Dunlop Aircraft Tyres has landed a £1.5 million Government grant to develop tougher and lighter aircraft tyres.
The three-year project, which is being run in collaboration with Airbus, will see the Birmingham-based company focus on developing main-wheel radial tyres designed for current and future versions of the A320 family of aircraft.
The initiative is part of a drive by aircraft-makers to find new ways to reduce the weight of aircraft while making them even more robust.
The project, which in total will cost more than £3 million, is being overseen by Dunlop Aircraft Tyres’ chief designer, Steve Barlow.
“We are following a phased process which will allow us to innovate with new materials and modelling techniques before designing a new product,” he said.
“We will be investing in new manufacturing and testing equipment and plan to have the first prototype tyres ready by 2014.”
Dunlop Aircraft Tyres’ chairman, Ian Edmondson, added: “I believe that manufacturing has a bright future in the UK – the fact that we have been able to double our revenues in five years and export 80 per cent of products we make in Birmingham is a clear indicator of this.
“This grant signals the UK government’s commitment to helping SMEs to prosper in the global aerospace industry. We have a history spanning more than 100 years, but it is only through research that Dunlop Aircraft Tyres aims not just to keep pace with but to leapfrog its competitors.”
The £1.5 million grant was awarded to Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, which is based on Fort Parkway, by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board.