Reaction Engines and Rolls-Royce Announce New Strategic Partnership Agreement
(Source: Rolls Royce plc; issued Aug 21, 2020)
Reaction Engines Ltd and Rolls-Royce plc today announced a new strategic partnership agreement to develop high-speed aircraft propulsion systems and explore applications for Reaction Engines’ thermal management technology within civil and defence aerospace gas turbine engines and hybrid-electric systems.

“We have been working closely with Reaction Engines for the past two years, including exploring the potential of high-Mach systems for defence applications, and I am delighted that we are able to strengthen that relationship,” said Mark Thompson, Director of Global Strategy & Business Development, Rolls-Royce. “This partnership follows our recent announcements with Boom Supersonic and Virgin Galactic.”

“Reaction Engines’ thermal management skills, added to our suite of existing technologies and capabilities, will further assist us as we explore opportunities in supersonic and hypersonic aviation,” Thompson added. “Building on our many decades of innovation, we will also explore the use of Reaction Engines’ technology within our aerospace gas turbines and its potential application in future hybrid-electric propulsion systems, as we look to make flying ever more efficient and sustainable.”

Additionally, Rolls-Royce is making a further investment in Reaction Engines as part of a wider funding round. The two companies have been working together since 2018, including on the first phase of a UK Ministry of Defence contract to undertake design studies, research, development, analysis and experimentation related to high-Mach advanced propulsion systems.

“This strategic partnership is about developing market ready applications for Reaction Engines’ technology in next generation engines and is a significant step forward for our technology commercialisation plans,” said Mark Thomas, Chief Executive of Reaction Engines. “Our proprietary heat exchanger technology delivers incredible heat transfer capabilities at extremely low weight and a compact size. We look forward to expanding our international collaboration with Rolls-Royce, a global leader in power systems, to bring to market a range of applications that will transform the performance and efficiency of aircraft engines, enable high speed – supersonic and hypersonic – flight and support the drive towards more sustainable aviation through innovative new technologies.”

Reaction Engines’ innovative technology has the backing of some of the most influential names in aerospace and finance. The Company is supported by the UK Government, UK Space Agency and European Space Agency and its US team is working with US Government and industry partners. Together with leading institutional investors, the Company has received investments from BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Boeing HorizonX.

Reaction Engines’ proprietary precooler technology is transforming possibilities in the world of heat management, delivering world-leading heat transfer capabilities at extremely low weight and at a compact size.

The precooler is a key element of Reaction Engines’ revolutionary SABRE - Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, a new class of aerospace propulsion that has the potential to provide air-breathing thrust from standstill on the runway to speeds above five times the speed of sound in the atmosphere. SABRE, aimed at next generation space access vehicles, is highly scalable, allowing multiple applications and is unique in delivering the fuel efficiency of a jet engine with the power and high-speed capability of a rocket.

Individual components and technologies of SABRE have been successfully tested and demonstrated.

A successful ground-based high temperature test of the precooler took place in 2019 – proving the capability of this technology at five times the speed of sound and marking a significant milestone. The Company is progressing plans to demonstrate hypersonic systems enabled by this precooler technology and to undertake ground-based tests of the SABRE engine core, culminating in full system testing, at which point the world’s first air-breathing engine capable of accelerating from zero to Mach 5 will have been demonstrated.

Reaction Engines’ precooler is a transformative technology for near-term propulsion systems and other commercial applications. The Company’s Applied Technologies team is adapting the innovative heat exchange systems designed for SABRE and applying them across a wide range of commercial industry opportunities, including improving performance in motorsport, converting waste heat into renewable electricity and supporting targets for more sustainable aviation.


Reaction Engines Limited (‘Reaction Engines’) is a privately held technology Company that is unlocking the future of hypersonic flight, space access and is revolutionising thermal management. The Company is based in Culham, Oxfordshire, UK and Denver, Colorado, US and employs over 200 staff across its sites.

Rolls-Royce plc pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs. Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers. Annual underlying revenue was £15.45 billion in 2019, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services.

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