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Aerospace Industry: Research

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to support research and development in the aerospace sector.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Technology is an important strand of work for the Aerospace Growth Partnership, which I co-chair with Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace. The focus of the Technology Working Group is on identifying the key technologies that will help position the UK aerospace industry to secure high value work on new aircraft programmes.

In July 2011, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announced £10 million of research and development (R and D) grants for the Next Generation Vertical Lift programme, led by AgustaWestland, encompassing three projects focusing on main and tail rotor blades, transmission systems and flight trials. This is in addition to the £300 million invested by the TSB over the past four years on collaborative research and technology programmes such as ‘Next Generation Composite Wing' led by Airbus, and ‘SILOET (Strategic Investment in Low Carbon Engine Technology) led by Rolls-Royce.

We are also supporting the development of new aircraft programmes such as the Airbus A350 XWB and Bombardier CSeries aircraft with Repayable Launch Investment—with commitments for these programmes totalling around £514 million.

The aerospace sector will benefit from the creation of the High Value Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre (HVM TIC) network. Established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board, the HVM TIC will provide an integrated capability and embrace all forms of manufacture using metals and composites, in addition to process manufacturing technologies and bio-processing.

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