 Pacific powerhouse Cathay Pacific goes from strength to strength, opening new routes to Europe and the US; continuing to develop Hong Kong as an important hub in Asia and to mainland China.

12 Engine experts Hong Kong Aero Engine Services is developing its business significantly. It is a major component repair shop and over 50 per cent of the global Trent 700 fleet is serviced there. Front cover:

In No.1 Dock at Rosyth in Scotland, the distinctive shape of the first Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier is beginning to form. Building the two 65,000 tonne carriers is one of the largest and most complex engineering programmes in Europe.

26 Supplying the navy – practice makes perfect Ship to ship replenishment is difficult and potentially hazardous. How do you train crews to do it successfully? The answer is to build a training facility on land.

30 The transformational Dart It was in production for more than 40 years and it is still operating today. The first Dart engine ran in 1946.

The Bloodhound car will attempt to break the land speed record in 2015, powered by an EJ200. ISSUE138 1

CHINA INSIGHT Our Regional Director in Beijing, Patrick Horgan, gives us the inside story on China, its growth and the opportunities for Rolls-Royce. his is the single biggest geopolitical story of our lifetime. The development of China; lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty; the emergence of the country as the world’s second largest economy; it is a hugely fascinating and exciting process to be part of. Watching it, you feel like you have got a ringside seat at the world's greatest show. I am most fortunate having seen all of this from the late ‘80s until now. Privileged that my time here has coincided with


the period of greatest reform. I have been working and doing business in China for 24 years. I first came here in the late 1980s and became intrigued. I studied Chinese and then did four years with Jardine Matheson in Hong Kong. Thereafter I spent a large proportion of my career working on direct investment in the Chinese market and, for a brief period, in a diplomatic role here. This was during the period when China was going from relatively closed to relatively open. Rolls-Royce of course has had a much

50 years in China


Dart engine enters service in China.



On the Great Wall, Sir William Cook, Sir Kenneth Keith and Sir Stanley Hooker pictured with their Chinese hosts.


RB211-535E4 enters service with China Southern on the Boeing 757.


Tay 650 enters service on Fokker 100 with China Eastern Airlines.


longer presence. Our Dart engine entered service in China in 1963 on the Vickers Viscount aircraft – hence our 50th anniversary celebrations. Following on from that early market entry, we did a Spey engine licensing deal in the 1970s, which interestingly is one of the things that – among the current aerospace community in China – is a very well-known event, and something that is appreciated as a valuable contribution to the engineering capability in China. The 1970s was a very early stage to be doing something as bold as that. It was so unusual because in 1975 the Cultural Revolution had not even finished and very few western companies were present in China at that time. One of the reasons I think it’s important to mark our 50th anniversary is that despite the


CAAC/Rolls-Royce Training Centre starts operation.

fact that China has a long and illustrious history, if you look at the People’s Republic of China, it is a young country, created in 1949. In the period since that time it has experienced turmoil and isolation and was relatively cut off from the rest of the world until the late 1970s/early ‘80s when reform and liberalisation began to take hold. So there is an appreciation of those companies that have longevity in the market. We can point to 50 years of collaboration with China, a record of continuous support for Chinese aerospace and in addition we have been steadily building up our other businesses here over that period. That’s worth bringing to people’s attention. That longevity does imply a degree of commitment and partnership and those are important messages here. People in aerospace know us very well


Rolls-Royce wins key $150 million Chinese West-East pipeline (WEPP) contract.


indeed and there are some people in the aerospace community in China who have studied Rolls-Royce and know more about the company and its history than some of our own employees. They are familiar with our development and our current status. Growth inevitably draws attention so our presence is getting better understood. We have several large airline customers here in China; it is not just one national airline. For others they are surprised to learn that there is this company called Rolls-Royce that is in marine, energy and civil nuclear sectors and is a world leader in some of them. There is further surprise and revelation when they begin to understand the extent to which we have significant operations in this part of the world. In 2012 Rolls-Royce did £1.25 billion of business in Greater China.

Rolls-Royce opens new marine factory in Shanghai to serve the world’s largest shipping market.


An additional six industrial RB211s ordered for Line 3 of the WEPP project.

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China Footprint ■■ XI’AN ■ SUZHOU ■ Civil Aerospace ■ Marine ■ Energy ■ Supply Chain ■ Civil Nuclear ■ Joint Ventures







It is fair to say that doing business in China is not entirely like doing business in other parts of the world. While the laws of physics and human nature still apply, if you look at what China is, you can see that there are important economic and political differences that need to be understood and appreciated. Defining characteristics obviously include size – this is a continent sized economy – it is the world’s most populous nation containing a fifth of all humanity and each province of China equates to a country in other parts of the world, in terms of both population and GDP. As well as being the world’s second largest aerospace market, China is the world’s largest shipbuilder, the largest energy consumer and the largest producer of emissions. It also has the world’s largest civil nuclear programme. If you map the Rolls-Royce business portfolio onto China as a marketplace, then you can see the synergies. These are points of scale that are significant but one other defining characteristic of course is the primacy of government within the system. While there has been a lot of reform and liberalisation over the last 40 years we are still in an environment where many sectors


have state prominence or outright state control. And that includes all of the sectors we operate in. If you look at our customers in China, they often fold up into being a customer in the form of the Chinese state: state-owned civil nuclear operators, airlines, petro-chemical companies, shipbuilders and shipowners.

Transitional There are some private sector customers but the bulk of our customer relationships are with state-owned enterprises. That’s not to say that they all think and function in the same way but it is certainly a differentiating characteristic between here and most other markets/countries. China also remains a transitional market where there is an on-going process of development which is the key national agenda. The speed of change is evident all around you with things being torn down and new things being put up constantly. It is simultaneously a developed country and a developing country, defying simple generalisations. China has experienced two-three decades of very rapid growth, and this is the norm that most people here have grown accustomed to.

But it is a transitional economy and what is true today may not be true tomorrow. The speed of growth is slowing, as a deliberate policy choice, but remains significantly faster than that of the mature economies of the West. We have been adding to our footprint in China recently and expanding what we do here and I think it’s inevitable that that process will continue as a response to customer demand and to China’s economic growth. If we are serious about meeting our customer needs and we recognise now that we have a huge customer in China Inc. then there will be continued expansion in this market.

Familiar That will require us to operate in a more joined up way too. We have 23 sites here and I think we need to build up our tools and capability to manage that effectively. If we are going to be successful here there is a requirement on us to think what that means in terms of our people needs: more people in our global management teams who are exposed to and familiar with China on a first hand basis. I would like to see us giving people the opportunity to spend a decent period of time here and get to understand how things work. It also requires us to give Chinese colleagues and leaders of the future more exposure to the rest of Rolls-Royce around the world and evidence of career progression in our more traditional markets. It is not that there is just one thing we need to do, there is a dashboard of activities that we need to consider and to track. Increasingly the story of China Inc. is not something that is confined to its national borders. There is a mandate for Chinese companies to pursue a global agenda and we see Chinese companies growing and investing overseas now. This presents new opportunities to partner and grow with them as they expand overseas.

Above A Rolls-Royce powered compressor station on the West-East China pipeline. Above right The WestEast pipeline crossing the Yellow River. Right Hainan Airlines, China Eastern and Air China are all major customers of the Rolls-Royce Trent engine family.

Below left China Southern took delivery of the Trent 900-powered A380 in 2011. Below and right The Rolls-Royce Marine Service Centre in Shanghai.

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65 million people passed through Hong Kong airport last year – eight times the population of the region – and nearly half of the aircraft movements at the airport are by Cathay Pacific or its sister airline Dragonair.

Pacific POWER HOUSE ong Kong continues to be a gateway to and from Asia, for people, for cargo, ideas, capital and innovation. Hong Kong is one of two special administrative regions (SARs) in the People’s Republic of China, the other being Macau. With a land mass of only 426 square miles, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Its economy and reputation have been built on expertise in finance and trade, an approach that continues today.



Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship airline, plays a central role in connecting it to the world and also, vitally, to the economic powerhouse that is China and the fast growing air travel market it represents. The airline flies to 177 destinations and 40 countries/territories. Ivan Chu, Chief Operating Officer for Cathay Pacific explains: “I think it is essential for Hong Kong that Cathay Pacific is a strong and successful airline. It is evident that people recognise Hong Kong as a hub, uniquely positioned in


the South of China. We are within five hours flying time of half the world’s population. “China has been very successful in establishing itself as the production capital of the world and the two economic engines for growth are the Pearl River Delta, just next door to us, and the Yangtze River Delta (on which sits Shanghai).”

Premier Cathay is well aware of the airline traffic emerging directly from mainland China but has developed its own strategy to serve the increasing demand and ensure that Hong Kong’s role remains and continues to be strong and vibrant. Cathay Pacific’s brand reputation as a premier international carrier is clearly a huge benefit in this strategy. Its subsidiary airline, Dragonair, is well established as the feed into, and

out of, 22 destinations in mainland China itself. Dragonair is growing an enviable reputation in its own right having been voted the world’s best regional airline three times out of the last four years. The merger of Dragonair and Cathay Pacific in 2006 has benefitted both to the extent that each feeds the other. Dragonair delivers international passengers from the mainland China locations to the Hong Kong hub and similarly Cathay brings traffic from its regional and global network to feed the routes into China served by Dragonair. If you want to understand better how air travel within China is developing then you need only look at the changing passenger profile of Dragonair’s customers. Over 70 per cent are now ethnic Chinese, whereas 10-20 years ago the profile of passengers was nearly all business travellers and many of ISSUE138 7

them Western. That has changed significantly with many more Chinese nationals travelling for business, leisure and pleasure. Last year Cathay found the poor economic situations in Europe and North America affecting its business and of course high fuel costs for a long-haul carrier have a major impact too. The airline estimates that fuel is its biggest single cost at below 40 per cent – more on longer routes. However, the North American economy has recovered somewhat and although Europe clearly has more to do in terms of re-building, there are signs of improvement. The airline recently gained a fifth daily slot to London Heathrow and says it is already running at 95 per cent capacity. Cathay also believes there are new route opportunities still to exploit in Europe. Strong business to Europe is emerging from areas such as the east China city of Wenzhou, where there is traffic keen to visit countries like the UK, France and Italy. With such increasing interest the COO says that there will be some ‘rebalancing’ to do in terms of overall route structure, with


more emphasis on Europe when the opportunities arise. For trans-Pacific business the outlook is bullish. For example, Cathay already operates four flights a day from Hong Kong to New York, with a fifth to Newark coming up in March next year. Business comes from across mainland China to support such frequent routes, not just from Beijing and Shanghai. For example, Chinese investors and businessmen from the city of Fuzhou travel regularly to New York as many have significant interests on Wall Street.

Bullish “We are confident about trans-Pacific business; we are very strong already on Asia regional routes and China business; and, in Europe we see good and strong spots that can still grow. I think it is difficult to be too bullish about Europe maybe for one or two years yet but there is no doubt that it is still a good market for Cathay,” says Chu. Because fuel is such a huge part of the airline’s cost basis, having the most efficient fleet available is essential to

Above Ivan Chu is currently COO and takes over the CEO position in March 2014. Right Cathay crew sign in and passengers check in.

successful operations. The largest aircraft fleet the airline operates is the Trent 700-powered A330. With Dragonair’s A330s included, this fleet numbers 56 and that makes the group the largest operator of the aircraft-type in the world. Other Rolls-Royce powered Cathay aircraft include 17 Boeing 777s and 18 Boeing 747-400s (including freighters, three of which are dry leased to Air HongKong). The relationship between Cathay, Airbus and Rolls-Royce on the A330 aircraft has been long and loyal. Cathay was the first airline to put the Trent 700-powered A330 into service in 1995, it received the 1,000th Trent 700 engine from Rolls-Royce in 2011 and in July this year Cathay took delivery of the 1,000th Airbus A330. Speaking at the Airbus event, Ivan Chu emphasised the importance of the Trentpowered aircraft to his fleet when he said: “The A330 has played an integral part in Cathay Pacific’s growth and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership in the future. The A330 is the backbone of our mid-size fleet and we are delighted with the reliability, flexibility and above all the economics of this great aircraft.” It’s a theme that Cathay Pacific’s Engineering Director, Christopher Gibbs, echoes when he describes why Cathay have been, and continue to be, an advocate for the Trentpowered A330. “Rolls-Royce developed the Trent 700 specifically for the A330, whereas the other two engine makers used engine derivatives for the airframe. I think the biggest benefit of the A330 combination of Airbus and Rolls-Royce is that the product positioning has been quite clever. The aircraft has just the right range, right payload and, is very efficient at delivering it.”

Gibbs leads the 400-strong engineering function in the airline which, in his words, is primarily responsible for ‘managing’ not doing. Cathay’s approach is to manage the engineering activity globally with a range of partners carrying out the engine and aircraft maintenance. All the Trent engines are on TotalCare programmes with Rolls-Royce and although many of the engines pass through the Hong Kong-based HAESL workshop, that work is placed by Rolls-Royce rather than Cathay. Gibbs sits on the Board of HAESL and makes the point that 65 per cent of the business won by HAESL comes from around the world, not locally, which he believes is a testament to its capability as a high-performing engine maintenance business. (see side article on HAESL). According to Gibbs, the role of engineering in the airline has changed quite noticeably in the last few years. “We spend much less time doing detailed evaluations on the technical aspects of an engine now and much more on the potential for development and improvement over the life of the product and its airframe. “We also give a lot more of our time and attention to the products inside the aircraft. Everything from seats and galleys to in-flight entertainment systems. If you consider seating alone, our commercial and operations teams will be closely involved in designs but engineering ensures that the seat looks and functions in five years’ time, just as it did on the day it was introduced to the fleet.” Seating is one area that Gibbs has focused on recently. The airline has undergone a significant seating upgrade across the fleet. “I personally spent a lot of my time developing our new business class seat which has won a Skytrax award. We have upgraded business class across the

It is evident that people recognise Hong Kong as a hub, uniquely positioned in the South of China.

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fleet and the feedback is that the new seat feels like a firstclass seat in a business-class cabin.” Engineering play a significant role too when new aircraft are being considered for the future. The triumvirate of Cathay, Rolls and Airbus will be continuing its association with the airline having committed to 48 new Airbus A350 XWBs with Trent XWB engines. The first of which is due in 2016. “The A350-900s will open up new routes to some destinations which we may think of as longer-thinner routes but with this aircraft they now become viable. The -1000 versions will perform a similar role to our existing long-range 777ERs but it will be much more efficient. You can see that just from the engine thrust: a 777ER engine needs 115K lbs thrust whereas the Trent for the -1000 will require only 97K lbs thrust.

Advanced “Our engineering team is preparing right now for the introduction of the A350 XWB; we are choosing what we want to incorporate on our first A350-900s looking at the seats, IFE systems, avionics and hardware like wheels and brakes. “We are experienced in bringing new aircraft into the airline but having said that, the technology on the A350 XWB is much more advanced and certainly more software-driven on many of the systems.” As the new airframes come in, the older ones will gradually exit. Cathay is working through a planned process of taking its Boeing 747-400s with RB211 and PW4000 engines out of service. They are already mostly off the longer routes but still operating on inter-region Asia routes, where they still perform well. On 20 of the routes Cathay serves in Asia it competes directly with low-cost carriers, yet it has not adopted this model or, unlike some other major carriers, even gone into a joint venture to create a competitive offering in the low-cost arena. “We have looked at this time and time again but I believe it would be difficult to sustain a low-cost carrier business from an airport like Hong Kong,” says Chu. “The airport is nearly full and we think it will be at capacity by 2017 in terms of arrival and departures slots – so that is a real inhibitor. However we also have no evidence of losing market share to


low-cost carriers. Our plan is to continue to strengthen our business model in first and business class, to introduce a new Premium class – which we already have on 70 aircraft – and to continue to strive to be different and better.“ The airline’s strength lies not just in passenger movements but in Hong Kong’s pre-eminence as a cargo hub. “Cargo is a huge part of our business, about 25-30 per cent. We have been re-shaping our fleet to bring in more modern and efficient aircraft and to recognise the changes in the market place too. “We are seeing a constant miniaturisation of electronics although the demand remains, but we have also ‘let the genie out of the bottle’ in terms of allowing people the opportunity to have fresh food or other goods available from all over the world at any time of the year. Modern society expects it and that is not going to go away,” he says. As part of the structural changes the airline has also opened a HK$ 5.9 billion cargo terminal. It is in the process of ramping up activity and will be fully operational by the end of the year. Chu explains: “We are one of the biggest cargo carriers in the world. We needed more capacity and we want state-ofthe-art systems. At the moment the transit time for cargo through Hong Kong is around eight hours, we intend to reduce that to three. This will be the world’s most efficient cargo terminal.”

Committed Cathay also has another cargo business in partnership with Air China, a joint venture called Air China Cargo based in Shanghai. It is one of a number of arrangements that the two airlines have in place to benefit each other. Although Cathay Pacific is a member of the oneworld Alliance and Air China of Star Alliance, this has not prevented the two airlines embarking on pragmatic bi-lateral arrangements. The two airlines are committed partners, with Air China holding a 29.9 per cent share of Cathay Pacific and Cathay holding around 20 per cent of Air China. Chu is keen to emphasise that it is much more than just a balance sheet or political arrangement. “We work together on product development and we code share between Hong Kong and China where appropriate.

Top left Christopher Gibbs, Engineering Director. Above left Main street in ‘Cathay City’ the airline’s headquarters. Above A Trent powered Dragonair A330. Above right A Trent 700 being worked on in the hangar.

We also have a tri-party ground handling business at the international and national airports in Shanghai which is a joint venture of Cathay Pacific, Air China and the Shanghai Airport Authorities.” So as Cathay looks to the future how does the COO feel about prospects? “We are in the right place at the right time – not just in China – in Asia. We are in a developing market that will lead the world in terms of growth for both passenger and cargo business. “We also understand service and we have built our reputation on delivering service that comes ‘straight from the heart’ and that is not easy for competitors to emulate. In

this part of the world people take pride in delivering good service. We hire people with that attitude and then train and mentor them to make it the best it can be. “We believe that discerning passengers can tell the difference and I strongly resist the notion of commoditisation in our business, that everything is competed on price. If you have the right products and deliver the best service then you will win and retain customers. That’s our model and I believe it’s the right one.”

Author: David Howie is Director of Brand for Rolls-Royce. He joined the company from a marketing consultancy and prior to that was a press officer.

The aircraft has just the right range, right payload and, is very efficient at delivering it.

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An aero engine maintenance business in Hong Kong is a world leader in component repair and overhauling of Trent 700s.

lthough Hong Kong Aero Engine Services Limited (HAESL) has been going for 16 years it is predated by the engine overhaul business that existed previously at Kai Tak – the old Hong Kong international airport. That engine shop was part of the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO) and its activities centred on supporting Cathay Pacific’s Rolls-Royce engines. HAESL emerged from those beginnings and its development coincided with the move to Chep Lap Kok airport and the expansion of the Rolls-Royce fleet entering service across Asia. Richard Kendall is the Director and General Manager at HAESL, having taken up position two years ago, however this is a return stint in the role for Richard, as he previously held the role at HAESL from 2004-06.


Growth So how has the business changed since he was here ten years ago? “It has changed fundamentally,” he claims. “In fact it is almost twice the size. That growth comes from two areas, the level of work and activity in overhauling the engines is now greater as the products become more mature in their life-cycle. “In addition we have grown immensely the amount of component repair capability here. We now have eight Rolls-Royce ‘centres of excellence’ on component work based here – at gold or silver levels of accreditation. “Last year we worked on a record 230 engines which represented 1.6 million man hours sold.” HAESL employs 1,100 people and last year recruited over 200 into the company. Recruits come largely from within Hong Kong and most of the training is done in house with


a small amount outsourced to the local technical college. The company also has a well-established graduate training scheme. Originally Cathay Pacific contracted directly with HAESL and its fleet represented a large chunk of HAESL’s workload, mainly on RB211-524 and Trent 700 engines. However all Cathay Pacific’s Trent engines now operate under a Rolls-Royce TotalCare contract and so, although they are Cathay engines, HAESL’s business on them now comes via Rolls-Royce.

Global Trent 700s are the majority of engines going through HAESL. It is a very successful engine in the whole Asia region with all of the major Chinese airlines operating them and all of their engines consequently passing through HAESL’s doors. The company has also been successful in securing Trent 700 business from the Middle East with carriers like Etihad and Emirates. “More than 50 per cent of the global fleet of Trent 700s comes through here,” says Richard Kendall. “The engine is very much our bread and butter and it will be until the Trent XWB starts to come through in a few years’ time.” “We will almost certainly need to do some expansion in preparation for the arrival of the Trent XWB, which is due to be here (in Asia) from 2015. The physical footprint of an engine of that scale means that we will need more space. It has also sold particularly well in the region so there will be volume to consider too. Its introduction will be very significant for our business in the future. We expect to see the Trent XWB become dominant over the next 15-20 years just as the Trent 700 is dominant at the moment.”


Originally conceived as a joint venture of Swire Group’s HAECO and Rolls-Royce 16 years ago, Hong Kong Aero Engine Services Ltd (HAESL) soon became a three-way partnership that includes Singapore Airlines Engineering Company, and it has grown to become a major aero engine maintenance centre in Asia.

HAESL is also a 20 per cent shareholder in SAESL its equivalent engine maintenance workshop in Singapore.

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Bloodho Driving excitement in engineering at hen you’ve already become the sole human being to exceed the speed of sound in a car, what else is left to achieve on four wheels? Having set the world land speed record of Mach 1.02 (1,228kph, or 763mph) in the twin Rolls-Royce Spey 202 powered Thrust SSC jet car in 1997, that’s the question Royal Air Force fighter pilot Andy Green found himself pondering long after the dust had settled from the ground-breaking supersonic return run across the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, US. Before too long, Green and his old friend and second fastest man on earth, Richard Noble, supplied their own answer: “Our next target is to achieve 1,000mph on land.” Noble, who led the Thrust SSC project, recalls their conversation. “Andy and I met because we knew a potentially strong US team was planning to take our speed record from us. We had three options: do nothing, or wait until we knew more about the US team’s plans and then respond, or do something right away. We chose the latter. “We also decided not to aim to beat our land speed record by just eight or ten per cent but to create the ultimate high-speed car and go for a full 30 per cent increase in the world land speed record.” Bold words. But now, six years later, their plans for the ultimate car are evolving into the bold shape of the Bloodhound Project. This remarkable vehicle unites a modern, lightweight and powerful EJ200 jet engine from a Eurofighter Typhoon, a hybrid rocket motor, a Formula 1 racing-car engine and of course the man who will drive it: Andy Green.



Bloodhound’s target speed of 1,000mph represents just one of four key aims of the project, explains team leader Richard Noble. “Our prime compelling objectives are to inspire a new generation of engineers and to provide an iconic research and development programme with completely open global access for students,” Noble explains. “Our objective of 1,000mph on land is only ranked third, just in front of our final goal of generating substantial publicity and brand awareness for our sponsors.” The over-riding passion of Noble and his Bloodhound team is to inspire young people and to open their eyes to the opportunities that exist in the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the four ‘STEM’ sectors. These are critical for any country which, like the UK, wishes to remain a powerful technological player on the fiercely competitive world stage. Colin Smith, Rolls-Royce Director of Engineering and Technology, shares Noble’s passion for spreading the STEM message. “Cutting-edge technology keeps Rolls-Royce, and the UK, at the forefront of global business. We understand the fundamental importance of inspiring young people about STEM and know that more needs to be done.”



Inspiration, excitement and education provide the motivation for the Bloodhound Project as it strives to attain an extraordinary new world ‘first’ – with Rolls-Royce firmly on board.


Andy Green plans to beat his own record of being the ‘fastest man on earth’.

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Smith was talking after announcing that Rolls-Royce is to sponsor the Bloodhound Project as part of the company’s commitment to supporting STEM education in the UK. Rolls-Royce engineers are providing key financial and technical support while 56 trained Rolls-Royce ‘Bloodhound ambassadors’ are helping school teachers across the UK deliver Bloodhound-themed lessons. In total, these involve more than 5,500 primary and secondary schools and some 2.5 million children. Ambassadors will play a key role in helping young people make positive career choices. The wider world is set to benefit too – by the unique style of openness the Bloodhound Project sports as it gathers pace. The project’s entire engineering effort is being run on an ‘open access’ basis, meaning people around the world can follow the technological action on their internet screens as the project’s engineers make it happen. For schools and young people in particular, this provides an unprecedented opportunity to capture the excitement of seeing STEM at work as technologists enter utterly uncharted supersonic territory. “No-one has ever designed a car to achieve 1,000mph before so we started with completely blank screens, a lot of ideas and crucial experience of the challenges of going supersonic while travelling on the ground,” recalls Richard Noble. “One such challenge, which we didn’t expect until we encountered it at Mach 1 in Thrust SSC, was a massive increase in drag at the speed of sound. This was caused by supersonic shock waves pummelling the desert surface and churning it into a fluidised bed instead of a hard-packed smooth surface. The effort of this ploughing used an enormous amount of the car’s energy.” Bloodhound engineers are confident they will avoid this hazard by exploiting recent developments in technologies such as computational fluid dynamics, or CFD. The car’s design features an exceptionally smooth underside that should not generate significant shock waves. Initial runway trials in the UK will focus on Bloodhound’s performance and characteristics at relatively low speeds of up to 400kph (250mph), using just its EJ200 jet engine. As experience and technical confidence increases the team will transfer to the chosen test ground (the Hakskeen Pan in Northern Cape, South Africa) in 2015 to begin testing beyond 965kph (600mph) using combined jet and rocket power. The car’s 750bhp Cosworth Formula 1 engine will drive the rocket’s oxidiser pump. Currently Bloodhound is taking shape at the project’s technical base in Avonmouth near Bristol, UK, drawing on the talents of world-class industry and academic experts


in fields such as aerodynamics, structures, control systems and materials. Their challenge remains immense. “This vehicle is designed to travel at higher speeds on the ground than even a latest-generation fighter aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon can attain at low level,” adds Noble. “In many ways achieving 1,000mph on land, or almost 447 metres per second, is more difficult than a space launch as this extreme technology project ventures into completely unknown territory.” At full power Bloodhound will exploit 133,000thp – the combined power of 180 Formula 1 cars. In just one second it will travel the length of four football pitches. At the Hakskeen Pan record-bid venue (chosen for its consistently smooth surface and its 19km length and 3.2km width) Bloodhound will accelerate at a peak of 2G and slow at up to 3G, using airbrakes, parachutes and wheel brakes. Team leaders have identified a need for at least 16 test-run profiles, with two being repeated to achieve ratified land speed records at 1,287kph (800mph) and 1,609kph (1,000mph). First desert runs will be made in 2015 on Hakskeen Pan in South Africa. “The availability of the exceptionally powerful and light-weight EJ200 is absolutely key to our hopes of success,” explains Richard Noble. “Using a single jet engine means we can keep the intake area to the smallest possible size and the highest possible efficiency. We will also benefit by the proven reliability of the EJ200. “The support Rolls-Royce is providing to this programme is invaluable. The highly motivated Rolls-Royce ambassadors will help us reach many more schools and youth groups across the UK. Their experience of working within a first-class aerospace company makes them perfect role models for aspiring engineers. The decision by Rolls-Royce to come on board has sent the world a very clear message about our competency and our intent. “We are already getting clear evidence this project is starting to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists. If we can succeed with the project, the social and economic consequences could be very considerable indeed. When NASA ran the manned spaced series in the 1960s and ’70s the annual production of PHDs increased from 12,000 to 30,000 in ten years. All that is needed is a highly stimulating engineering project and the ability to share it on the web. Author: John Hutchinson is an independent writer on a range of topics including technology. He has worked in various corporate and media communication roles, never far from the leading-edge industry of aerospace.

Richard Noble is leading the Bloodhound project.

Using a single jet engine means we can keep the intake area to the smallest possible size and the highest possible efficiency. Inspiring young engineers is at the heat of the adventure.

An EJ200 is the car’s main engine.

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Future flagship Building the Royal Navy’s two 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers is one of Europe’s largest engineering projects.


No. 1 Dock at Rosyth with HMS Queen Elizabeth in construction.


t is at the very bottom of No.1 Dock in Babcock’s Rosyth dockyard that the true scale of the future HMS Queen Elizabeth becomes most apparent. Gazing upwards from the distinctive bulbous bow – resplendent with the ship’s crest – the steelwork that makes up the ship’s forward blocks towers some seven stories high to the flight deck above, its overhang blotting out the sky above. And looking back down the length of the vessel, the massive hull of the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) future flagship extends at its widest point to fill virtually the entire width of the graving dock (originally built in 1916 but widened three years ago to accommodate the current build of Queen Elizabeth and sister ship Prince of Wales). These two 65,000 tonne displacement vessels – 280m long, 74m wide, and 56m high – will be the RN’s largest ever warships, providing a four-acre sovereign airbase deployable worldwide, independent of host nation support. Viewed from above, No.1 dock and Queen Elizabeth are straddled by a giant Goliath gantry crane able to lift up to 1,000 tonnes from three hooks. Shipped in from China to support the carrier construction programme, the Goliath has been an essential enabler in the assembly of what is in effect a complex 3-D jigsaw puzzle. One of the last pieces of that jigsaw was put in place on 28 June when the ship’s aft island – which will house air traffic control operations – was lowered into position. Just a few sections now remain to be assembled, with the ship platform on schedule to be physically complete by the end of this year. Thereafter, the focus of work on board will transition to outfit, commissioning and whole-ship integration. As Sean Donaldson, Babcock’s Warship Programmes Director & General Manager, explains: “It’s a truly national endeavour, with three companies – BAE Systems, Thales UK and ourselves – working in an Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). “The ships themselves are assembled from large hull blocks and sponson sections fabricated at six yards around the UK – here in Rosyth, on the Clyde, in Birkenhead, on Tyneside, at Appledore in North Devon, and in Portsmouth – that have been transported to Rosyth for consolidation and integration. “But of course, it is far more than just joining up the steelwork. The build programme must also integrate machinery, systems and components being supplied from the wider supply chain across the UK. Nationwide, it is employing about 10,000 people.” The ACA is a ground-breaking alliance founded to improve the delivery of the carrier programme, being structured in such a way so as to ensure that all partners took collective responsibility and ownership of the project, and so share risk and reward.


The vast bow stucture of the vessel. Below Building the carriers is a team effort.

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The Bridge super structure is delivered by barge. Below Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines will deliver the power for the aircraft carriers.


“The alliance was established as a contracting strategy,” says Donaldson, “drawing on contracting models previously used in the North Sea oil and gas industry. “But in fact it’s developed into far more than that. I’d describe it as a way of working, pulling together companies that have unique skills and capabilities so as to best leverage these for the benefit of the programme.” Just as the alliance model has its roots in oil rig construction in the North Sea, many of the engineering practices, construction techniques and project management processes adopted by the ACA have also been brought in from the offshore sector. One example is the Completion Management System. “This is a shared data environment that provides a ‘single point of truth’ for all assurance activities, test records, and system completion status,” explains Donaldson. “It is available for access by all the authorised people on the project, allowing them to see exactly where we are at with regard to welding, pipework, cabling, inspections and so on.” “This is a big challenge when you’re bringing the ship together from multiple blocks and sections manufactured in different yards around the UK,” says Donaldson. “Again, we have established a central function within the ACA with a dimensional control manager who doesn’t physically carry out all the activity on site, but has established a process that provides assurance that the yard dimensional control is in line with the allowed tolerances. “That allows us to recognise early if there are any issues and gives us an opportunity to correct them before we start the physical joining process.” That investment has paid dividends. “We haven’t faced any major alignment issues,” points out Donaldson. “The evidence is there in No.1 Dock. “Everything has been within the tolerances agreed at the outset of the build. On one part of the ship we have blocks from Portsmouth, Glasgow, Newcastle, Rosyth and Appledore all interfacing and it works.” Rolls-Royce is playing its part in the QEC programme as part of a Power and Propulsion Sub Alliance with L-3 Marine Systems UK, GE Power Conversion, and Thales UK (the latter acting on behalf of the main ACA). Collectively the four companies are responsible for the design, procurement, manufacture, integration, test and delivery of all the equipment that will ultimately power and drive the ship. In terms of scope of supply to the QEC programme, Rolls-Royce is supplying a comprehensive range of propulsion equipment and systems. This includes MT30

Sean Donaldson of Babcock with the first carrier in the background.

gas turbines (two per ship), propellers, shaftlines, bearings and thrust blocks, steering gear, rudders, retractable stabilisers and the low voltage electrical system. Donaldson has been impressed with the company’s performance to date. “Delivery, as you would expect from Rolls-Royce, has been right on time,” he observes. “But what has also stood out is the way in which the company has contributed to the overall team effort. That was very much in evidence when we lifted and installed the gas turbines on board Queen Elizabeth earlier this year.” Developing 36MW, each MT30 has been integrated as part of a gas turbine alternator (GTA) weighing a total of 120 tonnes (including the alternator and gas turbine enclosure). The two GTAs are sited in sponsons high up on the starboard side of 4 Deck. “The Rolls-Royce team worked closely with the heavy handling team here at Rosyth to ensure they were installed as per the design. The guys carrying out the installation and Rolls-Royce got a lot of confidence from each other which was down to very close collaboration beforehand.” Looking forward, Donaldson does not underestimate the challenges that will be faced in test and commissioning. At the same time however, he is confident that the ACA is well-placed to deliver.

“The analogy I would use is a relay race. Each stage of the QEC programme has been a massive challenge. For example, if you go back five or six years, engineering was the challenge. “We have moved through that stage into block build. And we have moved through that phase into whole ship assembly, which is now drawing to a close. The next progression is into commissioning, and then whole ship system integration. “So it’s not a sprint, it’s a relay. Different teams have taken the lead at different parts of the programme. That’s where the different strengths of the companies within the Alliance come into play.” He adds: “When you look at what the Alliance is actually delivering in No.1 Dock, the size of it; the scale of it; the people; the companies; there is no doubt, there is always room for improvement, but I think what has been achieved to date in terms of a testament for engineering endeavour within the UK is evidenced in No.1 Dock. There is not one company, no single group of individuals that has done that, but rather a massive UK effort that everyone should be proud of.”

Delivery, as you would expect from Rolls-Royce, has been right on time. But what has also stood out is the way in which the company has contributed to the overall team effort.

Author: Richard Scott is an award winning journalist and commentator specialising in naval operations, technology and wider aspects of maritime security. Currently Consultant Editor-Naval for IHS Jane's, he is also a regular contributor to other national and international technical media.

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A350 XWB

AIRBORNE ANALYSIS When the latest generation Airbus A350 XWB airliner quietly soared into the skies above southern France at 10am on 14 June at the start of a four-hour maiden flight, it was the culmination of a major phase of the Trent XWB engine’s development and the start of another. ince then a 15-month flight test programme has been gathering pace. ‘MSN001’ is currently the only Airbus A350 XWB contributing to what will be



more than 2,500 hours of test flying. Four more aircraft will soon join the programme to prove the airworthiness of the latest generation longrange airliner ahead of its scheduled entry into service next year.

Each aircraft in the development fleet is powered by a pair of 84,000lb thrust Trent XWBs – the sixth in the family of world-leading turbofan engines and the most efficient engine of its kind flying in the world today.


The engine is a fundamental constituent of any new aircraft design, so satisfying the certification standards demanded of both the aircraft and its engines by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) calls for exemplary project management by both companies and consistently excellent communications between the two. An intensive period of development tests followed the engine’s first run in 2010, involving 12 engines and 5,186 running hours, to meet a strict set of predetermined milestones. Engine certification on 7 February 2013 cleared the way to begin the current A350 XWB flight test programme. The engine has just achieved 10,000 cycles, an important milestone in the journey to entry into service. Meanwhile, Airbus also laid foundations for an effective flight test programme by installing a ground-based systems integration test bench

– or ‘Iron Bird’ – that comprised a representative layout integrating hydraulic and electrical networks with controls to validate functionality. The addition of integration simulators enabled virtual flight tests prior to actual take-off. Rolls-Royce began assembling a top-quality flight test crew in Toulouse by appointing Giuliano Ripamonti as team leader in 2011. Their initial task was to support a flying test bed (FTB) programme – that saw a Trent XWB installed in ‘No 2’ position on an A380 flying test bed. First flight of ‘FTB1’ took place in February 2012, undertaking a range of performance and operability trials.

Satisfying A second engine, FTB2, conducted hot and cold weather trials. FTB3 flew earlier this year, incorporating latest standard hardware and satisfying some early aircraft certification requirements. The FTB programme logged more than 370 engine hours and 280 flight hours. The Rolls-Royce team in Toulouse currently comprises ten mechanics and ten engineers,

though it is planned to grow based on future programme support needs. “Our role is firstly to keep the product safe, by maintaining engines making sure they are operated to airworthiness standards,” says Giuliano, “and to ensure that all tests are executed with data captured by flight test instrumentation and fed back to Rolls-Royce, as well as following up any powerplant issues.” The team is structured into two shifts, and each day starts with a brief outlining current issues and tasks, while an engineering representative also attends a similar Airbus meeting which outlines any new tasks the master programme may require from the Rolls-Royce team. “There are other regular Airbus meetings we attend, along with fellow sub-system supplier UTAS (ex-Goodrich), including a weekly session where we discuss test strategy and forthcoming activities,” adds Giuliano, stressing just what a vital role rapid and transparent communication plays in the fast-moving engineering programme. “We are representing a much bigger network of people involved in the programme, of course, ISSUE138 23

so we have well-established protocols in place to escalate issues and to ensure relevant information reaches the eyes and ears of the appropriate Rolls-Royce people. “The development organisation – of which our team is a part – is the prime interface, but our network embraces expertise across our design teams, supply chain units and programme management.” The Trent XWB production flow line back in Derby, UK, is busy building, passing off and despatching engines to Toulouse. Once they arrive, typically they are delivered to the podding facility where airframe interface units such as hydraulic pumps, generators and cabin air ducts are installed. Once validated as fully functional, the extensive array of flight test instrumentation is incorporated and the instrumented engine moves onto a slave pylon where nacelle


Giuliano Ripamonti believes that •working so closely with the end product and customer each day is a prime factor in the huge satisfaction he derives from his job as manager of the Rolls-Royce flight test group in Toulouse. “I’m proud to be here because I’m passionate about our product and about aviation. While working under pressure is challenging, it’s a great motivation to be able to see the aircraft take off and return each day,” says the former Milan University graduate, who joined Rolls-Royce in 2000. After roles in Development and Service Engineering, he worked for 18 months alongside Singapore Airlines as an entryinto-service specialist, smoothly guiding the flag carrier’s first six A380s into service, before being appointed to the Flight Test Manager role in Toulouse.


components are fitted for checking. The engine is then moved to a stand and delivered to the Airbus final assembly line, where it is finally installed onto the aircraft and fully prepared to the flight test campaign. MSN001, initially tasked with vibration, load and performance tests and opening up the A350’s flight envelope, has undertaken a number of flights since its airborne debut in June, while engines for MSN003, the second aircraft, have been delivered and are being prepared for installation. This aircraft, scheduled to fly next month, will focus on aircraft and engine performance, including major campaigns covering medium/ high-altitude, and hot and cold weather operations, plus a number of aircraft-engine certification requirements such as water ingestion. The six engines for the remaining flight test

aircraft are in various stages of build before being despatched from Derby. MSN004 is a more lightly instrumented aircraft, covering important operational elements such as ground and external noise. It will join the flight test fleet early next year, as will MSN002 and MSN005 which are both equipped with full cabins and will conduct tests as representative ‘in-service’ aircraft, including route-proving tasks. “We are responsible for all engines, of course, but the two aircraft tasked with proving detailed performance criteria of the aircraftengine combination are the heavilyinstrumented MSN001 and MSN003,” explains Guiliano. “Within the hot-weather campaign to be undertaken by MSN003, for example, we will need to test things like zone temperatures and meet specific certification tasks such as lapse rate take-offs and engine ventilation.” To date, 38 customers have ordered more

The Airbus crew after the first flight and below, employees celebrate the programme’s latest success.

than 700 of the twin-engined A350 XWB aircraft – one of the largest civil airliner order books ahead of service entry. As if preparing the way for that production is not proving busy enough for the Rolls-Royce team in Toulouse, Giuliano is already having to look ahead to the flight test programme of the higher-capacity Airbus A350-1000 and its uprated 97,000lb thrust Trent XWB variant. With first engine run due next year, the Trent XWB-97 will join the Airbus A350-1000 flight test programme in 2016 ahead of its service entry the following year.

Trent XWB by numbers




Evolved Today’s new engine developments pull on a range of lessons learned during every stage of development. “We collect a mass of data, some specific to Airbus’ flight tests, but engine monitoring data is also routinely downloaded every day and fed back to Development’s central database in Derby,” informs Giuliano. “On earlier Trent programmes we evolved ‘Design for Service’, a highly effective engineering function that focuses on lifecycle issues. Any potential issue is considered during the design phase and ‘retired’ during the succeeding development programme. Building knowledge in this way, we can eliminate any disruption such issues might previously have caused and, at the same time, accelerate the maturity of future engine developments. “A similar Service Engineering project also manages information to identify the top disruption drivers and reliability issues and eliminate them.” With such an experienced team managing the programme, the Airbus A350 XWB can look forward to a smooth entry into service next year.

Author: Gary Atkins writes on a range of industrial, engineering and technology topics. With a background in corporate PR and communications, his main focus is on high-technology sectors including aerospace, marine and specialist manufacturing.

1,000 MPH








Practice makes perfect When the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, the largest surface warships ever constructed in the UK, enter service, their sheer size and a voracious appetite for supplies needed to keep such vessels at sea for months, will present the navy with a real challenge. ow will supply ships be able to replenish the carriers with supplies – both solid and liquid – for the ship, its crew, its aircraft and its armaments? Part of the answer lies among the lush green countryside in Cornwall around HMS Raleigh, at Torpoint, the Royal Navy’s largest training establishment in the South West, where a field of newly-sown grass will, for the sake of training for all future navy recruits, become a visual representation of the sea between one of the new Queen Elizabeth class of aircraft carriers and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) supply ship. That the ‘sea’ condition for this stretch of grass will be at sea state 5 – in naval terms that is a 4-5 metre swell with up to 30 knots of wind – adds to the authentic nature of the Land-Based Demonstrator for Heavy Replenishment at Sea (HRAS). The demonstrator has been designed and built by Rolls-Royce under a £25 million contract awarded in early 2011, around ten years after the facility was first envisioned. The need for the new training facility has been driven by the heavier loads that the new Royal Navy carriers – the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales – will require. Trials at the facility are now being carried out by Rolls-Royce, prior




Cargo being transferred at the land-based training facility and (above) a graphic demonstration of what the system is replicating.

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to it being handed over to the Royal Navy, scheduled for April 2014. This is the first time that the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation through its Commercially Supported Shipping division, has combined a demonstration facility and a training facility, rather than build a demonstrator elsewhere in the UK, then demolish it after the trials have been completed, and build a new training facility. Estimates are that the HRAS solution will save the Ministry of Defence (MoD) somewhere between £10 and £15 million. The trials will allow the MoD to validate data from its ship motion computer modelling and allow Rolls-Royce to prove its HRAS system. The trials will also allow for the joint development of safe operating procedures for the new equipment, which will be fitted to the next generation of RFA supply ships. Captain Bob Fancy, Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, said: “Training is the bedrock of a professional navy and the Royal Navy is a leading nation in setting professional standards.” Very few nations have navies that can undertake full replenishment at sea; in addition to the UK, the other major RAS operators are the US, French, Chinese and Russian navies. “Replenishment at Sea (RAS) is an important capability, meaning that ships can stay on operations rather than return to port for supplies, but it is quite an exacting task for seamen and it can be one of the most dangerous seamanship tasks, particularly in high sea states. “Clearly, health and safety is of paramount importance. It is vital that sailors and RFA personnel can learn to undertake this task in a safe and controlled environment, so that they are properly prepared for the challenges they will face at sea. “We are never complacent, and this facility will only add to our competency,” said Capt Fancy. In addition to the supply tower and receiving structures, the site also has a classroom block that will be able to seat two classes of 32-strong seamanship students. Matt Nadin, Head of Naval Segment Programmes for Rolls-Royce, said that the facility has to demonstrate the technology for five tonne loads on long transfers, with 25 loads per hour of any capacity being shipped in for up to five hours. The design assumption has been maximum volume and maximum weight. “The design of HRAS has been driven entirely by the new carriers. The carriers will have two HRAS stations – one for receiving and one for returning equipment, such as empty missile pods,” said Matt. The siting of the carrier’s receiving area has been governed by watertight door positions, and because aircraft have to be able to move


around the hangar deck. The demonstrator’s five tonne load is required because the carriers have a need for supplies that is considerably higher than a two tonne system can deliver. It has been designed around the engine module for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but another target weight is the maximum weapons load. To cope with these loads, the main jackstay line is tensioned to 18 tonnes, unlike the eight tonne tension for current RAS loads of two tonnes. “Our objective is to prove the system without putting to sea. It could have been done in many ways, including adapting an existing facility, but by coming up with this Land-Based Demonstrator we can also provide a training facility which should last at least 25 years.” The existing RAS training facility at HMS Raleigh is a 21-year-old complex that features the mock-up of a Type 22 frigate, a type now out of service, and part of a tanker – but this did not meet the requirements of the future carriers. The new HRAS facility is built on 4,000 tonnes of concrete which were laid on the site of a former car park, next to an area of special scientific interest because of its wildlife, so the designers had to be environmentally aware. “We had to come up with the right kind of solution – one that was affordable as the MoD wanted value for money. We have been working with the Royal Navy and the RFA from the beginning, to make it suitable for the existing carrier structure, and for what come in future Royal Navy ships,” said Matt. Steel structures which represent the receiving stations for a carrier, a Type 45 destroyer and a Type 23 frigate, and a working Type 23 ship’s bow structure to teach wider seamanship skills, were all built to ship standards from drawings provided by the MoD. The ship structures were built locally by A&P Marine of Falmouth from 500 tonnes of steel provided by Underhill Engineering Ltd of Plymouth. Rolls-Royce designed the main delivery platform, which has a 25 metre steel supply mast, with control rooms on either side that fully replicate

Below left Captain Bob Fancy. Left An operator in the facility control room. Right Graphics show the capabilities of the system.

the rooms on RFA vessels. The tower’s height has meant it has become a landmark for ships entering Plymouth Sound and may be marked on Admiralty navigational maps in the future. The platform at the base of the mast simulates the deck of the supply ship. From this deck edge to the deck edge of the carrier structure, the distance is 55 metres, although the current average RAS operating distance is between 36 and 42 metres. But from the point of suspension of the main jackstay cable from the supply ship to the reception area on the carrier’s hangar deck, built under a canopy to represent the flight deck above, the distance is around 83 metres. “Fifty-five metres apart won’t look far at sea when a 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier is steaming along next to a 40,000 tonne RFA vessel, At that distance, it’s a bit like delivering a letter through a letter box,” said Matt. The ships’ captains will also have to counter the Bernoulli effect of two ships sailing close together, when the bulk of the larger ship has an effect on the sea between and the supply ship can lose power and steerage, and be drawn towards the carrier. Clearly, these conditions can be found at sea only, but Rolls-Royce has devised a way to mimic sea state 5 conditions through a hydraulic motion simulator, governed by winches and motors, that can introduce slack into the tensioned jackstay to mimic the rise and fall of the ships. At sea, dealing with any slack is the responsibility of the supply ship. The Rolls-Royce solid RAS system, which incorporates a traveller under which the payload is slung, also transfers equipment automatically along the tension wire, with the payload stopping automatically on the receiving vessel, or as it returns to the supply vessel, at a pre-programmed point regardless of any change in separation of the vessels. When motion simulations are applied to the five tonne load, the HRAS

facility needs more power than the local grid can supply, so Rolls-Royce has provisioned standby generators capable of supplying 2MW. These are housed next to the mast in a sound-proofed area. Between now and the hand-over of the facility to Commercially Supported Shipping, part of DE&S, and then the hand-over to the Royal Navy, only Rolls-Royce people will be carrying out the HRAS trials for which the objective is to reach Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. The trials will be carried out in all weathers, with different weights up to five tonnes and with different motion factors. At sea, the requirement is to reach TRL 9. Matt said that the intention is that lessons learned during these trials will be fed into future RFA designs for Fleet Solid Support Ships, but the HRAS facility has been designed for legacy. It will be downrated to a two tonne capability and will operate without the need for the additional auxiliary generators. “We will train the navy trainers, and also commission the Type 45 and Type 23 structures at two tonnes before training the navy and RFA back up to five tonnes.” The HRAS training facility’s future owner, Capt Bob Fancy, said HMS Raleigh is extremely proud to be hosting the new facility. Every new sailor who goes to Raleigh – that’s up to about 2,000 young sailors a year – will be shown the HRAS to get a real taste of replenishment at sea and will then come back for more training when they join their ships. “It is a significant investment and will become one of the of most upto-date replenishment training operations in the world. It is world class,” he said.

It is a significant investment and will become one of the most up-to-date replenishment training operations in the world.

Author: Martin Brodie is a freelance writer/media relations consultant following a career as a journalist and as a member of the Rolls-Royce Corporate Communications department, holding senior roles in defence, civil aerospace and corporate headquarters. ISSUE138 29

The transformational

Dart If there is one engine that enhanced the Rolls-Royce lead in gas turbine development while establishing a lasting reputation for reliability, it would be hard to find another more deserving candidate than the Dart.


The gas turbine that transformed air passenger travel


ot just because it had a production cycle lasting for more 40 years, but more so when the circumstances of its design and development as the first gas turbine engine to enter commercial service are taken into account. For this is an engine whose origins date from April 1945 during the last months of the Second World War, an era when detailed drawings were produced in vast drawing offices by designers using pencils and slide rules rather than having the enormous computing capability on which today’s gas turbine engine designers can draw. The Dart’s origins can actually be traced back to Barnoldswick, which had played such an important role in the development of Frank Whittle’s gas turbine engine. It began life as the RB 53, to be the power unit for a new RAF turboprop trainer, and to bridge the technological gap that was emerging between piston engines and the new jet engine, which was being accepted as the ideal power plant for all new front-line military aircraft.


their difficulties. Even before the first run, the Dart had already encountered weight problems. Once test runs began, another problem emerged – the power output was 600 shaft horsepower (shp) instead of the expected 1,000shp. If these issues depressed the Dart team, support and encouragement came from elsewhere in the British aviation manufacturing industry, mainly in the form of Sir George Edwards at Vickers Armstrong. Vickers needed an engine to power the VC2, or Viceroy civil transport aircraft, later renamed the Viscount

and other short-to-medium range services.’ Its 11B specification for a short-range turboprop airliner led to the Air Ministry ordering two prototypes of the Vickers V.630 Viscount from Armstrong Whitworth and Vickers-Armstrong, but the engine specified for these aircraft was the Armstrong Siddeley Mamba, an engine based around an axial compressor. Although there were, at that time, eight aero engine manufacturers, of whom both Bristol with the Cotswold engine and Napier with the Naiad were also working on engines for the

British European Airways (BEA), the most likely customer for the Viscount, expressed a preference for the piston-engined Airspeed Amabassador, powered by Bristol Centaurus piston engines, things started to look a little bleak for the Dart. However, just as Sir George Edwards at Vickers-Armstrong had championed the gas turbine cause, so did BEA’s new chief executive Peter Masefield. Their support was justified in July 1948 when the prototype Viscount made its maiden flight. The aircraft itself was

Viscount requirement, it was Rolls-Royce who later received a development contract for the Dart from the Air Ministry Director of Engine Research and Development. Sir George Edwards wanted an engine, such as the Dart, with a centrifugal compressor, as proven in the Merlin, Griffon, Derwent and Nene engines, rather than one with axial compressor. The Mamba was also the competitor engine for the RAF trainer requirement. The Air Ministry’s faith in the Dart was sorely tested when the first Dart to fly – in a Lancaster in October 1947 – was still overweight and underpowered. When the RAF trainer requirement switched to a piston engine, and

substantially bigger than envisaged by the Brabazon Committee. The 24-seater had become a 32-seater and Vickers soon added a further 15 seats. The Dart itself had undergone a successful recovery programme to address the weight and power issues. Weight had been saved by changes to the reduction gear and air intake casing. Power was recovered by, among other measures, removing air and gas leakages and also by improving component efficiencies, mainly through aerodynamic improvements to the compressor and turbine. The RDa.3 cleared the official production type test at 1,400shp in March 1951 and was

The Dart powered Viscount’s first passenger flight was on 29 July, 1950.

Future Although the Dart programme began its life in Barnoldswick, Rolls-Royce chairman Lord Hives, who after the war had become convinced the company’s future rested in gas turbine technology, decreed that the main design effort for the engine would be in Derby, under the leadership of Lionel Haworth. Haworth had been involved at Derby, together with Stanley Hooker at Barnoldswick, on the development of the Clyde, a two-shaft propeller turbine engine and the first British propeller engine to achieve the new combined civil and military type test. The Dart RDa.1 first ran on a test bed in 1946 but the early days of the engine were not without

following India’s independence in 1947. In today’s fiercely competitive commercial aircraft market, where aircraft are developed to meet market needs – and engines often developed specifically for that new aircraft – it may be difficult to grasp how a government committee could decide on the future shape of civil transport. Yet this was the situation with the Brabazon Select Committee which, from 1943-45, tackled the question of what type of civil transport aircraft would be needed after the war. One of its recommendations was for a 24-seat aircraft powered by four gas turbine engines ‘driving airscrews for European

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first delivered as the Mk 505 production engine in June 1952. Although the Viscount 630 prototype became the first gas turbine powered aircraft to operate on passenger service, flying in BEA colours from London to Paris and London to Edinburgh in July 1950 under a special Certificate of Airworthiness, it was the Viscount 700 production version, powered by the Mk 505 in April 1953, which became the first gas turbine powered aircraft on a fully scheduled passenger service, from London to Nicosia, via Rome

Production of the Viscount at the Vickers facility at Hurn, near Bournemouth, UK.

BEA was particularly impressed with the Dart’s reliability and Athens. By August 1953, one third of BEA’s network was being serviced by Viscounts, which were setting new standards for quietness, comfort and reliability. Much was made of the vibrationfree performance of the Darts, with publicity photographs of the ‘old money’ threepenny bit and a pencil standing on their ends during flight.

Successful The airline was particularly impressed with the Dart’s reliability, with Peter Masefield telling The Times in August 1953 that the engine ‘had been remarkably free of troubles.’ The Dart was particularly successful in North America. Trans-Canada Airlines eventually bought 51 Viscounts and when, in 1953, the upgraded Dart Mk510 was made available, delivering more than 1,500shp, it helped Vickers win an order for what became a total of 70 Viscounts for the US carrier, Capital Airlines. These orders helped the Viscount to become one of the world’s bestselling aircraft; eventually 444


were built for 60 airlines around the world. This included six Viscount 803s ordered by CAAC of China in 1963 – their first order of Western equipment. This was also an order that prefaced a remarkable relationship between Rolls-Royce and China. In ten years, the Viscount had blossomed from an aircraft weighing 34,000lb capable of carrying 24 passengers at cruising speed of 300mph to one weighing 72,500lb carrying 70 passengers and cruising at 350mph. Not surprisingly, the success of the Dart in the Viscount found it many other homes. The twinengined Fokker F27 Friendship made its maiden flight in March 1958 powered by Dart Mk 511s. F27s were built in the United States under a licence agreement with Fairchild. As Fokker and Fairchild both continued to improve the aircraft, Mk 532 engines enabled the cruise speed to be increased and the maximum take-off weight increased to 45,000lb. With F27 variants as executive, military and marine applications, the aircraft became

the Western world’s best-selling turboprop- powered aircraft, totalling nearly 750. The Aviation Traders Accountant, powered by the Dart 508, was the first British twinengined turboprop airliner. It was aimed at the long-haul market, first flew in June 1957 but did not enter production. The Handley Page Herald was the first piston engined aircraft to be converted to turbine power and its Alvis Leonides engines were replaced with two Mk 527 (RDa.7 type) engines. Fifty Dart powered aircraft were built following the aircraft’s entry into service in 1961.

Capable The Armstrong Whitworth 650, later known as the Argosy, was a four-engined freighter powered by the more powerful Mk 532 of 2,030shp capable of take-off power boosted to 2,470shp with water/methanol injection. Its maiden flight was in January 1959, the same year that the Frenchbuilt Breguet Alizé, the first purely military application, entered service. The Alizé was powered by a Mk 21 engine, which was an RDa.7 type engine but with a Mk 510 compressor producing 1,910shp. It entered service with the navies of France and India. The long-standing relationship

between Rolls-Royce and the Gulfstream family of business aircraft began with the Dart Mk 529 engine, rated at 1,990shp, powering the Gulfstream 1 in 1959.

Surprising Other aircraft powered by the Dart were the Avro 748, now the Hawker Siddeley HS. 748, Japan’s Nihon Aeroplane Manufacturing Company YS-11, Fairchild Hillier FH227, Convair 660. Altogether, 7,100 engines were built and a surprising number are still in service. Indeed, Christchurch Engine Centre (CHCEC) in New Zealand is the principal Dart MRO centre in the world with a policy of ’remaining in Dart support long-term.’ The Dart is, therefore, worthy of the title of ’the 80-year engine’, with nearly 40 years of production followed by who knows how many more years in service around the world. Total flying hours currently stand at well over 120 million hours.

Author: Martin Brodie is a freelance writer/media relations consultant following a career as a journalist and as a member of the Rolls-Royce Corporate Communications department, holding senior roles in defence, civil aerospace and corporate headquarters.

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Rolls Royce - The Magazine Issue 138