Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast today announced its involvement in a UK national research programme aimed at developing new composite wing technologies that will reduce the environmental impact of future aircraft.
The £103 million three-year Next Generation Composite Wing (NGCW) programme involves 16 leading organisations, both industrial companies and research bodies, as well as economic development agencies including Invest Northern Ireland. It will enable the development of technologies which will lead to the design, manufacture and testing of more lightweight and efficient aircraft.
Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast’s involvement in the programme amounts to an investment of almost £9 million. Bombardier will focus on optimising the overall design and manufacturing processes needed to produce a next generation composite wing, with the emphasis on reducing weight, aerodynamic drag and life cycle costs. It will explore ways that will enable high volume, more cost-efficient production, and a more integrated approach from design right through to manufacture.
With almost 40 years’ experience in the composites field, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast is recognised as a leader in the design, manufacture and certification of advanced composite components, covering all classes of aircraft and all categories of structure including primary structure. It is continuing to invest in these technologies to ensure it is at the forefront of the application of carbon fibre reinforced structures, which are playing an increasing role in new aircraft design.
Its investment in Resin Transfer Moulding and Resin Transfer Infusion composites processes, for example, has enabled it to develop wing components for Bombardier’s CRJ NextGen regional jets. These new advanced composite components have entered service on the CRJ900 NextGen and will be standard on the CRJ700 NextGen aircraft and the new CRJ1000 NextGen.
Advanced composite structures offer significant benefit to customers including reduced inspection and maintenance activities due to the corrosion-free properties of the materials. They are lightweight and durable, thereby contributing to reduced fuel burn and reducing environmental impact. Burning less fuel means lower costs and fewer emissions.
Commenting on Belfast’s involvement in the Next Generation Composite Wing research programme, Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: “Participation in this programme will help us to further enhance our skills and capabilities in the design and manufacture of large composite structures, particularly wings, thereby helping us to compete successfully in the international market place.
“Bombardier takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, and places great emphasis on the development of more efficient products and manufacturing processes. Our objective is to offer customers aircraft that are more fuel efficient, with lower emissions, reduced noise, and with lower operating costs. The Next Generation Composite Wing programme provides an important opportunity to take further steps towards more environmentally friendly aircraft of the future.”
Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast has been involved in a range of national and European research programmes over the past 15 years. Current programmes include the UK’s Integrated Wing and Environmentally Friendly Engine programmes, and European programmes ALCAS (Advanced Low Cost Aircraft Structures) and VITAL (Environmentally Friendly Engine).
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2008, were $17.5 billion US, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
Note to editors
Bombardier’s share of the £103 million programme is £9 million, of which Invest Northern Ireland is providing £2.25 million and the Technology Strategy Board £2.25 million.
Helen Gregory Alec McRitchie
Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast
+44 (0)28 9046 2463 + 44 (0)28 9073 3515