New 'Smart' Factory Set To 'Revolutionise' Aircraft Manufacturing

The new facility will use automated robots and virtual reality aimed at increasing production speeds and reducing running costs.

A first-of-its-kind "smart" factory is set to "revolutionise combat aircraft production" in the UK, defence firm BAE Systems has announced.

The new facility at BAE System's site in Warton, Lancashire, has been designed specifically with the Tempest project in mind.

The Tempest is set to be the UK's sixth-generation fighter aircraft and is expected to join the RAF by 2035, replacing the Typhoon.

BAE Systems said the new facility is the result of a multi-million-pound investment and collaboration with more than 40 major companies and academic institutions. 

The facility combines a number of "advanced manufacturing technologies", including automated robots and virtual reality, aimed at increasing production speeds and reducing costs. 

Dave Holmes, manufacturing director for BAE Systems Air, said: "We’ve collaborated with the best of UK industry and academia to develop a cutting-edge facility that combines current and emerging technologies, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of combat air technology development."

Cover image: Production managers in the new facility oversee operations from a fully virtual office (Picture: BAE Systems).