Government announces £273 million for aerospace innovation

The solar-powered aircraft and NHS treatment carrying drones are among latest innovations backed by £273 million of government and industry funding. 

This package will aim to help the UK aerospace sector seize jobs and growth opportunities from the global green flight revolution and other emerging sectors like drone technology. Moreover, announcement comes on first day of the Farnborough International Airshow, where the Business Secretary delivered a keynote speech.

The Aerospace Technology Institute estimates ATI Programme projects are set to secure 81,000 jobs, while contributing £97 billion of economic value to the UK. The £155 million of joint government-industry funding has been announced to support new projects unlocking the latest in green aerospace innovation, such as hydrogen and battery technology, and ultra-efficient manufacturing processes and technologies, such as digital and additive manufacturing – generating further job opportunities and leads in emerging technologies and sectors.

A further £105.5 million of government-industry funding will be shared by projects focused on developing air transport systems and enabling new vehicle technologies through the Future Flight Challenge. The projects could create more than 8,800 jobs and include making motorways safer and improving journey times by using electric drones to survey hazards, to using electric drones to distribute medical treatments across Scotland, including to cancer patients.

The Business Secretary announced £12 million is to be made available through the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund to back initiatives that could unlock industries of the future through regulation – from flying cars to vaccine-carrying drones.

Finally, a Drone Ambition Statement has been published outlined how the government and industry should work together to seize on drones’ potential £45 billion of benefit to the economy by 2030.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary, said:

“The return of the Farnborough International Airshow after a four-year absence is a clear example of the aerospace and aviation sector’s recovery. Today’s package of support will further this recovery and help the sector seize on the enormous opportunities for growth that exist as the world transitions to cleaner forms of flight.”

Robert Courts, Transport Minister, said:

“The steps we have set out today will ensure our aviation sector remains world-leading and fit for the future, helping to deliver on our ambitious climate change goals and boost high-skilled job opportunities.”