Abu Dhabi Plans Dhs55m Aerospace Research Centre

The project is being built jointly by Mubadala and Khalifa University.



Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company and Khalifa University have jointly announced the launch of a Dhs55 million aerospace research centre to be located at the University’s campus in Abu Dhabi.

The project, called Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC), is aimed at boosting the aviation industry in Abu Dhabi and across the UAE, a statement said.

Around 50 per cent of the investment will be used to establish research facilities and capabilities, while the remainder will be invested in research and development (R&D) projects that are directly related to the needs of the aerospace industry in the UAE, the statement added.

Homaid Al Shemmari, executive director of Mubadala Aerospace, Communications Technology and Defense Services said: “To make the aerospace industry in Abu Dhabi truly viable, competitive, and sustainable on a global scale, two fundamental elements need to be addressed: building local “know-how” and creating an R&D ecosystem.

“Not only will the research centre develop essential future technologies, but it will also fill the skills gap in providing young Emiratis with essential training in aerospace and empower future talent.”

The centre is based on a shared 50:50 contribution model from Mubadala and Khalifa University covering a five-year term. It will be directed by Professor Wesley Cantwell along with a management board including members from Mubadala and Khalifa University.

“ARIC will initially focus on composite aerostructures and the automation of their manufacturing processes, with the plan to expand in the future into other technical areas such as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), air transportation and other technologies to provide a pipeline of innovation in these areas,” the statement said.

Dr. Mohammed Al Mualla, senior VP for Research and Development at Khalifa University added: “This initiative will provide an opportunity for more than 10 UAE national students to perform their senior design and Master and PhD thesis work within this advanced field of research and development.”

The UAE and Abu Dhabi in specific has been steadily developing its local aerospace industry. The aerospace business unit of government-owned Mubadala includes projects such as Strata, Sanad, Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Centre (AMMROC), Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT), Horizon International Flight Academy, SR Technics and Piaggio Aero.

The company also has partnerships with international players such as EADS, Finmeccanica and GE.