Avon
Rolls-Royce Avon
Type Turbojet
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Limited
First run 25 March 1947
Major applications
Number built >11,000

The Rolls-Royce Avon was the first axial flow jet engine designed and produced by Rolls-Royce. Introduced in 1950, the engine went on to become one of their most successful post-World War II engine designs. It was used in a wide variety of aircraft, both military and civilian, as well as versions for stationary and maritime power.

An English Electric Canberra powered by two Avons made the first un-refuelled non-stop transatlantic flight by a jet, and a BOAC de Havilland Comet 4 powered by four Avons made the first scheduled transatlantic crossing by a jet airliner.

Production of the Avon aero engine version ended after 24 years in 1974.[1] Production of the Avon-derived industrial version continues to this day,[2] Since 2015 produced by Siemens.[3][4]

The current version of the Avon, the Avon 200, is an industrial gas generator that is rated at 21,000–22,000 shp (15.7–16.4 MW). As of 2011, 1,200 Industrial Avons have been sold, and the type has established a 60,000,000 hour record for its class.[5]

Design and development

The engine was initially a private venture put forward for the English Electric Canberra.[6] Originally known as the AJ.65 for Axial Jet, 6,500 lbf the engine was based on an initial project concept by Alan Arnold Griffith.[7] which combined an axial compressor with a combustion system and single-stage turbine using principles proven in the Rolls-Royce Nene engine.

Design work began in 1945. The Avon design team was initially headed by Stanley Hooker assisted by Geoff Wilde. Development of the engine was moved from Barnoldswick to Derby in 1948 and Hooker subsequently left the company, moving to Bristol Engines.[7]

The first engine ran on 25 March 1947, with a 12-stage compressor. The engine was difficult to start, would not accelerate and broke first-stage blades.[7] Two-position inlet guide vanes and compressor bleed were among the design changes which allowed the engine, as the RA.2, to run a 25-hour test[6] and fly in the two outboard positions on the converted Avro Lancastrian military serial VM732, from Hucknall on 15 August 1948.

The first production engine, which needed a two-stage turbine, was the RA.3, or Avon Mk 101. Several modified versions of this design were produced in the Mk. 100 series.

The Avon 200 series was a complete redesign having very little in common with earlier Marks. Differences included a completely new combustion section and a 15-stage compressor based on that of the Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire.[1] The first application was the Vickers Valiant.

Operational history

A Mark 122 – The rear fuselage of the Hawker Hunter can be removed for engine maintenance

The engine entered production in 1950 as the RA.3/Mk.101 with 6,500 lbf (29 kN) thrust in the English Electric Canberra B.2.[1] Similar versions were used in the Canberra B.6, Hawker Hunter and Supermarine Swift. Uprated versions followed, the RA.7/Mk.114 with 7,350 lbf (32,700 N) thrust in the de Havilland Comet C.2, the RA.14/Mk.201, 9,500 lbf (42 kN) in the Vickers Valiant and the RA.26, 10,000 lbf (44 kN) used in the Comet C.3 and Hawker Hunter F.6.[8] An Avon-powered de Havilland Comet 4 flew the first scheduled transatlantic jet service in 1958. The highest thrust version was the RA.29 Mk.301/2 (RB.146) used in later versions of the English Electric Lightning. It produced 12,690 and 17,110 lbf (56,400 and 76,100 N)[9] with afterburning. Other aircraft to use the Avon included the de Havilland Sea Vixen, Supermarine Scimitar and Fairey Delta2.

The RA.3/Mk.109 was produced under licence by Svenska Flygmotor as the RM5, and an uprated RA.29 as the RM6 with 17,110 lbf (76,100 N) thrust. The RM5 powered the Saab 32 Lansen and the RM6 powered the Saab 35 Draken and all-weather fighter version of the Lansen (J 32B).

300 Avon 113s, and a larger number of Avon 203s[10] were produced under licence in Belgium by Fabrique Nationale.

In the US the RA.28-49 was used in the VTOL Ryan X-13 Vertijet aircraft.

In Australia, the Avon was used by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in the CA-27 Avon-Sabre.

The Avon continued in production for the Sud Aviation Caravelle and English Electric (BAC) Lightning until 1974, by which time over 11,000 had been built. It remained in operational service with the RAF until 23 June 2006 in the English Electric Canberra PR.9.

Initial design work was done on the 2-spool RB.106/RB.128 as an Avon successor for large supersonic fighters.[7]

Variants and designations

Rolls Royce Avon RA.3 Mk.101 at RAF Museum Cosford
AJ65
The original designation, standing for Axial Jet 6,500 lbf thrust
RA.1
Prototype engines for testing and development.
RA.2
Pre-production engines for testing – 6,000 lbf (27 kN)[11]
RA.3
Civil designation for the first Avon production mark. First avon with a two-stage turbine.[11] – 6,500 lbf (29 kN)
RA.7
Civil designation for the uprated version of the Avon RA.3. Electrically started.[11] – 7,350 lbf (32.7 kN)
RA.7R
RA.7 with reheat. Meant for use with an afterburner. Explosive-cartridge started. – 7,200–7,500 lbf (3,250–3,400 kp) without afterburner, 9,090–9,740 lbf (4,125–4,420 kp) with afterburner.[11]
RA.14
Civil designation for the uprated version of the Avon with can-annular combustion chamber and Sapphire style compressor – 9,500 lbf (42 kN)
RA.14R
RA.14 with reheat. – 9,500 lbf (4,300 kp) without afterburner, 12,300 lbf (5,590 kp) with afterburner.
RA.19
RA.19R
RA.19 with reheat. – 12,500 lbf (5,669 kp) with afterburner.[12]
RA.21
Production engine developed from the RA.7 – 8,050 lbf (35.8 kN)
RA.21R
Production engine developed from the RA.7R. Same as the Avon Mk.21.[11] – 7,600 lbf (3,460 kp) without afterburner, 9,690 lbf (4,394 kp) with afterburner.
RA.23R
RA.23 with reheat. – 10,000 lbf (4,535 kp) without afterburner, 13,000 lbf (5,895 kp) with afterburner.
RA.24
RA.24R
Same as the Avon Mk.47A.[11]
RA.25
Civil Mk.503
RA.26
Further improvements to the Avon 200 series – Civil Mk.521
RA.28
Second generation variant – 10,000 lbf (44 kN)
RA.29
Civil designation for the Mk.300 series (used by the Sud Aviation Caravelle)
RA.29/1
RA.29/3
RA.29/6
Same as the Avon Mk.533 – 12,725 lbf (56.60 kN)[13]
RB.146
Rolls-Royce designation for Avon Series 300[13]

Avon Series 100

Avon Series 100 are early military versions of the Avon.

Avon Mk.100
Military designation for the RA.3 Avon – 6,500 lbf (29 kN)
Avon Mk.101C
6,600 lbf (3,000 kp)[14]
Avon Mk.113
Avon Mk.114
Military designation for the RA.7 Avon – 7,350 lbf (32.7 kN)
Avon Mk.115
Same as the Avon Mk.23 – 8,000 lbf (3,630 kp)[11]
Avon Mk.117
Avon Mk.118
Avon Mk.20
Australian version built on license by CAC for the CAC Sabre Mk.31 – 7,500 lbf (33 kN)[15]
Avon Mk.21
Afterburning Swedish version built by RR and on license by SFA for the Saab 32A/C. Same as the RA.21R. Designated RM5A1. – 3,460 kp (7,600 lbf) without afterburner, 4,445–4,700 kp (9,800–10,360 lbf) with different afterburners.[14]
Avon Mk.21A
Improved Mk.21 with increased diameter on the engine outlet for more power. Built by RR and on license by SFA for the Saab 32A/C. Designated RM5A2. – 7,600 lbf (3,460 kp) without afterburner, 9,800–10,360 lbf (4,445–4,700 kp) with different afterburners.[14]
Avon Mk.23
Same as the Avon Mk.115.[11] Non-afterburning Swedish version built by RR for the Hawker Hunter Mk.50. Designated RM5B1.[14] – 7,760 lbf (3,519 kp)[16]
Avon Mk.24
Non-afterburning Swedish version built by RR for the Hawker Hunter Mk.50. Designated RM5B2.[14]
Avon Mk.25
Non-afterburning Swedish version built by RR for the Hawker Hunter Mk.50. Designated RM5B3.[14]
Avon Mk.26
Australian version built by CAC for the CAC Sabre Mk.32 – 7,500 lbf (33 kN)[15]

Avon Series 200

Avon Series 200 are uprated military versions of the Avon with can-annular combustion chamber and Sapphire style compressor.

Avon Mk.200
– 9,500 lbf (42 kN)
Avon Mk.47A
Afterburning Swedish version built by RR and on license by SFA for the Saab 32B. Same as the RA.24R. Designated RM6A. – 10,800 lbf (4,880 kp) without afterburner, 6,500 kp (14,000 lbf) with afterburner.[14]
Avon Mk.48A
Afterburning Swedish version built by RR and on license by SFA for the Saab 35A/B/C. Designated RM6B. – 10,800 lbf (4,890 kp) without afterburner, 14,410 lbf (6,535 kp) with afterburner.[14]

Avon Series 300

Avon Series 300 are further developed military after-burning versions of the Avon for the English Electric Lightning.

Avon Mk.300
– 12,690 lbf (56.4 kN)
Avon Mk.301
The ultimate Military Avon for the English Electric Lightning – 12,690 lbf (56.4 kN) dry, 17,110 lbf (76.1 kN) wet.[9]
Avon Mk.302
Essentially similar to the Mk.301
Avon Mk.60
Afterburning Swedish version built by RR and on license by SFA for the Saab 35 Draken D/F. Same as the RA.29R. Designated RM6C. – 12,710 lbf (5,765 kp) without afterburner, 17,000 lbf (7,800 kp) with afterburner.[14]
Westinghouse XJ54
Avon 300-series scaled-down by Westinghouse to 105 lb/sec airflow to produce 6,200 lb thrust.[17]

Avon Series 500

Avon Series 500 are civilian equivalents to the military Avon Series 200 variants.

Avon Mk.504
Avon Mk.506
Avon Mk.521
Avon Mk.522
Avon Mk.524
Avon Mk.524B
Avon Mk.525
Avon Mk.525B
Avon Mk.527
Avon Mk.527B
Avon Mk.530
Avon Mk.531
Avon Mk.531B
Avon Mk.532R
Avon Mk.532R-B
Avon Mk.533
Same as the RA.29/6 – 12,725 lbf (56.60 kN)[13]
Avon Mk.533R
12,600 lbf (56 kN)
Avon Mk.533R-11A

Swedish designations

Reaktionsmotor 3A – RM3A
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.101C[14]
Reaktionsmotor 5A1 – RM5A1
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.21[14]
Reaktionsmotor 5A2 – RM5A2
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.21A[14]
Reaktionsmotor 5B1 – RM5B1
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.23[14]
Reaktionsmotor 5B2 – RM5B2
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.24[14]
Reaktionsmotor 5B3 – RM5B3
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.25[14]
Reaktionsmotor 6A – RM6A
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.47A[14]
Reaktionsmotor 6B – RM6B
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.48A[14]
Reaktionsmotor 6C – RM6C
Swedish designation for the Avon Mk.60[14]

Applications

Military aviation

Civil aviation

Other uses

General characteristics

Components

Performance

Survivors

Engines on display

This is the Rolls Royce Avon engine on display at the Temora aviation museum, Australia

Specifications (Avon 301R)

Data from "Lightning F.6 Avon 301R Specs". lightning.org.uk. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008.

See also

Comparable engines

Related lists

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Gunston 1989, p. 149.
  2. ^ "Rolls-Royce Avon 200 industrial gas turbine upgrade hits 100,000 hours". www.rolls-royce.com. Retrieved 13 October 2023.
  3. ^ Siemens Energy (2015). "NOTICE TO SUPPLIERS. Subject: Rebranding Components from RR to Siemens" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Rolls-Royce sells gas turbine business to Siemens - NS Energy". Retrieved 13 October 2023.
  5. ^ "Avon 200". Rolls-Royce. 15 May 2013. Archived from the original on 16 May 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b c d "Rolls-Royce Aero Engines" Gunston, Bill, Patrick Stephens Limited 1989, ISBN 1-85260-037-3, p.131,132,133
  8. ^ Force V: The history of Britain's airborne deterrent, by Andrew Brookes. Jane's Publishing Co Ltd; First Edition 1 Jan. 1982, ISBN 0710602383, p.31.
  9. ^ a b "World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines – 5th edition" by Bill Gunston, Sutton Publishing, 2006, p.195
  10. ^ "hispano suiza | canadian pratt | flight international | 1962 | 1011 | Flight Archive". Flightglobal.com. 28 June 1962. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Stridsberg, Sven (1992). Lansen. Allt om hobby AB. pp. 27–32.
  12. ^ Stridsberg, Sven (1992). Lansen. Allt om hobby AB. pp. 105–106.
  13. ^ a b c "Archived copy". www.flightglobal.com. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Kontakt 86, Flygmotorer. Kontaktgruppen för flyghistorisk forskning. 1988. pp. 25, 26, 27.
  15. ^ a b Roux, Élodie (2007). Turbofan and turbojet engines : database handbook. Blagnac : Élodie Roux. p. 92.
  16. ^ "Flygmotor RM 5B (Rolls-Royce Avon Mk 23 (S)), tillverkad 1956, för flygplan J 34. Monterat foto med tillhörande information".
  17. ^ "World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines – 5th edition" by Bill Gunston, Sutton Publishing, 2006
  18. ^ G-INFO Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine www.caa.co.uk Retrieved:27 January 2010
  19. ^ Thunder City – Aircraft Archived 24 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine www.thundercity.com Retrieved:27 January 2010
  20. ^ USAF Museum www.nationalmuseum.af.mil Retrieved: 16 July 2017
  21. ^ Midland Air Museum – Aircraft Archived 3 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine www.midlandairmuseum.co.uk Retrieved: 27 January 2010
  22. ^ RAF Museum – Rolls-Royce Avon Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine rafmuseum.org Retrieved: 27 January 2010
  23. ^ RAF Museum – Rolls-Royce Avon Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine rafmuseum.org Retrieved: 27 January 2010
  24. ^ "Engines List". City of Norwich Aviation Museum. Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  25. ^ Avon RB.146 Mk.301 Archived 2 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine

Bibliography