Welcome for £60m innovation centre for aerodynamics

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THE Government has said it will invest £60m in a UK centre for aerodynamics to open in 2012-13.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget yesterday that the centre “will encourage innovation in aircraft design and commercialise new ideas”.

Mark Ridgway, managing director at Wakefield-based Group Rhodes, and a private sector board member on Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “As an SME working in this sector, we welcome investment in the advanced manufacturing supply chain.”

Group Rhodes is made up of six engineering companies serving markets including aerospace, precision engineering and oil and gas.

Mr Ridgway added: “The only way we can compete internationally as a company is by innovation and by developing products. Any investment by the Government in this area of improving aerospace technology and supporting the sector, which is the second largest sector in the world, only second to the US, has to be welcomed.”

He was speaking from India yesterday where the firm had just concluded negotiations on a £2m piece of equipment relating to the aerospace industry with an Indian government organisation.

Mark Broxholme, managing director of Speciality Steels in South Yorkshire, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, and whose steel is used in landing gear and other components in aircraft, said: “We welcome support and investments of this type from the Government to strengthen key British industries like aerospace. Aerospace is one of our most important markets.

“We’ve invested £20m over the last year in our South Yorkshire plants, including in new technology which will allow us to increase the amount of aerospace steels we produce.”

Prof Keith Ridgway, research director of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, said: “We are very pleased to see help going to wealth-creating industries such as aerospace.

“The UK is one of the world’s leaders in aerospace technology and it is essential that we invest to remain in that position.”