Rolls-Royce Avon

The Rolls-Royce Avon was the first axial flow jet engine designed and produced by Rolls-Royce. Introduced in 1950, it 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, production of the Avon aero engine ending after 24 years in 1974.

The engine eventually entered production in 1950, the original RA.3/Mk.101 version providing 6,500 lbf (29 kN) thrust in the English Electric Canberra B.2. Similar versions were used in the Canberra B.6, Hawker Hunter and Supermarine Swift. Uprated versions soon followed, the RA.7/Mk.114 producing 7,350 lbf (32,700 N) in the de Havilland Comet C.2, the RA.14/Mk.201 of 9,500 lbf (42 kN) in the Vickers Valiant and the RA.26 of 10,000 lbf (44 kN) used in the Comet C.3 and Hawker Hunter F.6. An Avon-powered de Havilland Comet 4 flew the first scheduled transatlantic jet service in 1958. The line eventually topped out with the 12,690 lbf (56,450 N) and 16,360 lbf (72,770 N) in afterburner RA.29 Mk.301/2 (RB.146) used in later versions of the English Electric Lightning. Other aircraft to use the Avon included the de Havilland Sea Vixen, Supermarine Scimitar and Fairey Delta.

The Avon continued production, mostly for the use in the Sud Aviation Caravelle and English Electric (BAC) Lightning, until 1974, by which time over 11,000 had been built. The engine garnered an impressive safety record over that time. The Avon remained in operational service with the RAF, powering the English Electric Canberra PR.9, until 23 June 2006.

Mk.100 series

Military designation for the RA.3 Avon - 6,500 lbf (28.91 kN).

Mk.200 series

Military designation for the uprated version of the Avon with can-annular combustion chamber and Sapphire style compressor - 9,500 lbf (42.26 kN).

Mk.300 series

Developed after-burning engines for the English Electric Lightning.
RB.146 Mk.301: The ultimate Military Avon for the English Electric Lightning - 12,690 lbf (56.45 kN) dry, 16,360 lbf (72.77 kN) wet.
RB.146 Mk.302: Essentially similar to the Mk.301

General characteristics (Avon 301R)

  • Type: Turbojet
  • Length: 126 in (3,200 mm)
  • Diameter: 35.7 in (907 mm)
  • Dry weight: 2,890 lb (1,310 kg)


  • Maximum thrust: 12,690 lbf (56.4 kN)dry/16,360 lbf (72.8 kN) with reheat
  • Overall pressure ratio: 7.45:1
  • Specific fuel consumption: 0.932 lb/lbf h (28 g/kN·s) (dry) 1.853 lb/lbf h (wet)
  • Thrust-to-weight ratio: 5.66:1 (56 N/kg)


  • Compressor: 15-stage axial flow
  • Combustors: Cannular, 150 lb/s (68 kg/s)
  • Turbine: Two-stage axial flow
  • Fuel type: Kerosene