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Rolls -Royce to aid new land speed record attempt

British company Rolls-Royce is to sponsor a British attempt on the world land speed record, which is to take place next year on a dried up lake bed in South Africa. Project Bloodhound will receive both technical support and financial assistance from Rolls-Royce. The main part of Rolls-Royce's involvement will be with the car's EJ200 jet engine, a unit that normally powers the Eurofighter Typhoon.

British company Rolls-Royce is to sponsor a British attempt on the world land speed record, which is to take place next year on a dried up lake bed in South Africa. Project Bloodhound will receive both technical support and financial assistance from Rolls-Royce. The main part of Rolls-Royce's involvement will be with the car's EJ200 jet engine, a unit that normally powers the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Bloodhound car will be powered by this engine as it accelerates up to a speed of 350mph at which point a rocket engine will be ignited, which will allow the car to break the sound barrier and continue to supersonic speeds of up to 1,000mph.

The organisers of Project Bloodhound are taking a two-pronged approach, intending to break the current land speed record of 763mph next year and then surpassing 1,000mph in 2015. The team includes members who set the existing record way back in 1997 and this experience has been key in allowing Roll-Royce to relax its normal rules about not getting involved with such attempts, as Rolls' director of engineering and technology, Colin Smith, explains: "In general, we have a pretty robust policy about using our power plants in applications for which they were not designed. The reason we're prepared to relax this policy in this case is because Bloodhound is a professional organisation. I am impressed by Richard Noble's design process and his safety process; and he has a track record."

The Ministry of Defence has also got involved, lending the project three veteran EJ200 units. The Bloodhound team have had to adapt their car to the engine's parameters, essentially fooling it into thinking that it is still inside a jet, as Bloodhound chief engineer, Mark Chapman, explains: "The EJ200 was designed with one aircraft in mind - the Eurofighter-Typhoon. It lives within the Typhoon control system, so we've had to mimic a lot of the Typhoon inputs so that that engine still thinks it's in a Eurofighter."

Rolls-Royce are backing the project because of its commitment to education, in an effort to help its supply chain companies find the engineers of the future, as Colin Smith explained: "We're very fortunate in being oversubscribed for those graduate and apprenticeship roles by a factor of 10, but we have a big supply chain in the UK and some of those companies are struggling to get the right calibre of skills. We need to encourage more people to do useful and scientific degrees in the UK."
 

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