£60 million aerospace projects cleared for take off

Posted on 27 Feb 2014 by Tim Brown

Seven aerospace research projects designed to keep Britain at the forefront of the global aerospace market will receive almost £60m, the Business Minister Michael Fallon announced this week.

The funding has been allocated from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), which will see Government and industry jointly invest £2 billion over the next seven years in new technology and manufacturing. This could secure up to 115,000 high value jobs in aerospace and its supply chain in the long term.

It forms part of the Aerospace Industrial Strategy – a long term economic plan which sets out how to keep the UK industry globally competitive in the face of increasing international competition and changes in technology.

Speaking at the Aerospace Growth Partnership technology showcase Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Government and industry are working together to keep Britain at the forefront of the global aerospace market where we are second only to the United States.

“We are jointly funding the Aerospace Technology Institute to the tune of £2 billion so it can develop technology for the next generation of quieter, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly planes.

“Getting this right will mean more of the research and development needed to win work on the planes and helicopters of the future will happen here in the UK.”

The seven projects will receive £29.8 million from Government with the remainder of the £58.2 million investment contributed by industry. They span the four key, high value areas of modern aircraft that the ATI will focus on and where the UK excels – aerodynamics, propulsion (engines), advanced systems and structures:

In Aerodynamics

  • Bombardier is leading a consortium to improve the aerodynamics of nacelles (the housing that holds engines, fuel, or equipment on an aircraft)
  • AgustaWestland is working with three universities and three SMEs to provide significant improvements in passenger comfort and aircraft vibration for the next generation helicopter

In Propulsion

  • Rolls-Royce is leading two projects to develop quieter, more efficient engines

In Advanced Systems

  • GE Aviation is working with BAE Systems, Coventry and Southampton Universities to design the next generation of flight decks
  • BAE Systems are leading a consortium exploring unmanned aviation in the civil market

In Structures

  • UTC Aerospace Systems is working with Raytheon and others to close current technological gaps in motors and control electronics which will support the introduction of the all-electric aircraft.

Marcus Bryson, CEO, GKN Aerospace and Land Systems
Marcus Bryson, CEO, GKN Aerospace and Land Systems

Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace and Land Systems, President of Aerospace trade organisation ADS and co-chair of the Aerospace Growth Partnership said:

“I am delighted by the announcement of these projects which demonstrates that the ATI has arrived and is working to ensure that the UK is developing the technologies required to keep us as a leading aerospace nation. It also demonstrates that the Government-industry partnership developed under the AGP is working fantastically well.”

Taken together these seven projects involve 10 different global companies, nine different universities and five SMEs.

This follows last month’s announcement by the Chancellor that the first £60 million from the ATI would be in invested in a new aerospace facility at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.