Helicopter R&D

Government minister Ian Pearson has launched an £8.8m helicopter technology research and development programme led by AgustaWestland and supported by the Technology Strategy Board.

The REACT – Rotor Embedded Actuator Control Technology – project will see AgustaWestland collaborating with Bristol, Leicester and Liverpool universities, and will receive investment of £4.4m from the Technology Strategy Board.

The three-year project involves the development of active surfaces in helicopter rotor blades, and active hydraulic systems in rotor controls. These active systems continuously vary the aerodynamics of the rotors to provide optimal performance.

Full-scale laboratory validation of the technology will be produced, while the project will also investigate and develop the manufacturing methods that will be needed to produce the innovative technology in volume.