Rolls-Royce buys Siemens’ electric aircraft division

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Rolls-Royce has agreed a deal to acquire Siemens’ e-Aircraft business.

The company aims to accelerate its electrification strategy and become a major player in the ‘third era’ of aviation.

The acquisition is expected to complete late 2019, following a period of employee consultation.

The eAircraft business, based in Germany and Hungary, employs around 180 specialist electrical designers and engineers who have been developing a range of all-electric and hybrid electric engines for the aerospace industry.

Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “Electrification is set to have as dramatic an impact on aviation as the replacement of piston engines by gas turbines. We are at the dawn of the third era of aviation, which will bring a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport to the skies.”

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer, added: “To support the rising demand for air travel while achieving CO2 emissions targets, the aviation industry is developing increasingly environmentally friendly technologies and practices.

“The electrification of flight is just one part of Rolls-Royce’s commitment to making aviation more sustainable: we are continuing to increase the fuel efficiency of our gas turbines; encouraging the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable aviation fuels; and pursuing the electrification of aviation.”

Rolls-Royce has already run successful ground tests of a hybrid propulsion system that can be used for smaller transport platforms including EVTOLs (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft, and hybrid helicopters.

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