The UK Government is set to invest £343m to support a number of research and development (R&D) projects that could transform the country’s civil aerospace sector.

Funded by government and industry sources, £255m of the total investment will be provided by Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) to 18 new research and technology projects, including the development of cleaner and greener electric and hybrid aircraft.

A total of £68m will be invested into small and medium-sized companies to increase R&D opportunities, while £20m will be given to promote improvements in long-term productivity across the sector.

UK Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: “The development of quicker, quieter and cleaner aircraft will transform the UK’s transport market and open up new and more sustainable ways for passengers to travel between our cities and regions and across the globe.

“The development of quicker, quieter and cleaner aircraft will transform the UK’s transport market.”

“Developing innovation, technology and skills is a core part of the government’s Aviation Strategy and this funding will help us to ensure that the UK aviation sector continues to be a world leader in this area.”

The newly announced funding is expected to further develop the E-Fan X project, jointly carried out by Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens to develop a flying electrical demonstrator that will form the foundation for future electrical aircraft, as well as support the creation of a cleaner, quieter aircraft.

In addition, Rolls-Royce is leading a research project called Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) to explore the use of a high-power electrical system in a demonstrator aircraft.

The ACCEL project is also set to help the UK to achieve its goal of reducing emissions under the Clean Growth Strategy.

Among other projects, the new funding will help various innovative programmes, including Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan aero engine.