DSEI 2021 – New British military jet developer AERALIS has announced an agreement with Rolls-Royce to meet the company’s propulsion requirements.

Announced this week at DSEI, the agreement has been put in place to provide unmatched access to established UK aerospace resources, as well as a fully integrated digital enterprise.

“As pioneers of power, Rolls-Royce’s mission is to innovate efficient and sustainable power solutions to meet customers’ operational requirements and to protect our planet, secure our world and explore the universe. Rolls-Royce Defence family of digital small propulsion system are being developed rapidly to deliver disruptive and innovative technologies whilst also being more cost effective. AERALIS are keen to take advantage of these advances in propulsion system design for their digitally developed modular air system.

The agreement activity will focus initially on using Rolls-Royce’s propulsion systems powering the pre-production aircraft, and the ability to integrate them digitally in the aircraft design process.”

Given the AERALIS aircraft can be reconfigured with different single and twin-engine modules, the agreement will also go on to explore how Rolls-Royce’s future propulsion system technology can be utilised across multiple AERALIS variant aircraft to meet different operational requirements, exploiting full digital engineering integration from trade studies to in-service operation.

“I’m delighted to see AERALIS and Rolls Royce partnering to develop advanced digital design methodologies and investigate future power systems options for the AERALIS modular aircraft design,” said Air Commodore Jez Holmes, Head of the RAF’s Rapid Capabilities Office.

“This digital engineering and digital twinning approach could deliver considerable savings relative to traditional air system design, development and sustainment, and offer the opportunity for rapid capability adaption. As such, the learning achieved could be broadly applicable across a broad range of acquisition programmes including FCAS.”

Tristan Crawford, CEO of AERALIS said:

“We are delighted to announce our collaboration with such highly capable and respected partner in the industry. The fully integrated digital infrastructure that we will build alongside our aircraft is the first of its kind and we could not think of a better partner to be doing it with. We are excited to be developing this unique and innovative aircraft with such distinguished industry leaders.”

Alex Zino, Executive Vice President Business Development and Future Programmes at Rolls-Royce commented:

“We are looking forward to progressing this innovative programme with AERALIS to help them meet their power and propulsion needs. Innovation is at the heart of all we do at Rolls-Royce and we are committed to developing disruptive and cutting-edge technologies that will help advance this programme.”

Earlier in the year, I reported that Aeralis had agreed a three-year contract with the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) for research and development into a new modular approach to the design and development of future aircraft.

“The RCO will support the requirements and design review process to gain an understanding of how AERALIS defines the ways in which agile, modular, commercially-driven aircraft design can develop and certify a broad range of future aircraft systems that could support the RAF’s ambition to rationalise its future fleet.”

Aeralis is a UK-based aircraft developer specialising in creating a new class of “transformative military aircraft”. The firm say on their website:

“The new aircraft will be based on a modular system, enabling the company to deliver a range of configurations for different missions by using common fuselage and avionics while switching engines, wings and mission systems. The company has completed phase one and phase two development, with feasibility studies complete and its core team established in preparation to develop a pre-production aircraft with first flight targeted within 3 years. The AERALIS modular aircraft system streamlines the design, development and in-service support processes for military aircraft across multiple training and front-line roles, helping to reduce the complexity and costs of acquisition and sustainment when compared with more traditional approaches.”

“AERALIS is focused on re-inventing how future military aircraft are developed and operated, and we’re delighted to help set the pace and vision for future RAF systems with the Rapid Capabilities Office”, said Tristan Crawford, AERALIS Chief Executive Officer.

“As well as helping to enable rapid, digitally-driven development and the certification of flexible, open-architecture aircraft systems, this supports UK prosperity and the Government goal to champion British innovation. We are creating a significant export and global relationship development opportunity for the UK.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
45 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 days ago

Well I am glad they arent going to P&W or GE for their engines.

Last edited 2 days ago by Watcherzero
expat
expat
2 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

I think they we considering Honeywell engines, the RR Adour is quite a lot heavier so not sure what RR will offer

AlexS
AlexS
2 days ago
Reply to  expat

Yeah this can’t be with Adour. It is too old. Might be Williams FJ44 that is also in M 345.

2x Honeywell are is in M 346 and the T7 and T 50 have GE F404.

AlexS
AlexS
2 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Williams is an American company but have an agreement with RR.

Expat
Expat
2 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Hmm is the FJ44 reheat capable, if I was building a modular jet I’d want an the option of after burners.

AlexS
AlexS
1 day ago
Reply to  Expat

I don’t think so. This aircraft seems quite light.

Sean
Sean
2 days ago

Interesting to see the picture rendered at the top of this article. I hadn’t seen reference to Aeralis looking at producing UAVs or a loyal wingman type drone as the picture appears to depict. The suggestion appears to be same airframe with a human cockpit being a configurable option.

Andy Poulton
Andy Poulton
37 seconds ago
Reply to  Sean

I remember seeing this when it was announced. It’s configurable as single seat, two seat, unmanned, single engine, twin engine, space plan, interplanetary transport, x-wing fighter.

OK OK, so I got a little carried away. It feels very good but I wonder how possible it it. The last time a military attempted to use modularity the US Navy ended up with the Littoral Combat Ship and that’s not going as planned.

geoff
geoff
2 days ago

Well that certainly gives them and the product greater credibility!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
2 days ago

Ah, now it’s starting to seem more real. I mean I still doubt it’ll ever see the light of day but I’d be delighted to be proven wrong

Rob
Rob
2 days ago

I really like the concept. So you produce a modular trainer, take out the pilot’s cockpit and install a remote pilot system and put weapons on for loyal wingman ops. Multi-role and versatile makes the whole platform more attractive.

expat
expat
2 days ago
Reply to  Rob

I assume that would be for training purposes as we’d want a stealthy LW for the front line. Perhaps the concept is more for foreign sales. For this to be a success it needs to be exported

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago

This company is certainly intriguing. Reminiscent of our post war aircraft companies in size and imagination to me.
‘Course, we’re in an altogether different age now. If it’s successful I do wonder how long it will remain UK-based or owned.

Joe16
Joe16
2 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

I was having a fairly good day until you mentioned that..! I hate how we just let anyone with a bit of cash asset strip our best tech and engineering. High tech industry is the only way that we’re going to be able to be any kind of exporter again, because of high labour costs in the UK, but we seem to be happy to let them all go to the US. These upcoming reviews of Ultra will be a litmus test for me on whether the government truly believes in levelling up the whole of Britain, or whether they… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

I have recently, upon checking out the massive advances in 3D printing, wonder what potential there is here to more equalise the costs of production between high and low cost labour States. I suspect a big question will be around how cheaply you can produce the power to fuel such new industries but it’s a difficult formula to predict with other factors involved of course. But you certainly don’t want to miss that potential bandwagon and our high level of engineering, design and creative talent and productive creative industries around them could be a distinct advantage here if we pull… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by Spyinthesky
expat
expat
2 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

The problem is the UK does make it very hard for new technologies to get off the ground and if they do the business owners don’t want to take it to the next level, this is why the big tech giants have grown in the US and not in the UK. Keep in mind the US’s 4 biggest tech companies are bigger then the FTSE100 by value. UK has a Hollywood view that big companies are bad and evil. Power, China will always win they have cheap coal and land mass to build onshore wind and PV. We will never… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Look on the bright side, Joe. If you assume the worst, then you’re day cannot be quite as bad as it would otherwise be when the worst inevitably occurs. 🤑

Joe16
Joe16
2 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

My problem is that I’m a born optimist…

ATH
ATH
1 day ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

The size of our post war aero companies was part of the problem. There lack of capital and reserves made them totally dependent on government handouts in the form of demo projects and prototypes that anyone could see were going no where.

John Clark
John Clark
1 day ago
Reply to  ATH

Also, post war, the UK aircraft industry benefited from some US project funding (part of the massive US Marshall plan I think?), I believe the Buccaneer was the final project to benefit from this.

Terence Patrick Hewett
Terence Patrick Hewett
2 days ago

Good to see new UK aircraft makers coming on the scene: BAE Systems has swallowed up nearly all of the UK defence companies and the result, although we still produce innovative products, the industry lacks depth. It is a matter of shame that other countries have produced products such as the Super Turcano and the Gripen: and Canada is still producing passenger aircraft when apart from Britten-Norman, we no longer do so. There are signs that the UK is coming to its senses with the type 26 global combat ship: also closer defence cooperation between Canada, Oz, UK and NZ… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 days ago

Yeah a bit embarrassing really that the root of our former wealth and industrial excellence was based on a somewhat forced (to put it politely) coexistence with the Empire but subsequently have completely ignored cooperation with those independent Nations within the commonwealth to create something that could have at least taken the advantages of true cooperation on a global scale (without the nasty baggage) which ironically too late we are trying to do now. Seems obvious now but I guess a mix of arrogance on our part refusing to recognise we could not simply do things alone anymore a lack… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I think industrial culture was broken post WW2.

expat
expat
2 days ago

BAe missed a massive opportunity to get back into commercial aviation not making an offer for Bombardier and the C series which looks to be a world beater.

We’re so how offend here in the UK by big companies, but imagine if we could have a company the size of Amazon or Apple in the UK, we wouldn’t need to be putting up NI to pay for social care and we could probably lower taxes for everyone else or provide break for innovative companies.

muhammed
muhammed
2 days ago
Reply to  expat

i dont think it would make any diference as these days it seems the large tech companys are doing all the tax avoidence

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 days ago

A big chunk of the Gripen is built in the UK. Typhoon is built in the UK. 15% of every single F35 will be built in the UK. We still build the most important part of every new Airbus, the wings. RR is still a massive supplier of engines, both commercial and military. We have just built two whopping great aircraft carriers, and continue to build the worlds finest nuclear submarines. Just a small selection of the equipment the countries mentioned cannot build. And could never hope to. And is certainly not a matter of shame.

Reaper
Reaper
1 day ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

And the Typhoon is pretty much a British aircraft, with much of it coming from the BA EAP from 80s

Peter S
Peter S
2 days ago

Interesting development. The early designs published were to be powered by a Honeywell engine or two.
The image of an unmanned variant does raise questions about LANCA. Team Mosquito already has a contract to build a demonstrator. How does Aeralis fit into the plan?

expat
expat
2 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

I’ve seen that to, the RR Adour is some what heavier (30% I believe) than the F124 Honeywell engine.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 days ago

There was some scepticism earlier this week on this site but these guys are looking pretty interesting. Everyone give them a chance and we may all be surprised. After GD/Ajax etc we’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Davalew
Davalew
2 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Scepticism? Is this photoshop graphics PR campaign going to be run from the neglected Stowmarket terraced house listed as Aeralis’ Correspondence Address? Check Companies House and Google Street View and then decide whether this is a genuine project or some sort of scam. Everyone is looking at the pretty pictures of an aeroplane but no one is looking at the never before heard of company!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 days ago
Reply to  Davalew

I’m sure RR will have done it’s homework before signing up to any new agreement.

Davalew
Davalew
2 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Did you look up the company and look at its “HQ” or are you assuming everything you read is true. Look it up and then make pronouncements about RR. How do you know they have any agreement with this company. From where do you get your information that isn’t from the some unsubstantiated PR Release?

Aeralis.JPG
Davalew
Davalew
2 days ago
Reply to  Davalew

The Companies House ref is 09752004 and the address is Bury Lodge, Bury Road, Stowmarket, Suffolk, England, IP14 1JA, only it isn’t a lodge but just No.7 Bury Road!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 day ago
Reply to  Davalew

🤣 Maybe they’re running operations from the upstairs spare room.

Reaper
Reaper
1 day ago

Probably from the leaking Garden Shed.

Davalew
Davalew
1 day ago
Reply to  Davalew

George has corrected me, the picture is wrong because of Google’s inaccuracy. The actual house is on the end of the next terrace and looks much more presentable but is still only an accommodation address. I’d still want to know how a company with little funds and no address of it’s own is going to create this pretty aeroplane, Rolls Royce interest or not.

Bury Lodge V.2.JPG
Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 day ago
Reply to  Davalew

The announcement was from the Head of the RAF’s future capabilities office. Do you think the RAF are telling porkies? And the RR Vice executive for business development and future projects. Or are UKDJ making up stories? I’ll leave you to decide.

Davalew
Davalew
1 day ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

My decision is that investigating recipients of large sums of public money is always worthwhile and accepting what you see on glossy company websites is never a safe thing to do. I didn’t see these statements anywhere but on Aeralis’ website. Are the guys who made these statements in receipt of investigatory reports on the suitability of the company and what it will do with the money which you are funding them? Do you think that there have never been bad decisions by government departments benefiting organisations which are more concerned with taking the money than actually delivering the goods?… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 day ago
Reply to  Davalew

You are look way way to much into this. An agreement has been signed. Not an order for aircraft, or even a prototype. Just an agreement to look into this a bit more. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t believe an announcement from the RAF & RR. This project is in the very early stages, and might come to nothing in the end. But Sombody at RR thinks it’s worth a punt. So that’s good enough for me for now.

magwitch
magwitch
18 hours ago
Reply to  Davalew

LOL. It reminds of me of when Mark and Johnson were running a management consultancy from a bedroom in Peep Show.

Sooty
Sooty
2 days ago

Exciting stuff, let’s hope the project gets support from the highest level. We could have a winner here. Pity the only thing the Hawk lacked was a BAE built successor.

BB85
BB85
2 days ago

Is there much background to the owners of the company? If it’s made up of ex BAE engineers who probably ran the project for BAE but then cancelled it. If they own the intellectual property could they just collaborate with whoever owns bombardier in Belfast now to produce the airframes, RR the engines any one else that is interested for systems integration.

Last edited 2 days ago by BB85
chris stocken
chris stocken
1 day ago

If this aircraft gets built!!!. Who will build it and where?.

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
20 hours ago
Reply to  chris stocken

Exactly the question I was going to ask. However, I get the impression that Aeralis are merely concept designers and it is not their intention to establish a factory and flight test centre. Therefore, I would suggest that any construction will be handed over to BAE.