Aerospace On Top In U.K. Industrial Planning

By Graham Warwick, Tony Osborne
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

“In partnership with the government, we looked at the market data, saw the potential in single-aisle and regional aircraft was enormous and that the U.K. was well placed to win significant packages,” he says. “So we got the band back together, circled the wagons around “U.K. Aerospace,” and came up with a strategy that lays out a game plan to bring 30 years of work to the industry.” Having secured the government's funding commitment, “we are now putting shape to what we are trying to create,” he says.

The ATI is to consist of a core team of 30-50 staff mainly borrowed from industry and academia. According to the BIS, the institute's role will be to provide better alignment between early research, such as that supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and larger-scale R&D projects managed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and conducted by collaborative groups from industry and academia.

Some projects will be carried out by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult center, which opened in 2011 and brings together seven institutions to support the commercialization of new technologies in the U.K. The center focuses on R&D in areas such as advanced composites and metallics manufacturing for transport systems and satellite applications. Member institutions include the National Composites Center (NCC) at the University of Bristol.

The NCC was set up in 2009 with £25 million in government investment from the BIS/TSB and U.K. and European regional development funds. Ongoing operations are funded through a mix of industrial membership subscriptions, commercial contract work and U.K. and European R&D projects. The NCC is working on composites design and structural analysis, modeling and simulation, as well as automation and robotics.

The ATI is a national effort, and will be in addition to U.K. industry participation in European Commission-funded R&D such as Clean Sky and its planned follow-on, Clean Sky 2. Aimed at reducing the environmental impact of civil aviation, Clean Sky is a €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) program funded 50:50 by the EC and industry, running from 2008 to 2017. Clean Sky 2 is planned to start in 2014 and run to 2020, with a proposed budget of €3.6 billion.

Like the European programs, the ATI initiative aims to meet Vision 2020 environmental goals set by the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe. These include reducing emissions by 50% for carbon dioxide and 80% for nitrogen oxides, and noise by 50%, relative to 2000 levels. The longer-term Flightpath 2050 goals call for reductions of 75% in CO2, 90% in NOx and 65% in noise.

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