A PARTNERSHIP between West Wales Airport in Blaenannerch and Newquay airport in Cornwall has launched the first private facility for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The launch of the National Aeronautical Centre was attended by senior representatives from Ceredigion County Council , including the Chairman of the Council Cllr John Adams-Lewis and Cllr Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet member with responsibility for Economic Development.
The NAC enables the development, testing, evaluation, training and demonstration of UAS that can fly beyond visual line of sight. The centre is open to civilian and military contractors and operators and has the capacity to deliver the necessary services and accommodation for all sizes of UAS envisaged for production and development over the next 20 years.
It is anticipated the NAC will deliver significant financial benefits for West Wales and the South West of England by providing the UK with an ability to capitalise on what is recognised by the global aerospace community as one of the world’s major economic opportunities.
Commenting on the launch, Ray Mann, Head of the NAC, said: “The launch of the NAC demonstrates that the UK now has the full range of UAS development capabilities needed to compete at the forefront of this competitive global industry. With the necessary infrastructure already in place at both sites, this is an opportunity for Ceredigion and Newquay to be the first choice destinations for those developing civilian and military UAS solutions. At West Wales Airport we are proud to have the leading Welsh aerospace facility with a stated mandate for unmanned systems testing and development and with it, look forward to contributing further to the economic development of the area.”
Cllr Lloyd said: “The Authority is pleased to support this major initiative; it is extremely important, as it gives Ceredigion a major stake in the UAS sector and an opportunity to strengthen its current leading position.
With the global civilian market alone, recognised by the UK Government to be worth £100 billion per year there is now real prospects for significant economic growth and with it increased employment opportunities.
Al Titterington, Managing Director of Newquay Cornwall Airport commented:
“The creation of the NAC has given the UK a world unique, national asset, where the development of new aerospace technologies, in the form of UAS, is now being undertaken. We are excited about announcing this launch in partnership with West Wales Airport.”