The Heart of the SW LEP is a key partner in the South West Aerospace cluster which has global prominence and is essential to driving up the UK’s industrial productivity and excellence. Its purpose is to collaborate to innovate and retain global competiveness.

SW Aerospace is the collaboration of key stakeholders from the South West region that includes

  • Aerospace industry
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships, local government
  • The West of England Aerospace Forum
  • National catapults via the National Composites Centre
  • Academia including world class Universities
  • Technical skills providers
  • Business support for the SME supply chain

iAcro map

High Value Design – The Benefits to Industry

  • Reducing the cost of technological advancement.
  • Shared investment with appropriate partners.
  • Access to wider sources of public and private sector funding.
  • Reducing the risk of technology advancement.
  • Collaborative R&D investment and wider problem ownership.
  • Greater responsibility for innovation in the supply chain.
  • Dedicated facilities – undiluted by programme activities and priorities.
  • Increased resource application through an extended network.
  • Increasing access to aerospace technology.
  • Inputs from multiple teams with a common higher- level objective (supply chain, research centres, academia and other sectors of the aerospace industry).
  • Leverage through the catapult centres into other Industry sectors.
  • Cost effective route to sustaining key skills.
  • Clear, segregated focal point for technology development.

iAero Innovation and Collaboration Centre

iAero Innovation and Collaboration Centre

The iAero (Yeovil) Centre Project owned and managed by Somerset County Council will deliver a purpose-built 2,398 m2 research, design and innovation facility in Yeovil to support the competitiveness and growth of the aerospace and associated high-value design and engineering technology supply chains. The Centre will offer high-quality office, light industrial and collaboration space as well as innovation support services and will open in September 2021.

Smart Aviation

Innovate UK Future Flight Progamme  – 2Zero Project

Smart Aviation

The first electric commuter flight in the UK will take place at Exeter Airport, following the announcement of a successful bid to UK Research and Innovation’s £30 million Future Flight Challenge. The bid was submitted by a consortium led by Ampaire, a leader in electric aviation, with partners including Rolls-Royce Electrical, University of Nottingham, Loganair Ltd, Exeter and Devon Airports Ltd, Cornwall Airport Ltd, Heart of the South West LEP, and UK Power Network Services.

The team has received £2.4M from the Future Flight Challenge for its £5M 2ZERO programme, to demonstrate hybrid-electric aircraft on regional routes in the South West of the UK.  The 2ZERO (Towards Zero Emissions in Regional Aircraft Operations) programme involves putting in place and testing the infrastructure needed to enable the future of electric planes within existing airport and airline operations. It will see electric aircraft testbed flights taking off at Exeter Airport and flying to Newquay Airport. An effective demonstration of hybrid-electric aircraft in an integrated system, including the necessary charging and battery storage infrastructure, could catalyse a fundamental shift in regional airline operations. Emissions would be reduced by up to 70 percent with hybrid-electric aircraft and entirely with a subsequent generation of all-electric aircraft.

The 2ZERO project will run from December 2020 to May 2022.

Find out more on the project website 2ZERO Project – The University of Nottingham

Space (Satellite Applications)

The Heart of the South West LEP recognises that satellite technology can help address challenges and realise the area’s potential in many of its priority areas. It therefore welcomed the opportunity to work with the Satellite Applications Catapult to run a Spark Session not only to stimulate ideas for the application of this technology but also to raise awareness across the LEP and its stakeholders of the potential opportunities.

The workshop explored opportunities for satellite technology to address connectivity and autonomy challenges in areas highlighted by the South West community as being of strategic importance. These areas were:

  • Agri Tech and Natural Capital
  • Energy & Nuclear
  • Smart Aviation
  • Marine & Maritime

The workshop led to the development of five high impact ideas to develop in more detail. These ideas were:

  • Mapping & analysing current & future land use change
  • Health monitoring of structures throughout the lifetime of nuclear sites
  • Linking satellite technology to existing Future of Flight activities
  • Explore parallels of autonomous systems and cyber security for marine initiatives
  • Creation of a space-maritime-cyber test environment

For more details about Aerospace / Aviation / Space (satellite systems) activity contact our sector coordinator Corinne Matthews Tel 07881 218670

Heart of the south west LEP - Aerospace

Somerset Aerospace Full Report

Document type: Commissioned report

Prepared by: Somerset County Council and South Somerset District Council

Date: March 2017

Deep dive analysis of the aerospace and high value design and manufacturing opportunity within Somerset.

European Aerospace Powerhouse

Document type: Promotional Literature

Prepared by: Invest Bristol & Bath, Heart of the South West LEP

Date: 2015

Summarises the key south west aerospace proposition.