UK Government invests £90m in aerospace manufacturing

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Lightweight materials and parts for hybrid and electric planes will be developed within the five projects. (Image: Rolls Royce)

The UK Government is investing £88.7m in five aerospace projects through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme to improve manufacturing within the industry.

The projects, which could help secure approximately 1,400 jobs across the UK, will be developing technology to make production lines quicker, more efficient, and more cost-effective.

According to ATI, this will safeguard the UK’s manufacturing sector, ensuring that the UK remains a competitive market for aerospace companies as it recovers from the pandemic.

The projects will also be developing lightweight materials and parts that will reduce how much fuel is used and that can be adopted onto future hybrid and electric planes.

This will help the wider aerospace industry build back greener as it innovates and adapts to more sustainable travel over the next few decades.

The five projects:

  • GKN Aerospace-led ASCEND: With McLaren Automotive also joining the consortium, the project is seeking to develop and accelerate new lightweight, composite technology, including parts for aircraft wings, in the aerospace and automotive sectors, and improve supply chains for more sustainable future mobility solutions.

  • Renishaw-led LAMDA: The project will develop a 3D metal printing machine to build larger aerospace components as well as mass produce smaller components, increasing production and consistency while reducing costs. 

  • Q5D-led LiveWire: The project will create a machine that can automate the manufacture of wiring and embed it into aircraft parts including airline seats or even a control panel in a flight deck, reducing costs and making lighter, higher-quality components. 

  • Airbus-led Smarter Testing: The Smarter Testing project aims to develop a novel test and certification process for aeronautical structures, which will combine virtual and physical tests to provide a step reduction in development lead-time and costs. The partners intend to use this opportunity to build a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for Smarter Testing in the UK.

  • Thales-led COREF (Connected Reconfigurable Factory): This project will focus on Industry 4.0 tools & processes for low-volume, high-complexity manufacturing, creating two open-access, digitally-connected innovation laboratories. These will enable companies to increase the productivity and efficiency of their electronic systems design and assembly processes, while reducing costs.

The grant winners, chosen by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute, will all receive a portion of the £88.7 million, with £44.1 million coming from Government and £44.6 million coming from industry.

‘Net Zero aviation is the future and this cash injection will boost capabilities as we look to build back greener and make businesses sustainable in the future,’ commented Aviation Minister Robert Courts. ‘We are committed to working closely with industry, including through the Jet Zero Council, to accelerate the development of new aviation technology and Sustainable Aviation Fuels to help us realise net zero flight.’

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