British aircraft development firm Aeralis has announced that the UK Ministry of Defense has awarded the company a £9 million ($11 million) contract for digital engineering support services.
The contract was awarded by the UK team within the new Global Combat Air Programme, which was announced by the Prime Minister on 9 December. Titled ‘Digital Aviation Learning from Experience,’ the contract will allow the MOD to access information that Aeralis will generate using its innovative, smart integrated digital enterprise system.
Aeralis has developed the system to enable the company to develop a family of light military aircraft in shorter timescales and at reduced cost using a fully integrated digital approach to design, development and certification. As such, MOD will use the learning from Aeralis’s approach to reduce cost & risk for a range of other development programmes including UK Combat Air and the Future Combat Air System.
This contract from the MOD to Aeralis follows on from Aeralis’ successful contract with the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) to support PYRAMID, the RAF’s Open Mission System Architecture (OMS). Awarded in February 2021 and ongoing, the PYRAMID OMS is planned to form the core of the Aeralis modular avionics and mission system.
The MOD contract award highlights that Aeralis is the only known UK-based company that has adopted a clean-sheet approach to digital engineering to design, manufacture, test and certify a crewed, fixed-wing air system on the military register within the timescales required.
This landmark contract marks an important step in the Company’s growth and maturity, signifying that Aeralis’ unique design engineering approach has been recognised as fulfilling an essential requirement for the future of affordable military aircraft design and development in the UK.
Aeralis has seen significant successes in the last year, including opening its Enterprise Hub in Bristol as well as seeing substantial growth in its workforce. There are now over 135 people involved in the development of the aircraft, across 16 organisations in the UK. The contract from the MOD will allow Aeralis to create and sustain a further 250 highly skilled jobs and many more in the supply chain.
Richard Berthon, Director Future Combat Air for the Ministry of Defence, said: “I am delighted that the Future Combat Air System will benefit from the transformational digital engineering services of Aeralis. The learning that we will get from Aeralis will support digital engineering across our FCAS enterprise; providing us with the information we need to be able make informed decisions on this programme as it progresses.”
Aeralis’ Founder & CEO, Tristan Crawford, commented: “We are incredibly proud to be able to announce this agreement. This MOD contract is another exciting step towards rejuvenating the UK’s sovereign ability to develop whole aircraft ready for the future. We are looking forward to exploiting our digital foundation to boost innovation, create jobs and drive the progress of AERTEAM. It proves that Aeralis is truly unique – we are the only company in the UK taking this pioneering digital engineering approach as part of a new economic model that supports the development of more capable and ultimately affordable light military aircraft, marking an important milestone in the development of the first wholly British crewed aircraft since the 1970s.”