Cranfield University has reached a milestone on the way to the completion of its Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC), which will enable industrial collaboration and academic research.     

A year after the initial ground-breaking, the new centre was ‘topped out’ today in a ceremony marking the highest point of the build being reached. Guests included MEP Vicky Ford – who was at the initial event last year - as well as senior members of Rolls-Royce and Airbus, who are co-investment partners in the facility. Dr Henner Wapenhans, Director of Technology Strategy, Rolls-Royce and Trevor Higgs, Head of Landing Gear and Site Representative for Engineering in the UK, Airbus joined Cranfield’s staff at the event.

The Centre’s uniqueness is its focus on integration in aerospace, where new aerospace technologies will be rapidly developed and tested for current and future aircraft and airspace concepts using modern simulation and visualisation techniques, creating a virtual aerospace environment for research.

Sir Peter Gregson, Cranfield University’s Vice-Chancellor said, “We are delighted to have taken this latest step forward in the development of the Aerospace Integration Research Centre. The AIRC is an important new national facility at Cranfield and will bring together both industry and academia to complete ground-breaking developments in the future.”

Professor Philip John, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for aerospace, transport systems and manufacturing, welcomed this step being reached, “The AIRC will add an extra dimension to our unique research capability at Cranfield and it will be of national, and international, importance.  We greatly value our collaboration with Airbus and Rolls-Royce on this venture and look forward to working with industrial partners and academic colleagues to establish the AIRC as a true centre of excellence in integration.”

The AIRC is expected to open at the end of 2016. Its design emphasises collaborative working with spaces for partner firms to carry out their research while calling on the wider facilities of Cranfield University. There will be a large open area in the building for mechanical, electrical and structural type research. This will have hangar doors (18m wide by 6m tall) directly opening onto the airfield designed to accommodate a 19 seater aircraft like the University’s Jetstream 31.

Drawing on the expertise of Cranfield’s existing centres of excellence, the AIRC will foster collaboration between industry and academia and provide capabilities comparable with the leading aerospace facilities across Europe and the world.

Sir Peter Gregson and colleagues raise their glasses to completion of the next milestone of the Aerospace Integration Research Centre
Sir Peter Gregson and colleagues raise their glasses to the next step of the AIRC being completed

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.