Gas Turbine Design at Rolls-Royce – Exploring the Limitations of a Systems Engineering Approach

  • Jonathan HoltEmail author
  • David Elam
  • James Tooke
Conference paper


The development of a civil aerospace gas turbine engine within the required timescale and resource constraints presents a considerable challenge. How does a team of hundreds of engineers organize itself, not just to design the thousands of high technology components required, but to manage their interactions in order to ensure that the engine operates according to customer expectations and continues to function safely even in the event of a malfunction? In organizing the work, some elements map onto established systems principles, fitting well the model of a functional system. Other elements map less well and present a challenge to current thinking, which this paper explores.

UK Origin Material

Export Control Classification: Not Export Controlled 



All endeavours at Rolls-Royce including this paper are a result of teamwork. The contributions of many colleagues with whom the authors have discussed the concepts described here are hereby gratefully acknowledged. As is apparent from multiple references, the Systems Engineering approach at Rolls-Royce draws heavily upon training material developed by Stuart Burge of Burge Hughes Walsh.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Complex Systems, System DesignRolls-Royce plcDerbyUK
  2. 2.System DesignRolls-Royce plcDerbyUK

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