£90 million boost to fire up aerospace manufacturing

Aeroplane in the sky

On Friday 12th March 2021, Minister for Business, Paul Scully, has announced that nearly £90 million is being invested by the government and industry in five innovative aerospace manufacturing projects through the Aerospace Technology Institute Programme.

The funding aims to improve manufacturing within the aerospace industry, developing technology to make production lines quicker, more efficient, and more cost-effective. This will safeguard Dorset’s and the UK’s manufacturing sector, ensuring that the UK remains a competitive market for aerospace companies as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

If successful, one of the projects, ASCEND, led by GKN Aerospace, could help secure jobs in Dorset:

GKN Aerospace-led ASCEND (Aerospace and Automotive Supply Chain Enabled Development)

£39.6m investment over three years – £19.6m government grant, £20m from industry.

With McLaren Automotive also joining the consortium, the project is seeking to develop and accelerate new lightweight, composite technology, including parts for aircraft wings, in the aerospace and automotive sectors, and improve supply chains for more sustainable future mobility solutions. If successful, the project could help secure 729 design and manufacturing jobs by 2033/34, with the majority based in Bristol and Dorset.

Our investment in GKN Aerospace’s ASCEND project will not only develop innovative technology for low-emissions travel, but also has the potential to bring jobs to Dorset.

Through the ATI Programme, we’re committed to ensuring the aerospace industry builds back stronger and greener from the pandemic and benefits local communities in the process.

Minister for Business Paul Scully

Successful projects could help to secure approximately 1400 jobs across the UK, from Bristol to Belfast, and South Wales to Somerset, improving local growth and benefitting communities.

GKN Aerospace is proud to lead this consortium. Accelerating the next-generation of lightweight, cost effective advanced composite technologies is critical for the aerospace and automotive industry and its move to more energy-efficient aircraft and vehicles.  Ensuring we can not only develop these technologies, but also manufacture them at high-rate across the UK supply chain, will maintain our position as an industry leader and underpin our commitment to sustainability. Combined with the Aerospace Technology Institute, which is providing vital support for the UK’s position on the next generation of aircraft, we will be able to deliver breakthroughs in technology as well as benchmark levels of price, quality and repeatability

John Pritchard, President Civil Airframes GKN Aerospace

Other projects receiving funding include:

  • Renishaw-led LAMDA [Gloucestershire]: The project will develop a 3D metal printing machine to mass produce smaller components for aircraft, increasing production and consistency and reducing costs. Manufacturing will take place in South Wales.
  • Q5D-led LiveWire [North Somerset]: The project will create a machine that can automate the manufacture of wiring and embed it into aircraft parts including airline seats or even a control panel in a flight deck, reducing costs and making lighter, higher-quality components. The technology will provide new employment opportunities in the UK, and on-shore jobs previously undertaken abroad.
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