Written evidence submitted by Boeing (DIS0019)
Rt. Hon. Pete Wishart MP
Scottish Affairs Committee 28th February 2022
House of Commons London
We in Boeing support your Committee’s inquiry into Defence in Scotland: military personnel and estate.
In recent years, Boeing has significantly increased its commitment to Scotland as part of our wider growth across the UK.
In 2016, Boeing and the UK Government announced a shared vision for UK prosperity to deliver the best capabilities to the UK Armed Forces, alongside delivering additional, enhanced prosperity for the UK in partnership with Boeing’s UK supply chain, and public-sector agencies. The partnering initiative, known as the Prosperity Agenda, focuses on three key objectives:
• Promote UK innovation through partnerships with SMEs, R&D spending and strategic relationships.
• Increase UK supply chain competitiveness through supplier development and increased opportunities for UK suppliers to bid on Boeing work.
• Grow Boeing in the UK to expand the depth and breadth of operations as well as exporting from the UK.
Each of these objectives is relevant to our work in Scotland.
The UK Government’s decision to purchase nine Boeing P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft – known as Poseidon - in 2016 led to Boeing making a joint investment of £100m at RAF Lossiemouth. Construction of the facility created more than 200 jobs, and approximately 450 additional Boeing and RAF personnel will be based at RAF Lossiemouth supporting the P-8A fleet.
In 2020, the Ministry of Defence announced that three Boeing E-7 Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft – known as Wedgetail – would be based at RAF Lossiemouth. Boeing expects this decision to lead to further investment in infrastructure at the base, and the creation of additional high-value jobs.
Boeing has also developed a close relationship with the Scottish Government, through the Boeing Scotland Alliance. Announced in March 2020, the Alliance is a long-term partnership to deliver economic impact across a range of mutual areas of interest. The Alliance builds upon Boeing’s existing presence and investment in Scotland; supply chain partnerships, including co-founding of the Advanced Forming Research Centre at University of Strathclyde; and Boeing investments in Scottish start-ups and support for new STEM initiatives.
The alliance launched with the aim of doubling Boeing’s supply chain and creating 200 new quality jobs in Scotland in five years. The initial focus of the alliance is on advanced manufacturing, digital technologies, space, and sustainability initiatives within the aviation sector, supporting Scotland’s transition to a net-zero economy by 2045, and development of a more circular economy.
In October, Boeing opened a new Metallics Research Centre with the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) in Glasgow to support a metallic component manufacturing research project. The centre will host a £11.8 million research and development programme in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), with Scottish Enterprise funding £3.5 million. It will aim to reduce materials waste and identify opportunities to improve safety, productivity, and the environmental impact of aircraft, with technical teams set to explore novel manufacturing technologies for metallic components. Aligned with this project, Boeing has also established an R&D team in Scotland.
Beyond NMIS, Boeing and Scottish Enterprise have jointly invested in four Scottish start-up companies that were part of the Aerospace Technology Institute Boeing Accelerator. The joint BEIS and Boeing initiative has identified, invested in and mentored 20 innovative aerospace start-ups, helping them on their journey towards seed funding and further growth.
Boeing has a significant skills agenda in Scotland, as part of a nationwide skills focus, delivering significant investment in STEM initiatives, such as contributing to the Outfit Moray programme for young people. The charity delivers life-changing outdoor learning and adventure activity programmes to young people in Moray, and is actively exploring other initiatives.
In March, Boeing and partners will open the UK’s first permanent Newton Flight Academy at the Glasgow Science Centre, which will include classroom facilities used to teach students aviation-related STEM concepts. There will also be three full-motion flight simulators available for use in the Academy. This initiative is made possible through £3.5 million of funding from Boeing and developed in partnership with First Scandinavia, delivering a network of STEM-focused “Newton Rooms” around Europe. This will be the first full Academy outside of Norway.
Scotland is home to a number of Boeing’s most important suppliers, including Spirit at Prestwick and Vector Aerospace, at Almondbank. As part of our Prosperity Agenda objective to increase UK supply chain competitiveness, Boeing works with ADS and the Scottish Government to run civil and defence supply chain development events and workshops. In partnership with Scottish Enterprise and the Department of International Trade, Boeing is looking to broaden the number of Scottish companies in Boeing’s supplier capability database. A virtual event was held in February 2021 and was attended by more than 100 companies. Another event is planned for late spring of this year.
In October, Boeing chose Scotland over strong competition across Europe to host a two-day Boeing Sustainability and Innovation Forum in Glasgow airport. This successful event, which was opened by the First Minister, reflected our commitment to the Boeing Scotland Alliance and Boeing’s recognition of the strength of Scotland’s research and industrial expertise in aerospace.
The Glasgow event brought together a range of partners across Scotland and the wider aviation sector. Participants from the UK and other European countries, including Scottish students, examined the potential for sustainable technologies to transform the future of aviation. A selection of these technologies was showcased in Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator aircraft which spent several days in Glasgow, its only visit to Europe during 2021.
I enclose below further details on the joint MOD-Boeing investment in Northeast Scotland. Please let me know if we can help the committee with any further information.
Sir Martin Donnelly
President of Boeing Europe, Managing Director of Boeing UK & Ireland
The Atlantic Building, home to the P-8A, RAF Lossiemouth
In 2016, the MOD announced its decision to buy nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Boeing. With the RAF's decision to base its Poseidon fleet in Scotland at RAF Lossiemouth, Boeing and MOD agreed to jointly invest in a £100m facility. Boeing used local construction firm Robertson to build the facility, which was formally opened in July 2020. It is 19 metres high, 165 metres long and 100 metres wide, or equal to 1.5 times the size of BT Murrayfield Stadium, and is large enough to park 280 double decker buses. Its hangar can hold three aircraft. It also has maintenance equipment, planning rooms and squadron offices, as well as two simulators for training pilots and crew. The RAF’s new fleet of three Boeing E-7 Wedgetail aircraft also will be based there after being converted in Birmingham. Boeing expects to have around 200 of its employees focused on maintenance, training and support at RAF Lossiemouth once the facility is fully operational.