July 10, 2012

British Government Dishing Out $180 Million To Aerospace Industry

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

The British government announced it will be throwing in a $186 million investment in the U.K. aerospace industry.

The latest investment  is a split between the taxpayer and the private sector, including an investment to help fund the development of low-carbon engines.

The money includes an investment of $62 million each in a program steered by Rolls-Royce to develop greener aircraft engines.

Joint investments of $23 million in 11 research and develop projects and $9 million in educating 500 engineers to master's degree level helped round out the announcement.

Vince Cable, a British politician, said while speaking at the Farnborough air show that the government had no qualms about showing bias towards certain sectors.

"In the past we were rather inhibited in government by being accused of picking winners," he said at the air show. "But I don't feel at all embarrassed by saying that this sector is one of our winners. There is nothing wrong with the government getting behind successful sectors in the economy."

He announced the investment along with a "strategic vision" for the U.K. aerospace industry drawn up by the Aerospace Growth Partnership, which comprises of representatives from the government and the private sector.

Cable said the strategy aims to retain the U.K.'s status as host to the world's second largest aerospace industry, and the largest in Europe.

The vision includes establishing an aerospace banking forum to help out small and medium-sized firms.

"We are aware that there is a problem and whenever I go around manufacturing companies they reinforce that message," Cable said in a press release.

He said he was interested in setting up an equivalent to the Aerospace Growth Partnership for the defense industry as well.

"We want to have a strategic approach of the kind that we have for aerospace," Cable said at the event.

Airbus, one of the U.K. aerospace industry's biggest customers, said the announcement on low-carbon engines kept Britain in the frame to develop new aircraft to succeed the A320neo and the A380.

"It is the right time for such a commitment because 95% of our research and development commitments are on ecology, and mainly on fuel efficiency," Güenter Butschek, the Airbus chief operating officer responsible for manufacturing, said in a statement. "So this commitment is targeting the same objectives which means the UK is perfectly in line with the overall direction towards the next generation of aircraft."