Airbus announces UK wing development and test centre

Airbus has announced the development of a wing development and test centre, due to open in 2017 at the company’s existing Filton site. The facility will develop and test large structural parts, housing around 300 highly-skilled engineers. In addition, it will have an ‘open door’ policy where external organisations can make use of the equipment and laboratory space.

Facility general manager and human resources director, Mark Stewart said the wing development and test centre has been “specifically designed to provide the most advanced working environment and tools for Airbus, our suppliers, our partners and academia to deliver the next generation of aircraft wing, landing gear system and fuel system designs.”

Airbus’ Filton site was chosen as the location for this facility because it is already home to approximately 2000 engineers who specialise in wing design, as well as fuel and landing gear systems integration. The site also is home to Airbus Group Innovations’ 3D printing plateau and digital manufacturing laboratory and the Airbus low-speed wind tunnel, and is close to other research facilities including the National Composites Centre.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne joined Airbus chief operating officer Tom Williams to announce a €44.8million joint investment in the wing integration centre.

Osbourne said: “Not only will the new research centre play home to some of the most exciting innovations in aerospace for years to come; it will also protect hundreds of highly skilled jobs.”

The facility will house engineers working in early-stage research right through to in-service aircraft improvements, while a team from Airbus Group Innovations is to focus on emerging technologies. They will have access to a physical test environment that will form a proving ground for future technologies, materials and manufacturing techniques, as well as novel and more efficient testing processes.