A multi-million-pound Aerospace Sector Deal has been announced by t he government, building on the UK’s excellence and heritage in aerospace. The Deal aims to transform the future of flight through electrification and autonomy, and commits to increasing gender equality in the sector.
The defence and aerospace industry recorded a £10 billion increase in deals over the last 12 months, with the total deals valued at £31 billion. The industry has achieved annual revenue growth of 7% over the last five years, account for 7% of UK exports and employ 338,000 people, according to trade organisation, the ADS Group.
The announcement comes as the Business Secretary Greg Clark makes a speech in Bristol today outlining a new Aerospace Sector Deal between the industry and the government.
Among the proposals mentioned in the deal, which is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, are the £250 million Future Flight Challenge. This will go towards developing new ground infrastructure and aircraft technology that will hopefully make the industry more environmentally-friendly.
It will also be spent on developing autonomous air vehicles and better airspace management. The programme will receive £125 million funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund with the other half being match-funding by the aerospace industry.
Aerospace giant GKN will also receive £15 million in government funding for a new Global Technology Centre. The centre will be dedicated to a variety of processes, including additive manufacturing (AM), advanced composites, assembly and industry 4.0 processes.
Other proposals outlined in the Deal include an expansion of the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme.
Like the Future Flight Challenge, it will be joint-funded by government and industry and centre around R&D projects. Supporting SMEs in the UK aerospace supply chain to boost their competitiveness through a new productivity improvement programme. `
Finally, the Deal commits the industry to increase diversity and inclusion by embedding the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter. Earlier in the year, 50 companies in the aerospace and aviation sector signed up to the Charter to work towards gender equality in the industry. Virgin Atlantic, BAE Systems, and Bombardier were just some of the signatories.