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DSEI 2021: Aeralis takes step towards first flight

8th September 2021 - 14:30 GMT | by Trevor Nash in Holsworthy

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The AJT variant of Aeralis is set to fly in 2024. (Photo: Aeralis)

Aeralis has added two key partners to its integrated design team as the company works towards freezing the design before the aircraft's first flight in 2024.

UK aircraft designer Aeralis has entered into strategic agreements with Atkins and Siemens Digital Industries Software to assist in the development of its eponymous modular jet aircraft.

Acting as the digital technology partner, Siemens will provide software applications from its Xcelerator Portfolio, a suite of integrated software and services, to create the Aeralis Smart Integrated Digital Enterprise (AERSIDE).

According to Aeralis, ‘AERSIDE will connect to everything from aerospace vehicle design, production and assembly simulation, through maintenance, support modelling and training'.

AERSIDE will be used by Aeralis and its engineering delivery partner Atkins to design and develop a modular family of aircraft, starting with the first pre-production aircraft that is set to fly in 2024.

Atkins will provide a range of services from specialist recruitment to safety assessments and include specification, integration and certification. Aeralis says that ‘as well as supporting the requirements, detailed engineering design and down-selection processes for developing the aircraft, Atkins will also provide ready access to its human factor specialists for the development of the conceptual cockpit and human performance data assimilation'.

Aeralis CEO Tristan Crawford told Shephard: ‘We are currently in the preliminary design phase that will result in a design freeze that is necessary for manufacture.'

Asked where the aircraft would be manufactured, Crawford said that a number of options are being examined, ‘including in south Wales'. That site could be at the former RAF airfield at St Athan, which is now owned by the Welsh Government and operated as a business park.

Although the modular design of Aeralis enables it to undertake light attack, jet training and aerobatic display roles, the first aircraft to fly will be configured as an advanced jet trainer.

‘The potential market for training aircraft is significant,’ said Crawford. ‘Studies have shown that over the coming years, 5,000 training aircraft will need to be replaced.’

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