Airbus and the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR are expanding their aeronautics research and technology (R&T) development partnership.
This commitment was formalised in a new framework agreement signed by Airbus and CSIR officials in Pretoria yesterday. It paves the way for additional studies into new technologies for future commercial aircraft, the two entities say in a joint statement.
“South Africa has been and remains an important and valuable research and industrial partner for Airbus in its quest to develop the world’s most eco-efficient aircraft. This new framework agreement with the CSIR allows us to build on the solid foundation laid by Airbus and its South African research partners, with whom we have been collaborating since 2006,” said Axel Krein, Airbus Senior Vice President Research & Technology.
“Our R&T programme supports Airbus’ continual drive to ensure that air travel continues to be one of the safest and most eco-efficient means of transportation,” he added.
The new agreement establishes processes and contracting mechanisms that enable the rapid identification and implementation of new collaborative R&T projects.
It will also enable the extension of ongoing joint projects, starting with the CSIR’s innovative work on the development and application of new computational fluid dynamics methods for engineering design.
CSIR’s Group Executive for Research and Development, Dr Thulani Dlamini, said the new agreement with Airbus “is the logical next step in the evolution of our partnership and will allow future projects to take place more easily.
“This initiative supports our government’s strategy to develop key competencies within South Africa. This will enhance the competitiveness of our aerospace sector as a research and industrial partner to multi-national manufacturers.”
Science and Technology minister Naledi Pandor on Monday re-committed her department to supporting the local aviation manufacturing industry. The CSIR is an agency of the Department of Science and Technology.
Last year, Airbus and the CSIR launched a joint study into the development and application of natural and recyclable fibre-based materials, including kenaf, hemp and flax-based blends, in the fabrication of aircraft interior components such as sidewall and ceiling panels, insulation blankets and other less load-bearing parts.
This is the latest in a series of Research & Technology (R&T) projects that Airbus is undertaking with South African partners including the CSIR, Dept of Science & Technology, Stellenbosch, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan (Port Elizabeth) and Wits universities and the National Aerospace Centre of Excellence under agreements with the departments of Science and Technology and Trade & Industry.
Airbus, which sources aircraft components from around the world, including South Africa, is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners on the market, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats.