News story

Plan launched to keep UK aerospace flying high

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…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


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.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“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.

“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.”

**Notes to editors

**1. The six projects that have been allocated grants by the UK Centre for Aerodynamics are:

**Advanced Integrated Wing Optimisation (AIWO)

**Led by Airbus, the project will investigate novel aerodynamic wing configurations and shapes for the next all new Airbus aircraft. Main activity will be located in Bristol.

**Structural Technology Maturity (STeM)

**Led by GKN and Bombardier, the aim of the STeM Project is to support new concepts in wing structure and manufacturing that enable expansion of the boundaries of aerodynamic performance and contribute to securing work in the UK for the next generation of aircraft. Main activity to be located in the Isle of White and Northern Ireland.

**Integrated Turboprop Propulsion Systems (ITPS)

**Led by GE Aviation Systems (Dowty Propellers), the project will investigate the aerodynamic and acoustic performance of innovative propeller blade geometries with development of aerodynamic and acoustic design and analysis tools to advance recent concepts into practical solutions. Main activity to be located in Gloucester.

**Experimental Aerodynamics (ExpAERO)

**Led by Airbus UK, the project will generate a deeper understanding of the flows on transonic wings in a number of specific areas where detailed experimental data has to date been lacking. It will provide input to enhance Airbus wing design methods. Main activity to be located in Bristol and Bedford.

**Aircraft Research Association Research & Development (ARA R&D)

**Led by ARA, the programme will tackle fundamental aerodynamic aspects and capability enhancements. This will enable ARA to compete more effectively on the international wind tunnel test market through the maintenance of the UK expertise in wind tunnel testing and its associated support technologies. The topics to be investigated are Hybrid Laminar Flow Control Technology, Aircraft Loads Alleviation Technology, Power plant Integration and Cavity Aerodynamics and Acoustics. Main activity to be located in Bedford

**Aircraft Research Association Capital Equipment (ARA CE)

**Led by ARA with a capital grant, the following infrastructure in Bedford will be upgraded: the transonic wind-tunnel main control system, drive system and acoustic measurement system; computing system capacity upgrade and machinery for model manufacture. These cover their ability for testing and modelling as well as their ability to manufacture and test very high quality test models in a timely and effective manner.

  1. The Technology Strategy Board’s competition for funding will see investment of up to £20m in collaborative research and development that builds intellectual leadership to support the aims of the UK Centre of Aerodynamics. The competition will focus on strategic aerodynamic technological themes aiming to re-establish the UK as the leading nation in the field of Aerodynamics. The competition will stimulate businesses to work together and with academia in order to accelerate progress in key high-potential aerodynamic technologies and to improve co-ordination and collaboration amongst and between UK businesses, academia and centres of aerodynamic capability. For further information please visit:

  2. SILOET (Strategic Investment in Low-carbon Engine Technology) will accelerate the development and introduction of low carbon aircraft engine technology. The programme consists of seven projects which will look at lightweight structures, high temperature materials and technology, lean burn systems, virtual engineering tools, and advanced components. Each of the SILOET project consortiums is made up of Rolls-Royce and various combinations from ten of the leading UK universities.

  3. The UK’s aerospace sector is also to benefit from £7.5 million of government investment in 11 major business-led collaborative research and development projects that encourage innovative solutions to some of the high-risk, high-potential challenges facing the industry. The projects will develop technology that will grow the sector and give the industry a competitive advantage in the global market. £6.8m will be provided by the Technology Strategy Board while the EPSRC will support the involvement of academic institutions with grants totalling £735,000. Including investment from industry, the total value of the R&D is in excess of £15 million.

  4. The AGP is jointly chaired by Mark Prisk, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), and Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace and Vice President of ADS. It has been established as a partnership between industry and government to create a vision and strategy for the future of the UK aerospace industry for the next 15 years and beyond.

The AGP’s scope is civil aerospace: business and regional jets, advanced turboprops, helicopters and the very largest twin aisle passenger aircraft. It also considers areas where there is dual (civil and military) technology.

  1. The Government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
  • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20

  • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business

  • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy

  • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.

  1. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices and speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See []( for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Name Adam Smith Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5955 Fax



Published 10 July 2012