At the first day of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s annual conference – Aerospace 2010:Beyond the Horizon, a team of speakers, issued a stark warning – “The UK aerospace industry needs more investment in research and development in order to survive”. Day 1 of the conference, 21st April 2010, saw presentations from a team of experts representing a wide spectrum of the aerospace industry. Many of the speakers emphasised that whichever party wins the general election in May, the new British government must avoid short term financial fixes and look to the long-term industrial future of the UK. Investment in science and technology must not be cut back but should be increased if the UK is to compete with new emerging economies.
The conference issued a plea to government to work more closely with industry, providing clear leadership and encouragement. European governments should also work more closely together on projects which are not economically viable to one country to tackle alone, such as UAV development or co-operation on defence.
Conference speakers emphasised the vital importance of the aerospace industry to the UK economy, both as a key enabler for the transport of passengers and cargo but also providing jobs and preserving industrial expertise. Aerospace needs to regain its position of ‘awe and wonder’ as an exciting and progressive industry which young people would be keen to work for. Sir Brian Burridge, Chairman of the Learned Society Board, summed up the situation by saying that “UK industry needs clarity and certainty from government. Once industrial capability goes offshore, it will not return.”
The two day conference is taking place at No4 Hamilton Place, London, the Society’s headquarters.