British military jet developer AERALIS has marked a key milestone in the development of its pioneering modular military aircraft, entering a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rolls-Royce to meet the company’s propulsion requirements. Announced this week at DSEI, the MOU has been put in place to provide unmatched access to established UK aerospace resources, as well as a fully integrated digital enterprise. The MOU 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. 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.
AERALIS, is a UK-based aircraft developer creating a new class of transformative military aircraft. 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.
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.”
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.”
“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”
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. Given the AERALIS aircraft can be reconfigured with different single and twin-engine modules, the MOU 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.