The best of UK manufacturing innovation and technology is set to be put on display to the public later this year at the Science Museum in London – but what latest British aerospace innovations would you choose to exhibit? The exhibition, part of the UK Government’s ‘Make it in Great Britain’ campaign and organised by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), will see a selection of the very best of UK manufactured products or processes put on display in the Science Museum in London from July to September – coinciding with the 2012 Olympics, Farnborough Air Show and RIAT. With the UK’s large and varied aerospace industry still considered world class there should be no shortage of aerospace contenders to show off to the general public. But what would you like to see in the exhibition to demonstrate UK manufacturing and innovation in the aerospace sector? How about a composite A350 airliner wing (or part of one) from Airbus? [caption id="attachment_6074" align="alignnone" width="403" caption="Airbus opened the A350 wing factory in Broughton in 2011."][/caption] Possibly you might choose a Trent 1000 jet engine fan blade from Rolls-Royce? (A single fan blade also went on display at the Royal Academy in 2007) [caption id="attachment_6075" align="alignnone" width="377" caption="Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine fan blades (Rolls-Royce)"][/caption] Perhaps you might highlight the UK’s growing expertise in UAVs and autonomy with the Taranis UCAV from BAE Systems? [caption id="attachment_6076" align="alignnone" width="403" caption="BAE System's Taranis UCAV is helping maintain the UK's combat aircraft technology edge."][/caption] Maybe a smart-phone powered nanosatellite from the leaders in small satellites: Surrey Satellites Technology? SSTL? [caption id="attachment_6077" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="SSTL's STRaND nanosatellite will use an Android smartphone to control it. (SSTL)"][/caption] What about the new 21st centuryairship from Hybrid Air Vehicles? [caption id="attachment_6078" align="alignnone" width="373" caption="Hybrid Air Vehicles airships could carry cargo to remote regions, (Hybrid Air Vehicles)."][/caption] Perhaps you would include QinetiQ’s record-breaking Zephyr UAV? [caption id="attachment_6079" align="alignnone" width="376" caption="QinetiQ's solar-powered Zephyr UAV stayed aloft for two weeks in 2010, (QinetiQ)"][/caption] In helicopters, you could choose the BERP IV blade used on the Merlin Mk3– developed by AgustaWestland. [caption id="attachment_6080" align="alignnone" width="333" caption="The BERP blade increases the helicopter's lifting capability and speed. (AgustaWestland)."][/caption] For revolutionary manufacturing processes, you might consider 3D printing or additive layer manufacturing (ALM), being pioneered byEADS Innovation Works. [caption id="attachment_6081" align="alignnone" width="403" caption="Aircraft components 'grown' using ALM could be far lighter than conventional parts."][/caption] In composite production, GKN Aerospace is responsible for the A400M wing spar – among other structures. [caption id="attachment_6082" align="alignnone" width="174" caption="GKN Aerospace makes the composite wing spars for Europe's new airlifter - the A400M. (GKN)"][/caption] Perhaps your choice would be Bladon Jets for its micro jet turbine? [caption id="attachment_6087" align="alignnone" width="314" caption="the micro jet turbine could ahve a number of applications. (Bladon Jets)"][/caption] Finally – for an exhibit that is out of this world, perhaps Reaction Engines’ Sabre engine from its proposed Skylon spaceplane? [caption id="attachment_6088" align="alignnone" width="333" caption="Model of the Sabre engine. Tests are now underway on the heat-exchanger. (Reaction Engines)."][/caption] These choices are, of course, only a very brief list chosen quickly, (with apologies to those who didn’t get a mention) so it might be expected that it will be a difficult process to select ones to finally include. However, if your company is interested in submitting an entry to this exhibition, they need to be quick – the closing date to register an Expression of Interest to receive more details from the Dept of Business Innovation & Skills is Friday 6 January. But what do YOU think should go in the Science Museum to best represent the UK aerospace industry?

Tim Robinson
4 January 2012