The Military Aircraft UK Materials Technology Review

Daniel Jones of the Aerospace, Aviation and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network outlines the content inside the Military Aircraft UK Materials Technology Review.

The Military Aircraft UK Materials Technology Review was written by the materials and structures National Technical Committee (NTC), which is part of the National Composites Centre. It was published by the Aerospace, Aviation & Defence Knowledge Transfer Network.

The review outlines the consensus view of the UK aerospace materials and structures community about where the market opportunities lie for the UK in the coming years. The review begins by looking at the trends and drivers of the current market, and then expands that over five and 20-year horizons to predict which technologies will be critically and strategically important for the development, manufacture and maintenance of military aircraft.

The fact that the review offers a consensus view is important. The NTC comprises industry representatives who would ordinarily be competitors, yet collectively they recognise the importance of identifying technology programmes of strategic value to the UK, and that investment and focus in these programmes will help to fortify the UK’s position within the global aerospace market, where it currently is the second largest in the world behind the USA in terms of sales.

The Government’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) had a profound influence upon the behaviour of companies and procurers in the defence sector. Acquisition of new assets, the disposal of assets concluded as obsolete and defence contracts have all been affected significantly.

The review considers these effects, but also highlights the new avenues of opportunity that are arising. These include the increased use of unmanned aerial systems, the need for advanced integrated structural health monitoring and the modelling and development of aspects of the service life of structures through vibration, fatigue, corrosion, high temperature exposure, impact, wear, repair and post-repair life and disposal.

The review is partly an updated iteration of the 2010 Combat Aircraft UK Materials Technology Review, which was superseded by the results of the SDSR. The scope of the initial review extended to combat aircraft used for air defence, reconnaissance, training and strike purposes. After the SDSR, the scope was extended to cover other military aircraft such as carriers, transportation vehicles and refuelling vehicles, as well retaining its focus upon combat and other vehicles used for training, defence, strike and reconnaissance operations.

The review is part of a wider collection of materials technology reviews written by the materials & structures NTC, which covers the areas of: power plants & engines; civil aircraft; and rotorcraft, with further reviews planned for 2012 and beyond.

To download a free PDF copy of the Military Aircraft UK Materials Technology Review, please visit the Aerospace, Aviation & Defence KTN website. For a free hard copy of the Military Aircraft UK Materials Technology Review, please email Daniel Jones Also, see Daniel Jones’ Twitter page.

Daniel Jones from the Aerospace, Aviation and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network