However, before last month’s deal, Reaction was a highly respected research business, but with limited funding had been effectively stuck as a start-up since its foundation in 1989. Now, with the backing of a major strategic partner, the 75-employee company and its team of rocket scientists should be course to expand their orbit.
With BAE’s backing and an additional government funding commitment of £60m, Reaction will be able to move to the next critical engineering development stage, while remaining an independent company.
Guiding its “unique” Sabre engine concept towards a seminal breakthrough has been an evolutionary experience.
Recently-installed managing director Mark Thomas admits the deal took time. “They [BAE Systems] have put in £21m, which implies the company is valued at £100m,” he says.
“I spent much of the five months I’ve been here working on that process. It was very clear to me that we needed a big industrial aerospace company and one of the key capabilities we were looking for was systems integration.