Investing in materials

Invest Northern Ireland is to support Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast by investing £9m in a project to help to develop the next generation of aircraft wings made from composite materials.

The project is part of the UK Next Generation Composite Wing (NGCW) initiative, a £103m industrial research programme led by Airbus in collaboration with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). The Technology Strategy Board, an agency of DIUS, has offered around £25m towards the initiative and Invest NI will provide £2.2m in research and development support, which has been matched by the Technology Strategy Board.

The NGCW project will develop methods for the design and production of wings aimed primarily at the growing market for short-range commercial aircraft. The wing will utilise the latest composite materials, which are lighter and more durable than metal. These benefits will help reduce both the operating costs and environmental impact of commercial aircraft, by reducing fuel consumption.

Bombardier will focus on techniques to optimise and refine the composite wing design process and methods for increasing the volume of aircraft structures made from composites.

Invest NI has offered the funding through its START programme, which is part funded by the European Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013, under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).