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The UK needs to maintain world-class design, analysis, development and certification capabilities to deliver competitive high-value systems for current and emerging markets.
The UK designs and manufactures major elements of air vehicles including wings, engines and many other complex systems. The UK also has a thriving supply chain providing components, sub-systems and services across all market segments. Despite no longer assembling large commercial aircraft, it is critical that the UK retains a whole-aircraft capability to understand which technologies to develop and how these may be integrated into the vehicle. Aircraft are becoming more complex and the full potential of new technologies will only be realised through early consideration of their impact at the whole aircraft level. The UK also has real opportunities to design and make new air vehicles for the emerging sub-regional and urban markets.
The UK must protect and develop underpinning capabilities in air vehicle conceptual design and analysis.
The UK has the tools, testing infrastructure and skills required to understand the impact of new technologies at platform level. These need to be continually developed to keep pace with new technologies and aircraft concepts. This means enhancing conventional aircraft modelling processes and methods and growing whole aircraft design capability for new markets.
The UK needs to establish itself as the global leader in aircraft technologies for propulsion, complex systems and structures that meet the challenges of sustainability.
The aviation sector has committed to meet challenging environmental targets. The UK has an important role in meeting these through the products and services it provides. Many of the new technologies, including hybrid propulsion and enhanced aerodynamics, will need to be demonstrated on physical and virtual models and ultimately in flight. These are formidable undertakings, and we will work with industry to support both UK and international collaboration opportunities.
To be affordable, the cost of production for new aircraft technologies must be radically reduced through streamlined engineering, design, manufacture, certification and processes for upgrades. Industry is already targeting a 50 per cent reduction in certification costs by 2050 relative to 2000 . Reducing the time for aircraft development also improves time-to-market which is key for competitiveness. With increasing aircraft demand, allowing for ramp-up and improved production rates will also be a differentiator. We will seek collaborative approaches to deploy cutting-edge digital simulation and modelling tools to support these needs.
On the operational side, ATI has established a route map to single pilot operation which will offer cost efficiency and address the limited supply of new pilots for an expanding market.
The UK needs to lead the next era of aviation by demonstrating sustainable, safe and cost-effective technologies and taking the exciting opportunities offered by new air vehicles.
New markets are emerging for sub-regional (inter-city) and urban (intra-city) air transport services. Vehicles will need to operate in densely populated areas alongside a wide variety of aircraft and ground vehicles. These operations will need to be sustainable, quiet, safe and cost competitive against other modes of transport. The safety challenge could be addressed in part via increased automation and autonomy in aircraft and ground systems. These new markets are an opportunity for the UK to re-enter commercial air vehicle design, development and manufacture.
Although the projected market value is relatively small when compared to that of larger commercial aircraft, we will also aim to identify technologies that could be advanced and demonstrated in this emerging market that could scale to be applied later in large commercial aircraft.
Working with the sector, the ATI will push for early flight demonstrations incorporating cutting-edge propulsion & power including hybrid and all-electric propulsion and high levels of automation and autonomy. We will also encourage the development of high-fidelity digital twins and simulations. This work will evaluate environmental impacts, operability and safety and accelerate market entry.