UK aviation innovation gets £200m funding boost

A funding package of £218m for a range of innovation projects in the UK aerospace sector has been announced on the first day of the 2023 Paris Air Show.

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The funding is being delivered through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme and it’s claimed that the package will secure more high-skilled jobs and increase investment in aerospace technology across the UK. Several of the largest projects will be led by Airbus and will investigate areas such as the development of new landing gear systems, wing designs, and the integration of new digital technologies.

“The strong partnership we have with DBT [Department for Business and Trade] and the ATI enables Airbus to develop new technologies that will help boost the skills we need to keep aerospace manufacturing in the UK,” said Airbus UK chairman and general counsel, John Harrison.

“Finding scalable solutions can’t be done alone so the ATI programme draws together UK industry leaders, academics and research organisations who are all making strides to bring our aircraft and industrial systems up to the level we need for a decarbonised future.”

Rolls-Royce will lead two of the 10 listed projects, exploring the use of high-strength titanium alloys and advanced manufacturing technologies for the large propulsion and power system market.

“These projects will improve both our cost competitiveness and the product performance of our current and future engines, which is vital for meeting industry and government Net Zero targets,” said Alan Newby, Rolls-Royce director of Aerospace Technology and Future Programmes.

“This work will involve collaboration with a broad ecosystem of academic, research centres and SME partners across the UK that creates value across the country and helps us to reach our goals.”

The full list of R&D projects backed by the ATI Programme is:

iBREAK: a £22.5m Airbus & partners collaborative project focused on how to manufacture landing gear components to increase competitiveness

LandONE: a £37.8m Airbus & partners collaborative project to deliver a design solution for new lighter, lower maintenance and greener landing gear systems, using digital methods

Next Wing: a £19.3m Airbus & partners collaborative project aiming to use digital and virtual tools to shorten the design process for new wings

ONEHEART: a £42m Airbus & partners collaborative project aiming to shorten the development time for new aircraft using digital technology

DELTA: a £20.8m Airbus & partners collaborative project using digital technologies to drive production efficiency, lower recurring costs and cycle times for wing manufacture

DQP: a £14m Alloyed-led project to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing materials into service

OLLGA: a £6.4m Safran Landing-led project focused on how to assess the ‘Remaining Useful Life’ for landing gear, improving aircraft availability and reducing operations/maintenance costs

ARRP: a £6.4m CloudNC-led project to improve computer-assisted manufacturing of aerospace parts made by titanium and aluminium

BETA: a £17.7m Rolls-Royce-led project to mature high-strength titanium alloys and develop smaller and lightweight gas turbine components

MUSIC: a £31.4m Rolls-Royce-led project to develop a portfolio of manufacturing technologies for the growing civil large propulsion and power system market