Time for a refresh


Nov 18, 2013 (2 years and 11 months ago)


jUNE 2010
Time for a refresh
Whilst aerospace is a global industry,
Aerospace Technology Strategy Group
(ATSG) chairman, Ric Parker outlines
the value of a national technology
final approach i
t’s precisely because aerospace is a global industry that we
need a national strategy – to secure the UK’s position in the
global market. The National Aerospace Technology Strategy
(NATS) identifies the highest priority collaborative research
and technology needed to protect and grow that position. It
enables the entire supply chain to identify and align with the
critical areas that need to be developed within the sector.
A strongly supported national strategy will ensure that the
UK remains a natural choice for high value-added activity by
global companies that have options over the location of new
What has stimulated a revision of the Strategy? The
Aerospace Innovation and Growth Team initiative gave rise to
the Strategy in 2002. Much has changed since, including new
competitors from emerging economies, a renewed realisation
of the importance of high value-added manufacturing to
the UK economy, even greater awareness of the scale of
the environmental challenge and the election of a new
Whilst the technology roadmaps within the Strategy have
been continually updated, the extent to which the external
landscape has changed makes a comprehensive refresh
extremely timely.
What has the Strategy achieved? Its success is most clearly
demonstrated by the positions UK industry has secured
on major platforms such as the Airbus A350 XWB, the
Bombardier Cseries, the F-35 and the Future Lynx helicopter.
Without the programmes delivered through Strategy, the UK
wouldn’t be in a position to offer the world-class technology
needed to be a major participant in these global enterprises.
We also shouldn’t forget the considerable spin-out and spill-
over of aerospace technologies throughout the non-aerospace
supply chain which further benefits the UK economy.
How will the relationship between the Aerospace Technology
Steering Group (ATSG) and the new Government develop?
The Government, alongside industry and academia, is a
stakeholder in ATSG. A strong aerospace sector is an important
contributor to the UK economy, delivering exports worth £14
billion annually. I’m confident the new Government recognises
this and will engage with ATSG and the Strategy to ensure
that focused and consistent investment from all stakeholders
sustains the world-leading capabilities that will enable the UK
to profit from the continuing growth in the aerospace sector.
In terms of delivering the strategy, there are four key areas
where new focus is required: 1) The required investment
profile presents a significant challenge to all stakeholders
in the current economic climate. We need to be creative in
securing the maximum technological advantage for the UK at
a time when other nations continue to increase investment.
2) Alongside the focus of the Strategy on collaborative R&T
programmes, ATSG will seek innovative approaches to creating
and securing the key national facilities and infrastructure
(which are currently at risk) upon which the programmes
depend. 3) Launching large research programmes is a complex
process with many collaborators and government agencies
involved. ATSG will identify mechanisms through which such
programmes can be launched more efficiently; time to market
is the vital component. 4) The lengthy technology lifecycle
in aerospace requires sound early technology investment
decisions. ATSG will continue to drive for more effective
coordination of low maturity technology research in the UK
university base and better coordination between the civil and
defence sectors.
Are we doing enough to consolidate the UK’s position and
secure a growing share of the future market opportunity? We’ve
done a lot, and the direction of travel in recent years has been
extremely positive. If we can maintain the momentum which has
been established, then the answer should be a cautious ‘Yes’. ❙
“We need a national strategy to
secure the UK’s position in the
global market.”
Ric Parker: Chairman, Aerospace Technology Strategy Group