Aircraft manufacturer to benefit from upgraded wind tunnel

| Environmental Testing

Wind tunnel test facility for Boeing aircraft
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Boeing has extended its contract with QinetiQ to continue evaluating aircraft designs in large upgraded wind tunnel facility in Farnborough.

A £25m contract has been awarded by Boeing to QinetiQ under an existing 40-year agreement that began in 2004 and is reviewed every five years. The latest extension will see Boeing continue to use the 5-metre wind tunnel facility for its commercial aircraft testing until at least 2024.

The wind tunnel’s large size and ability to run at a pressure of up to three atmospheres provide high quality data that can accurately predict an aircraft’s performance at full scale. This helps improve efficiency during landing and take-off, which is of critical importance for both military and civil aircraft.

In 2016, the wind tunnel benefitted from £2m in government and industry funding for a project to apply electric motor technology to the scale models tested in the facility, to represent the effect of real engines. The upgrade improves manufacturers’ understanding of the airflow around the engines, helping them to further refine their designs.

John Anderson, Managing Director Air & Space, QinetiQ, said: “The wind tunnel, which marks its 40th anniversary this year, has played a crucial role in the development of modern advanced aircraft such as Boeing’s 787 and 777X. This continuation of our partnership with Boeing reaffirms the wind tunnel’s position as a vital national asset, enabling this important work to be carried out right here in the UK. It also shows that QinetiQ is delivering its strategy to ensure the UK has the test and evaluation facilities and skills needed to maintain its competitive advantage.”

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