Flying the flag for GB! Rolls-Royce will remain British in spite of foreign investment

Rolls-Royce Chief discusses target for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

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The news comes as one British defence firm was approved for takeover by an American company last week. Figures suggested many British defence companies’ shares are in the hands of foreign investors and hedge funds, raising concerns over national security as they fall into foreign control.

Speaking exclusively to, a spokesperson from Rolls-Royce said: “We’re a publicly listed company so any investor can buy shares in our business and we appreciate the support of all our shareholders.

“Under the terms of the ‘golden share’ which the Government has in our business no one single foreign individual/investor can hold more than 15 percent.”

Following the acquisition of Ultra Electronics, a British-based firm specialising in the production of components for nuclear submarines, figures revealed many British defence firms’ shares are under foreign ownership.

Aside from the outright purchase of companies, US firms have also been quietly purchasing large shares of British-based companies involved in the defence and security sectors.

Included in the mass purchase of shares are Babcock, Rolls-Royce and BAE systems which have seen 49 percent, 71 percent and 54 percent of each company respectively fall under US ownership.

The Government maintains any sale of British defence companies has to be approved following strict and robust due diligence prior to the sale.

Currently, Rolls-Royce plays an important role in the defence sector across land, air, sea and below the waters.

In the air defence sector, the company has more than 16,000 military engines in service across 160 global customers from 103 different countries.

One of the most pioneering sectors of air defence comes from the “LiftSystem” which forms the latest in digital control and fan system technology to deliver responsive, precise and powerful short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) capability with minimal impact on total airframe weight.

The system can be seen in the F-35 Lightning and is the only vertical lift technology for fighter jets in production in the world.

On the surface of the waters, Rolls-Royce defences are also responsible for multiple platforms of naval operations, ranging from gas turbines, diesel engines, propulsion systems and electronic automation and control.

The company also offers a naval support and maintenance service offering a full range of training packages, technical advice at the waterfront and through-life technical information to a range of international standards.

Well known for being the driving force behind Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet, Rolls-Royce also delivers the Nuclear Steam Raising Plants (NSRP), plus parts of the secondary propulsion systems to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Rolls-Royce-powered nuclear submarines have travelled more than 18 million combined miles, with each unit running on a “spoonful” of Uranium capable of running for more than 20 years.

The company also support land forces with the production of Mobile Tactical Power Units (TPU) as well as providing networking and power grids.

Furthermore, Rolls-Royce provides power for Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV’s), examples of which include the design and development of the AJAX APU (6.2kW) and of the Titan/Trojan APU (10kW), to include the subsequent maintenance, repair and operations for these units.

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Rolls-Royce was the world’s 25th largest defence contractor in 2021 when measured by defence revenues according to with revenue topping £3.9billion.

Five US companies lead the list, with Lockheed Martin leading the pack, generating more than £50billion in 2021.

China’s Aviation Industry Corporation was the next non-US based company, generating over £20billion in revenue in 2021.

BAE Systems is the largest British defence company, coming in at 7th on the global scale, with £19billion generated in 2021.

Honourable mentions go to Serco, Meggitt, Melrose Industries and QinetiQ who all make the top 100 global defence companies.

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