£923mGross research and development 2010
"Research and development are fundamental to our future success"
Colin SmithDirector – Engineering and Technology
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In 2010, Rolls-Royce invested a total of £923 million in gross research and development, of which £506 million was funded from Group resources.
Research and development are fundamental to our future success, providing technologies and intellectual property that allow us to compete on a global basis in highly competitive markets.
The Group’s engineering and technology activities are undertaken by close to 10,000 product, engineering and technology specialists covering more than 40 major programmes. The activity is global with main engineering centres located in the UK, US, Germany, the Nordic countries, Singapore and India.
Our advanced research is supported through our worldwide network of 28 Rolls-Royce University Technology Centres, working across a range of specialist subject areas such as materials, noise, vibration and combustion. Two new centres for nuclear technology at Imperial College London and at the University of Manchester were added during the year.
During 2010, we strengthened our new Advanced Technology Centre (ATC) in Singapore which is developing manufacturing and electrical systems and high-power computing capabilities. Work began on the new, dedicated home for the ATC as part of the Seletar development. We opened our new Mechanical Test Operations Centre in Dahlewitz, Germany, during the year. This centre provides mechanical testing capability for all areas of the Group. Building on the success of our membership of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), we continue to increase our focus on advanced manufacturing. In the UK, we opened the Advanced Fabrication Research Centre at Strathclyde, Scotland, and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre project was launched. We are also establishing the Commonwealth Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) at the Crosspointe complex in the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA.
In 2010, we established the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, UK. MTC will be the largest in the network of AMRCs when it opens in 2011. Technology programmes in the areas of high integrity joining, intelligent automation, advanced fixturing and net shape powder manufacture have already been launched through MTC partnerships with founder members Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Aero Engine Controls.
Further improving the environmental performance of our products and operations is a key driver for research and development in Rolls-Royce. We completed the first build of the Environmentally Friendly Engine, and the second build of our mid-size technology demonstrator engine, E3E, was tested successfully in Germany. The E3E, two-shaft core demonstrated, amongst other successes, critical operability throughout the flight envelope up to 38,000ft, for the novel lean-burn combustor.
The European STREAMLINE programme led by Rolls-Royce was launched in 2010. The project includes 22 partners in eight countries and focuses on demonstrating radical new marine propulsion concepts, aimed at delivering increases in efficiency of at least 15 per cent. We achieved notable engineering successes in each of our key business sectors in 2010.
In the civil aerospace business, the first Trent XWB engine went to test on schedule in June, running to 100,000lbs of thrust later in the year. Flight testing of the BR725 for the new Gulfstream G650 progressed well and has now achieved 1,000 hours. The Trent 1000 flight test programme for the Boeing 787 continued, although Boeing announced in early 2011 that the entry into service for the aircraft would be further delayed until later in 2011.
2010 also brought a number of challenges to the civil aerospace business. The eruption of a volcano in Iceland in April 2010 resulted in significant disruption to the aviation industry. Our engineering team took a leading role and worked in a systematic way to assist the airlines and industry regulators on this issue. Towards the end of 2010, a Trent 900 suffered a high-profile failure on a Qantas Airbus A380, which initiated a significant and urgent response from the engineering team in order to return to normal operations.
In 2010, the marine business acquired ODIM and we have successfully integrated the engineers of this business into the Rolls-Royce engineering community. ODIM’s people have a wealth of skills and technological knowledge. We anticipate the acquisition will enhance our offshore capability significantly. Marine sold the first offshore vessel with a wave-piercing design (UT 754 WP) for delivery in 2012 and the Dynamic Positioning Release 3 (DP3) successfully passed concept design review.
In defence aerospace, the STOVL variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, equipped with the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem®, successfully completed a flawless first hover and vertical landing in March 2010. The pace of the F136 engine development programme accelerated significantly during 2010 with six new test engines delivered during the year. Approximately 900 test hours were completed according to plan for the F136 programme in 2010. The programme also continued its successful history of meeting contractual milestones with the first STOVL propulsion system delivered to test, on time.
LibertyWorks® in Indianapolis continues to perform well on the ADVENT demonstrator programme; rig testing demonstrated fan performance as expected and with a favourable stability margin. Work continues in preparation for the core and engine demonstrator phases of the programme.
In 2010, Robinson Helicopter obtained FAA certification for the RR300-powered R66 helicopter and commenced customer deliveries.
We continue to develop our business activities in the civil nuclear market and also continued with further investment in nuclear engineers and in infrastructure.
Our first tidal stream generator was deployed offshore of the Orkney Islands. A major milestone was reached on November 10, 2010 when the turbine generated 500kW at full power for the first time at the test site. The turbine is now being operated unrestricted with several periods of fully automatic 24-hour operation and has achieved all requirements to gain a renewable obligation certificate.