£100m boost to propel UK aerospace into the future

Posted on 4 Feb 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced ambitious plans to provide a £100m boost for UK aerospace that includes £20m of investment in the skills needed to take the sector to new heights.

Six projects in all will share £80m for aerospace research to help deliver growth and innovation in key areas of technology. This funding comes from a £2bn pot committed jointly by industry and government as part of an industrial strategy, through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).

The projects involve 18 companies, 11 academic or research institutions and 5 Catapult centres from across the UK.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Vince Cable.

Business Secretary Vince Cable stated: “The UK’s aerospace industry has been propelled to a position of global excellence by a culmination of winning ideas, innovation and talent. This has created new ways to manufacture, new skills and a flexible chain of supplying businesses that will secure the industry’s long term profitability.

“Government is working in partnership with big businesses like Airbus, GKN and Bombardier on an aerospace industrial strategy to give business the confidence to invest and create long term jobs in the UK.”

The six projects receiving funding from the ATI are:

  • £14m for nine partners led by Rolls-Royce – and including McLaren Racing – for  high-tech research projects,  using Formula 1 know-how to help develop high power gearboxes for future jet engines
  • £14m for nine partners, led by Airbus, to design improved landing gear for future aircraft, including introducing electric taxi technology so that engines can be switched off immediately after landing, saving fuel and reducing emissions
  • £9m for seven companies, led by Airbus Group, to improve the management of power used on aircraft and replace hydraulic systems with electric control systems.  This will deliver lighter, greener aircraft, reducing CO2 emissions and saving airlines up to an estimated £2bn annually
  • £10m for five companies, led by GE Aviation Systems, to develop advanced printed circuit board test equipment, to improve the manufacture of high quality electronics that can operate in harsh environments
  • A £17m project led by Rolls-Royce working with suppliers to develop new concepts for future engine architectures to improve environmental performance
  • £16m for Airbus, Marshalls ADG and Bristol, Loughborough and Cranfield Universities to research and test innovations in wing design.

Chief executive of ADS Group Paul Everitt said: “Aerospace is a UK success story with a 17% share of a fast growing global market.

“The Aerospace Growth Partnership, the unique collaboration between Government and industry to encourage investment in innovation, skills and the supply chain, is making the UK a more competitive location. This announcement demonstrates the value of the Aerospace Technology Institute and the benefits of a successful industrial strategy.”

Top aerospace firms are investing £20m alongside government in the skills necessary to provide a vital boost to industry at all levels, with the creation of new high-tech Masters courses, apprenticeships and careers opportunities for young people and graduates alike.

Led by global aircraft manufacturer Airbus, through the Aerospace Growth Partnership, the skills project also sees leading employers including Augusta Westland in Yeovil, BAE in Hook, and GKN in South Gloucestershire joining together to develop existing and future aerospace talent.

Airbus’ HR director and general manager, Mark Stewart commented: “Employer Ownership of Skills will be hugely important in ensuring the UK retains its world-leading aerospace ambitions with employers leading the skills requirements for and on behalf of the sector.”