WASHINGTON’S new £100m Rolls-Royce aerospace factory is being officially opened today by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable.
The facility will make more than 2,500 fan and turbine discs a year – essential parts of a plane’s engine, which will power aircraft made by Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier.
The new factory will also make discs for the world’s fastest-selling and most efficient civil aircraft engine – the Trent XWB, which goes into Airbus’ A350 XWB.
The new facility in Washington will safeguard hundreds of highly-skilled manufacturing jobs in the North East, providing economic security for the future and ensuring this highly advanced work does not go to overseas competitors.
During the visit, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are announcing a £45million joint Government and industry funding for three projects led by Rolls-Royce through the Aerospace Technology Institute to develop new technology for low-carbon aircraft engines.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “We should be really proud that the UK is the number one aerospace industry in Europe and a world leader in innovation.
“The highly skilled workers at the new Rolls-Royce factory are leading the charge for innovative technologies that are made in Britain.
“And the Government’s investment of £45 million alongside industry will help to ensure the UK continues to build and design the planes of the future.
“I am working hard in the Coalition to ensure that aerospace continues to boost growth in the North East and across the country, building a stronger economy and doing it fairly.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The UK is at the forefront of the global aerospace industry, and investments such as this new factory from Rolls-Royce will help to keep us there.
“The projects that we are funding through our aerospace industrial strategy will ensure that Britain develops the efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft of the future, while keeping highly-skilled manufacturing jobs here in Britain.”
The £45million funding will be used for research and development to reduce carbon emissions by using lightweight composite materials to make Rolls-Royce engines.
Research will also focus on changing parts of the engine design to make engines more efficient and reducing the time it takes to manufacture them.
The research will be carried out by a number of partners from across the UK including the University of Birmingham, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield, the Advanced Forming Research Centre in Glasgow, the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, and the Universities of Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.
Gary Elliott, CEO of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) said: “Today we are launching three research projects led by Rolls-Royce that will help the UK develop more efficient, technologically sophisticated aircraft engines.
“These new technologies are vital to reducing emissions and underline the aerospace industry’s commitment to improving the environment. These are exactly the types of projects the aerospace industrial strategy and the Aerospace Technology Institute were set up to deliver.”
The UK is the number one aerospace industry in Europe and second only to the United States globally.
Aerospace is one of the industries driving the UK’s economic recovery, contributing £24 billion to the economy every year, through 3,000 companies and supporting 230,000 jobs across the country. Three quarters of the UK industry’s products are exported.