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Greater Birmingham and the West Midlands is a global centre for the design and manufacture of aerospace components. Rolls-Royce Control Systems, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, Timet, Meggitt, Moog, Collins Aerospace, GKN and more all have a major presence in the West Midlands, supporting the large international manufacturers such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

The Midlands Aerospace Alliance, based in Coventry, represents the largest aerospace cluster in Europe and underlines the region’s strength in the sector with more than 300 members. Local manufacturers are focused on the development of high technology systems, engines and motors, components and control systems.

The region’s lead in component design and manufacture of metal and composite materials is unrivalled. Rolls-Royce’s materials technology centre is based at the University of Birmingham while Coventry University’s Centre for Manufacturing and Materials Engineering is researching new processes for use in the aerospace sector. Birmingham City University is leading on the application of lightweight casting.

Ansty Park by Coventry is home to the Manufacturing Technology Centre, a £40m facility supporting R&D projects for industry in the aerospace sector in net shape manufacturing including additive layer manufacturing for example. Ansty Park is also home to the High Temperature Research Centre, a £60m joint facility between Rolls-Royce and the University of Birmingham – a unique casting, design, simulation and advanced manufacturing research facility.

Design strength comes not only from the region’s universities, but also from leading manufacturers such as GKN, Timet and Collins Aerospace. The sector continues to grow, with Meggitt recently announcing a new £130 million investment in Coventry and Dunlop developing new lighter tyres for the world’s large commercial aircraft.

Aerospace: Key facts and stats

Market opportunity

  • Region home to 25% of the UK aerospace industry
  • Ease of access to primes (OEMs) and Rolls-Royce global HQ 41 miles/ 67 km from Birmingham
  • 400 specialist companies in the Midlands around Greater Birmingham contributing to aerospace sector
  • 75% of revenues from civil markets

Core technology competencies

  • Systems that power aircraft – gas turbine engines and other propulsion systems
  • Systems that control the moving parts of aircraft and engines – electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic
  • Specialist metal and composite materials
  • Engineering design

Rich regional ecosystem

  • Highest concentration of transport technology activity in the UK
  • Local clusters around flight controls, actuation systems, engine controls, landing and braking systems
  • Leading and specialist R&D centres of excellence specific to aerospace technologies
  • Sector support initiatives and funding support

Centres of excellence

  • Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – research and technology collaboration in manufacturing processes
  • Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre at University of Birmingham (materials)
  • High Temperature Research Centre – collaboration between University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce
  • Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace (DRAMA) at the MTC