By Daniel Hunter
The latest £120 million investment from government and industry in aerospace research and technology was announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable at the Farnborough International Airshow.
The new funding, part of a total £200 million investment in aerospace since 2011, was announced alongside a new vision for the future of the sector which will help UK aerospace firms win billions of pounds worth of new contracts over the next 15 to 20 years.
It will see government and industry working together - under the guise of the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) - to secure the future for UK aerospace.
“The UK aerospace industry is a national success story. We have the top aerospace industry in Europe, and are second in the world only to the US," Business Secretary Vince Cable said.
“There are great opportunities ahead, with forecasts indicating that 27,000 new large civil airliners will be needed by 2030. We have the potential to grab a greater share of that market — but aerospace is a global industry and there are many other countries hoping to have a slice of the pie.
“That is why the government is doing all it can to make the UK an attractive environment for aerospace — ensuring that companies are more likely to invest in jobs and facilities here with us.”
Over £200 million has been pledged by government and industry to keep the UK aerospace sector world class. This includes £120 million of new investment and the £60 million previously announced in the Budget for a UK Centre for Aerodynamics.
Today saw the first details of how funding for the new virtual aerodynamics centre would be distributed, including around £12 million for capability building work within the centre to develop and establish the UK’s intellectual leadership in aerodynamics. It will be supported by:
£28.2 million of government investment allocated to six innovative new projects in the area of aerodynamics - five Research & Technology projects and one project with a capital grant — with a further £20 million now to be added by industry; and
A new competition for collaborative aerodynamics research projects to be formally launched through the Technology Strategy Board. Up to £20 million of government money will be matched by up to £20 million from business.
The remaining funding is made up of:
Government and industry investing £40 million each in SILOET - a Rolls-Royce led programme of low carbon aero engine research;
£15 million joint government and industry investment awarded today by the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to 11 major business-led R&D projects. These will develop technology that will grow the sector and give the industry a competitive advantage in the global market; and
£3 million each from government and industry to fund 500 aeronautical engineers at Masters level over the next three years — announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.
A joint report launched at the Farnborough International Airshow identifies the huge opportunity for growth in the sector, threat of increasing competition from established and developing nations.
Key findings from ‘Reach for the Skies’ produced by the AGP include:
The UK can retain its position as the largest aerospace manufacturer in Europe (and number two globally) if industry and government work together to address barriers to growth;
The UK aerospace industry needs to broaden its customer base across the globe;
Companies are more likely to invest in the UK if they believe the Government is committed to keeping it an attractive environment for aerospace; and
Insufficient access to finance represents a risk to the industry — so business and government will work together to create a banking forum to close the gap between banks and aerospace businesses.
Rees Ward, CEO of Advancing UK AeroSpace, Defence & Security Industries said:
“The UK aerospace industry is in such a strong and leading position due to the sustained investment by government and industry going back decades. With the introduction of the AGP strategy, in the past 18 months, we have already seen tangible results in the £60m investment in a much needed Aerodynamics Centre and the prognosis is for even greater and more substantial returns on our joint investment in the strategy. Such shared commitment to the future of the UK aerospace industry can only help the UK retain it’s pole position as the leading European exporter to global markets and benefit the economy of this country.”
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