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Update – DSEI Japan 2023: Aeralis, ShinMaywa sign contract to collaborate on digital engineering

The latest concept art of the Aeralis modular aircraft, released to mark the signing of a contract with ShinMaywa at DSEI Japan 2023. (Aeralis)

The UK-based Aeralis signed a contract with Japanese company ShinMaywa to collaborate on the implementation of digital engineering processes for military aircraft design and manufacturing in Japan.

Using digital engineering, the UK firm has developed the Aeralis modular aircraft system that can perform a range of training and operational tasks, the company's business development director Richard Eastment told Janes at DSEI Japan 2023, held in Chiba from 15 to 17 March.

One modular aircraft such as the Aeralis, instead of different kinds of aircraft with their own supply chain and simulators, can reduce costs, training time, as well as design and certification time for the acquisition of newer variants of the aircraft because all variants will share 85% common parts, he said.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) is highly interested in digital engineering because of its partnership with the UK and Italy on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP). Digital engineering can be used to bridge the physical distance between the partners during this development, he added.

Digital engineering can also help reduce the “unit cost” and “increase the capabilities” of the US-2 amphibious aircraft developed by ShinMaywa for the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF), Eastment said.

Under the contract with ShinMaywa, Aeralis will observe how the former currently designs and builds aircraft, and analyse if there is a scope for improvement, Eastment said. Initial work is scheduled to start in March, he added.

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