27 Feb 2014 – This week Copernicus Technology Ltd (CTL) was at the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) Technology Showcase in London, where the progress being made in the development of the AGP and the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) was briefed to over 400 attendees over the course of 2 days.  The AGP is a collaborative partnership between industry and Government that represents a long-term commitment to maintain and grow the second largest aerospace economy in the world.  It will oversee investment of over £2B in 7 years in UK aerospace R&D in 4 priorty ‘pillars’: Aerodynamics, Aerostructures, Advanced Systems and Propulsion.

The event, which was held a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, featured presentations including CTL, Boeing, GE Aviation, Bombardier Aerospace, AgustaWestland, Michael Fallon MP (Minister for Business, Innovation & Skills and co-chair of the AGP),  Marcus Bryson (CEO of GKN and the industry co-chair of the AGP), and Stephen Henworth CBE, newly appointed chair of the ATI.

The event was organised by the Aerospace, Aviation & Defence Knowledge Transfer Network (AAD KTN) and CTL had been invited along by the KTN to provide a presentation on our experiences of participating in R&D collaborations with aerospace companies and Universities.

The conference was opened by Dr Ruth Mallors-Ray, Director of the AAD KTN, and her opening address highlighted a number of KTN success stories – one of which was CTL.  Ruth referred to CTL’s first involvement in the KTN back in 2010 and how it had enabled us to establish strong links with many key players in UK aerospace technology.  Since our first involvement we have supported many AAD KTN events and went on to become a member of its Electronic Systems National Technical Committee (ES NTC).

The AAD KTN will cease to be on 1st April, with its NTCs being subsumed by the ATI, whilst the team will be absorbed into a single ‘KTN Co’ overseen by the Technology Strategy Board.

Following Ruth’s opening comments the day was then chaired by Jenny Body, President of the Royal Aeronautical Society.  Over the course of the day high-profile industry speakers provided in-depth background on UK government’s strategy for the commercial aerospace sector had led to the formation of the AGP and the ATI.  Michael Fallon MP announced that £60M of AGP funding had just been approved for 7 projects – click here to read full details of the announcement.

During day 2 the conference split into 4 sessions focused on each of the AGP pillars and CTL Managing Director Giles Huby presented to the Advanced Systems audience on the topic of ‘Aerospace Innovation: an SME perspective’.  The presentation covered the background of what CTL does and went on to explore the challenges of innovation in new technology products and solutions (“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted they’d have said faster horses” according to Henry Ford!) and the risks and rewards of R&D funding and industry collaborations.  Huby summed up by urging fellow SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the AGP in the coming years, whilst also encouraging larger aerospace companies to avoid the urge to be risk-averse and instead embrace the chance to work with SMEs and smaller companies.

Other Advanced Systems presentations included the ES NTC’s future plans; an insight into its electronics in harsh environments research – HEEDS - led by Aero Engine Controls; and the impressive array of UAV integration, R&D and manufacturing projects being undertaken by Blue Bear Systems Research.

The final session of day 2 looked to the future forecasts for global commercial aerospace.  Sir Roger Bone (seated on the far left in the above picture) of Boeing UK outlined Boeing’s market estimates beyond 2032 and highlighted the importance of the UK’s role in that – in one example explaining that a Rolls-Royce-powered Boeing 787 Dreamliner is 25% British-made.  Sir Roger was followed by speakers from Bombardier Aerospace, AgustaWestland and Teal Consulting, who all gave their own projections and perspectives on what the future holds for the industry.

The AGP Technology Showcase highlighted that the UK’s aerospace sector is in rude health, with the 2nd largest aerospace industry in the world after the US.  Furthermore, the senior figures presenting at the conference all agreed that the UK government “couldn’t not” protect and sustain the industry and by allotting the AGP funding and setting the underpinning industry strategy it was sending a strong message of intent to the rest of the world.  The British are coming!

Click on the links below to learn more

About the AGP    @ukaerospace

About the AAD KTN   @aerodefktn

About Copernicus Technology Ltd

We find what others can’t.  We provide award-winning Ncompass™ test equipment and maintenance data exploitation tools to help our Aerospace & Rail clients fix the causes of ‘downtime’ and ‘No Fault Found’.  CTL also provide world-leading maritime patrol aircraft operations expertise through training and consultancy services.  CTL are ISO9001:2008 accredited and we are located in the UK, Netherlands and Australia.

Contact us now to find out more!

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