NTU Singapore and Finmeccanica partner on helicopter manufacturing and technology
Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and Finmeccanica, through its Helicopter Division manufacturing AgustaWestland products, signed a Memorandum of Understanding today at the Singapore Airshow 2016. The agreement confirms the intent of both parties to partner on helicopter production and technologies with the final aim to establish a collaborative technology research centre to be set up at NTU.
The two parties believe in being drivers in the rapidly evolving rotary wing industry, whose changes are highlighted by the progresses in composite materials, reduction in hydraulics and dynamic components, growing efficiency in industrial processes.
A full partnership agreement including the detailed scope of the joint research programmes, the schedules of such programmes and financial aspects is planned to be defined and signed within 2016. Some of the joint projects currently being explored include research in innovative methods to advance the manufacturing of Finmeccanica’s state-of-the-art products, through the use of new composite materials which are lighter and stronger. The collaboration will also research in aerodynamics modelling, which can potentially improve overall flight performance.
Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Chief of Staff and Vice President for Research, said this partnership will leverage on the University’s strengths in aerospace engineering and green manufacturing. It will also build on NTU’s strong track record of industry collaboration with multinational companies including Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin, and BMW Group.
“Over the last decades, NTU scientists have developed many innovations which have been deployed in key industries such as aerospace, transportation, defence and biomedical sciences,” said Prof Lam.
“The key ingredients for our continued success in attracting top industry partners like Finmeccanica include our strong understanding of commercial needs, innovative cutting-edge technologies and most importantly, our world-class research expertise and faculty.”
Mr. Daniele Romiti, Finmeccanica Helicopter Division Managing Director, said: “We are happy to join forces with NTU in such a complex technological field. NTU has an excellent reputation in cutting-edge R&D and together with Finmeccanica’s knowledge in helicopter manufacturing, we are looking to expanding the boundaries of high-value-added aerospace manufacturing even further.
“During the course of 2016, we plan to evaluate these opportunities, establish a plan for research activities and define the structural details of our cooperation through the proposed joint technology research centre. It is an exciting opportunity for the Helicopter Division of Finmeccanica, and for the whole Company, to expand the scope of its activities in Singapore, which thanks to an integrated policy framework by the Singaporean Government, industry and technical institutions make Singapore a great place to do business.”
Professor Louis Phee, Chair of NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering which will spearhead the university’s role in the collaboration, said that NTU’s students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, will also stand to benefit. “This partnership with Finmeccanica is an exciting boon for our students as it exposes them to high-tech aerospace research and development for helicopter technologies, right here at NTU,” said Prof Phee.
NTU’s collaboration with Finmeccanica is expected to expand Singapore’s research capabilities in the field, and ultimately boost its aerospace industry. It is also wellaligned with the Singapore government’s Research, Innovation, and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan.
This RIE2020 is Singapore's sixth roadmap for research and development, and has a major focus on advanced manufacturing research over the course of the next five years.