13 April 2018 News

Air breathing rocket gets significant funding boost

Schematic of a SABRE engine. Image: Reaction Engines Limited
Schematic of a SABRE engine. Image: Reaction Engines Limited

Reaction Engines, the company behind the air breathing rocket engine, have announced this week that it has raised a further £26.5 million by securing backing from some of the most influential names in aerospace and finance to help develop its SABRE engine.

SABRE is a new class of engine that is unique in delivering the fuel efficiency of a jet engine with the power and high speed ability of a rocket. These scalable engines are capable of Mach 5.4 in air-breathing mode, compared with a jet engine that can only reach Mach 3 – three times the speed of sound. However in rocket mode for space flight, SABRE can achieve Mach 25.

BAE Systems, a global defence and aerospace company have already invested £20.6 million in Reaction Engines in 2015 for the development of this revolutionary engine and they are providing further investment in this round of fundraising, along with continued engineering support.

New strategic investors are Rolls-Royce, a pre-eminent engineering company whose experience and capability in building complex engine systems is well known and Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the investment arm of Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company.

“We continue to connect capabilities around the globe with our investment in Reaction Engines, which is our first in a UK-based company. As Reaction Engines unlocks advanced propulsion that could change the future of air and space travel, we expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight,” says Steve Nordlund, Vice President of Boeing HorizonX.

Financial investments in Reaction Engines will also be made by Baillie Gifford Asset Management and Woodford Investment Management and all investments will take the form of a subscription for new shares, which is subject to the approval of existing shareholders.

Mark Thomas, Chief Executive of Reaction Engines said: “This is a significant milestone for Reaction Engines and I am delighted to welcome our new strategic and financial shareholders. In addition to providing our largest round of private investment, these new partners bring invaluable expertise in both hypersonics and engine technologies with significant access to target markets. This is not only a vote of confidence in our technology but also underlines belief in our ability to develop a thriving commercial business which will provide strong financial returns for our shareholders.”

The investments agreed to date take the total raised by Reaction Engines in the last three years to over £100 million, including £60 million in UK Government support.

Reaction Engines is currently constructing a significant new UK test site to test critical subsystems and, with a number of milestones already achieved the company aims to test a fully integrated engine core in 2020.

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