The aerospace sector is defined as a strategic sector both because of its economic-industrial weight and its contribution to GDP and, especially, because of its great capacity to generate R&D activities that can be applied in numerous economic sectors beyond the aerospace sector.
Therefore, a global action on aerospace technologies is proposed, aimed at the green transition, reinforcing Spanish capabilities and generating a knock-on effect on the entire value chain.
With this line of investment, progress will be made in the generation of Spanish industrial capacities linked to the future low- and zero-emission aircraft whose R&D activities are covered by the Aeronautical Technology Plan. Additional areas of experimental development have also been identified, leading to the development of prototypes of capital goods and digital twins for the adaptation of Spanish manufacturing environments, among others, to promote efficiency, lower resource consumption or reduced environmental impact. In any case, the aim will be to ensure that these actions have at least a neutral impact in environmental terms.
In the area of space, the establishment of a space technology programme will be pursued to generate new in-house capacities through calls for subsidies, agreements between public administrations for the execution of R&D projects and pre-commercial public procurement in order to, among other things, maintain and strengthen the role of Spanish advances in major international space missions, try to consolidate certain capacities for access to space through the pre-commercial purchase of prototype launchers in conjunction with a Spanish observation satellite; study the technical and economic feasibility of building an oceanic launch platform around the Canary Islands and, if feasible, put it into operation; develop and test new optical communications systems in space; eliminate Spanish dependence on camera technology working in infrared with cryogenic cooling (this technology is widely used in security and detection) applicable to all types of frontier security and observation; develop the payload of a satellite to establish a quantum key corridor, guaranteeing a secure system of unhackable communications, among other purchases to develop space technology capacities in order to provide services in the public interest..
Specifically, this investment aims to act on Spain's technological and innovative capabilities in the aerospace field, given its impact on the economy as a whole and its capacity to generate knowledge and innovations that can be applied in many areas (e.g. new materials, sensors, advanced services that enable other innovations, etc.).
In the aeronautical field, this line aims to support the generation of technological capabilities mainly related to the future low- and zero-emission aircraft through the development of R&D business projects, although critical technological developments have also been identified related to UAVs, multipurpose aircraft or advanced manufacturing systems that include the creation of digital twins, among others.
Thus, the Aeronautical Technology Programme proposes calls for grants for the development of R&D projects in areas such as new propulsion systems, integral optimisation of the generation, distribution and storage of non-propulsive energy, but also the development of new, lighter materials that contribute to reducing fuel consumption or new aerodynamic calculation and optimisation tools, among others. In the field of UAVs, the development of new technologies for secure and cyber-protected communication between different types of vehicles or detection and communication systems for the integration of autonomous systems in a shared airspace is being pursued.
These projects must be carried out by business consortia of 2 to 6 participating companies, always with the participation of at least one SME. In fact, the call reserves a part of the budget for consortia formed exclusively by SMEs. The minimum budget per project will be 2.5 million euros and the duration from 2 to 4 years. Research organisations may participate on a subcontracting basis.