Airbus Bird of Prey launch RIAT

The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) took place this past weekend with thousands of military personnel, politicians and aircraft enthusiasts descending upon RAF Fairford for the RAF’s annual Airshow. Innovation and looking to the future were the key themes at RIAT this year which saw a number of ADS members and the Government make several key announcements.

UK signs MOU with Sweden on Combat Air

Firstly, on Friday was announced that the UK and Sweden have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on future combat air technologies. This will be focused firstly on conceptual work on systems technologies that can be integrated into existing Typhoon and Gripen platforms as well as technologies that will be key to the next generation of fighter aircraft. ADS’ Defence Policy Adviser Andy Johnston wrote about the announcement last Friday.

Airbus launch concept aircraft to inspire next-generation engineers

Also at the show Airbus, alongside Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox MP, launched a futuristic bird-like concept airliner design with the goal of motivating the next generation of aerospace engineers. The eye-catching “Bird of Prey” concept is not intended to represent an actual aircraft, however, it is based on realistic ideas of what a future regional aircraft could look like.

Martin Aston, a Senior Manager at Airbus explained at the launch how the aircraft is designed to create a ‘wow’ factor that will help young people consider a career in the aerospace sector.

The conceptual design initiative is backed by the GREAT Britain campaign, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Air League, the Institution of Engineering and the Technology, and Aerospace Technology Institute.

MOD launch a research programme to develop hypersonic propulsion systems

Finally, the Ministry of Defence formally announced that it was providing £10m of funding to research and develop hypersonic propulsion systems for increased aircraft performance and capability. The funding is for a UK programme to design, research and develop our understanding of high-Mach advanced propulsion systems.

The programme will be led by Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Reaction Engines, all ADS members. The project hopes to improve the MOD’s understanding of hypersonic propulsion to contribute to the MOD’s future defence needs.

These three announcements at the show demonstrate how UK industry and Government are working together to push the UK to the forefront of global technology and innovation in the defence, space and aerospace sectors.