The Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) fosters collaboration between industry and academia and provides capabilities comparable with the leading aerospace facilities across Europe and the world.

One of the AIRC’s unique features is its focus on integration, where new aerospace technologies are rapidly developed and tested for current and future aircraft concept for the aviation of tomorrow.

This is supported by centre-based facilities including::

  • An agile concept facility incorporating advanced flight simulators and an IDEAS area enabling teams to fully visualise their concepts to enable the development time from idea to implementation to be shortened
  • Dedicated laboratories for research into future propulsion, mission systems, Urban Air Mobility and robot automated assembly
  • Over 1500m2 hangar space enabling research on full-scale aircraft and components
  • Automated assembly rig currently using two full size A320 wings to development automated wing assembly lines of the future
  • A thermal management systems facility incorporating a customisable representation of aircraft engine fluids and a 'drive-in' environmental chamber for examining heat management of engines concepts in representative aircraft environments
  • IP design award winning Future Systems Simulator for simulation future aircraft concepts, developing novel Human Machine interface (HMI) concepts for improved aircrew decision making
  • Structures rig for examining and validating different engine on wing configurations of future aircraft

Research at the AIRC also draws on the full capabilities of Cranfield University, including our on-site airport, National Flying Laboratory Centre, large scale gas turbine test area and Cranfield’s world-renown School of Management. This allows researchers to take their projects from theory to flight demonstration in one place, validating their research to technology readiness levels (TRL) 6-7 – higher than the levels normally associated with an academic environment.

The AIRC at Cranfield University was opened in 2017 with co-investment partners Airbus and Rolls-Royce, following an award from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Working with other organisations, we aim to look at the aircraft in a broader context than the pure engineering challenges. Whether you are a large or small business, a potential partner or a consultancy, we would welcome a discussion to see how working with the capabilities of the AIRC could help you.

Take a virtual 360° tour of the AIRC below.

The AIRC working with other Cranfield facilities, including the runway, is unique. This is the only place where universities and companies can demonstrate, validate and research at the platform level, up to the higher technical readiness levels (6-7) more normally associated with business.

Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace