In line with the growing use of composites in aerospace, the city of Wichita, at the centre of the Kansas aerospace cluster, is planning to develop a dedicated Composites Park to service local demand.
The demand for composite materials in the U.S.A. is forecast to grow exponentially over the next 20 years with the aerospace sector leading the way. In the State of Kansas, the aerospace cluster employs about 40,000 people and includes major aircraft manufacturers and suppliers, such as Boeing, Cessna, Bombardier Learjet, Raytheon and Spirit AeroSystems.
The growing importance of composites in aerospace is illustrated by the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the first airliner with an all composite airframe, and the Raytheon Premier, the first bizjet with an all composite fuselage. At the same time an increasing number of aircraft components such as aircraft doors, ducts and interior fittings are produced from advanced carbon-based materials.
Many UK companies are already established suppliers to the Kansas aerospace industry and there is growing interest in the composites industry in the region. In 2006 the Wichita Chamber of Commerce hosted a successful DTI Global Watch Mission of UK Composites specialists who visited Raytheon, Spirit Aerosystems and NIAR.
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