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UK Government Provides Support for £34m Aircraft Wing Programme

17 December 2006

A pioneering £34m programme putting Britain at the forefront of next generation, greener, cost effective aircraft design will be backed by £17m UK government support.

Alistair Darling, Trade and Industry Secretary, launched the first phase of the 'Integrated Wing' programme at the Airbus UK factory at Broughton, North Wales which brings together the best UK researchers and industry to develop the aircraft wing concept of the future. It maintains the country's reputation as a world leader in aerospace design and manufacture.

The consortium, led by Airbus UK developing the new wing concept fit for 2020 and beyond will have particular focus on sustainable air travel with more efficient wings meaning reduced fuel burn, emissions and noise.

Announcing the project alongside Louis Gallois, President and CEO of Airbus and Rhodri Morgan AM, First Secretary, Welsh Assembly at Broughton, Mr Darling said: "British excellence in aerospace design, development and delivery is world renowned. We have great strengths, this project looks to the future of aircraft design and brings together our best from the drawing board to the factory floor. By being smart and working as one - from wings to landing gear; fuel systems to electronics - we can lead. Innovation and creativity like this are crucial if we are to win in the global economy. It means Britain leading the drive for greener aerospace technology. More efficient, less emissions. That is what this project aims to deliver. Strengthening the economy, kinder to the environment. That is why we are backing it."

Over £260m of collaborative funding into next generation design is being put in by Government and industry through the National Aerospace Technology Strategy.

The first phase of the Integrated Wing Aerospace Programme lasts three years, with the objective of integrating the most promising combination of technologies related to development of wings, wing systems, landing gear and fuel systems. After completing Phase 1, the intention is to go on and develop a large-scale physical demonstrator in the second phase.

The programme being led by Airbus UK brings together 17 leading organisations, supported by Dti, Regional Development Agencies in the South East and South West, Invest Northern Ireland, and the Welsh Assembly.