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Atkins has been delivering aerospace engineering solutions for over 15 years. Our broad capability, extensive experience and commitment to technical excellence helps our clients manufacture market-leading aircraft.


Aerospace is a technically-dynamic, international sector. Environmental sustainability, ageing fleets, air traffic growth and safety are all challenges driving the sector to push the boundaries of aerospace engineering.

Aerospace engineering

Since the first manned flight more than 100 years ago, the pace of aerospace engineering innovation has been rapid. Today, that pace shows no sign of abating.

Air traffic grows in proportion to GDP and our ability to travel increasingly underpins the global economy. Yet, simultaneously, oil reserves are diminishing and our understanding of environmental sustainability is growing. Today’s aerospace engineers are designing safer, lighter and more fuel efficient aircraft.

In addition to the speed of technical innovation, the operational face of the aerospace industry has changed. Aerospace is now a truly international industry, with customers, supply chains and manufacturing operations all working across geographically-disparate locations on increasingly complex development programmes.

Aerospace delivery

Effective delivery in this arena requires an in-depth understanding of technical integration issues, agility (such as the ability to mobilise skilled teams quickly), effective integrated working processes, and a commitment to developing strong client partnerships.

At Atkins we seek to provide our clients with the technical solutions they need to keep their products at the forefront of aerospace engineering, coupled with a delivery model designed to respond to the requirements of a truly international sector.

We have dedicated aerospace offices across the UK; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Seattle (Kirkland), US; and Bangalore, India.

Please visit our areas of expertise page for more information on our cutting-edge composites work, broad technical capability and international delivery model.


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Atkins and Gama Aviation awarded new Military Airworthiness contracts after successfully reviewing more than 1400 aircraft - 11 April 2017

Atkins and Gama Aviation have secured further contracts with the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) and Headquarters Air Command (HQ Air) to continue providing independent Military Airworthiness Review (MAR) services for aircraft on the UK Military Aircraft Register. These comprehensive reviews will help the JHC and HQ Air to...


Atkins shortlisted for five prestigious Management Consultancies Association awards - 31 January 2017

Design, engineering and management consultancy Atkins has been shortlisted for five Management Consultancies Association (MCA) awards. Each of these accolades recognise the impact of the company’s successful projects, and the work of individual staff, over the last 18 months.


Atkins and Cranfield University collaborate to tackle cyber security challenges - 27 January 2017

Atkins and Cranfield University have today announced a collaboration to create a new cyber research area that will help to protect manufacturing businesses and critical national infrastructure organisations from the danger of cyber attack.


Gold standard employers launch new group to increase industry support for our Armed Forces - 19 January 2017

A new group of Armed Forces-friendly employers, who will collaborate to further develop the aims of the Armed Forces Covenant and tighten the ties between Defence and employers, has now launched.




Atkins offers high quality technical capability coupled with effective project and programme management. We specialise in delivering ‘whole package’ solutions on time and to budget.

The following summarises our core technical areas of expertise and our delivery model:

Design capability

  • Lightweight metal structures
  • Composites
  • Mechanical systems
  • Aeroengine components
  • Air and fluid systems
  • Interface management
  • Manufacturing engineering

Systems engineering capability

  • Fuel systems
  • Landing gear systems

Technical excellence at the forefront of aerospace engineering

Atkins offers its clients broad aerospace engineering capability and extensive experience. Employing over 650 qualified aerospace engineers and accredited to AS9100 Rev C, we are dedicated to providing consistently high quality aerospace engineering solutions.

We are working on a range of advanced carbon fibre reinforced plastics research programmes and have extensive experience of working on composite-rich aircraft development programmes. To find out more about our composites expertise click here.

Local delivery, international reach

Atkins has a number of dedicated aerospace locations around the world, allowing us to utilise the optimal experience, capability and resource required to deliver projects, while simultaneously ensuring we remain close to our clients.

Our engineers work in an integrated manner across our offices, which means wherever the engineers on your project are working from, the quality and service you receive, and your local Atkins contact, remains the same.

Structural analysis capability

  • Static stress analysis
  • Vibration and impact analysis
  • Fatigue and damage tolerance
  • Finite element analysis
  • Qualification and certification
  • Testing support
  • Materials and processes


Atkins is experienced in using the following IT tools:

  • CAD – CATIA V4/5, Unigraphix NX
  • CAE – MSC/Patran, MSC/Nastran, HyperMesh, ESACRACK, ABAQUS, SC03, DYNA3D, Mathcad, ISAMI, LAP
  • Automation – Visual Basic, Fortran, Python
  • CAD interfaces and secure data links
  • PDM

Whole work package solutions

Atkins specialises in delivering total solutions on fixed price packages of work. Through effective project management and efficient use of our international resources, we help you to manage and deliver complex programmes and minimise your risk.


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Richard Piggin
19 May 2017

The WannaCry or Wanna Decryptor malware has affected 150 countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, France, and Japan. Several variants have already been reported, all presently targeting Windows-based operating systems, including embedded versions. Further variations, which could target other operating systems such as Linux, are anticipated. Early indications suggested email phishing campaigns initially infected computers, using email attachments and malicious websites links have been confirmed. The worm then spreads across networks. While assurances have been given regarding the loss of patient data, the malware provides backdoor access to victim’s computers, so data theft is a distinct possibility. Yet, the issue isn’t just about the security of patient information, it’s also about preventing patient harm. This is not an isolated incident. Similar incidents have already occurred in the healthcare sector, even in the UK. Only a few hospitals were affected, attracting limited publicity and concern. Many more medical facilities belonging to the U.S. MedStar Health provider were severely disrupted last year. The impact of such attacks also feature in a new BSI publication on Medical Device Cyber Security, which describes the convergence of safety and security risk, along with defensive principles. Other sectors have also been impacted  including UK,  French and Romanian car plants and the German rail operator. Spanish victims included telecoms multinational Telefonica, and utilities Iberdrola and Gas Natural. Critical infrastructure asset owners have been impacted by ransomware in the past, including several power utilities. Organisations with unsupported operating systems or ineffective patching programmes will continue to be vulnerable. At best,

UK & Europe ,

Philip Barton
17 Mar 2017

Having had time to digest the major themes in this report, I think that the Government at the time seemed determined to establish the Cyber Essentials scheme as key parts of UK SMEs cyber tool kits, and to leverage the insurance industry to secure that goal. The message was that Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus compliance would deserve a reduced premium, as well as enabling greater cyber-risk awareness among SMEs. The report indicated that cyber insurance firms were likely to offer support in becoming Cyber Essentials certified as part of the insurance process. This patently did not happen as planned, and the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) are yet to pick up the reins sufficiently to consider cyber insurance guidance. The report was aimed squarely at SME cyber risk in the IT space, with brief mention that Cyber Essentials may not be appropriate, or rigorous enough, for many manufacturing industries. Regulated industries and critical infrastructure will have their own regimes to follow, so what for the SME manufacturing industries? The NIST cyber security framework or the SANS 20 controls are an excellent starting point, not to mention the many standards that exist such as ISO/IEC27001, ISA/IEC62443 etc. An obvious barrier to widespread adoption of worthwhile, insurance-backed, cyber security in the industrial arena is having sufficiently good cyber forensic capability in place to be able to back up any claim. In the event of an incident, the bias for most manufacturing organisations is naturally toward production and not to preserving evidence;

UK & Europe ,

James Domone
09 Mar 2017

Since the introduction of the jet engine into large civil aeroplanes in the 1960s, the market has converged onto a design configuration that has not changed dramatically since. The amount of innovation and improvement of nearly every sub-component within the aircraft has resulted in planes that can fly nearly half way round the globe in one go and allow airlines to charge a reasonable price for a seat. However, it is possible that we are about to enter a period of innovation far greater than this. Within Europe, aerospace manufacturers have set themselves tough environmental targets. An ambition to reduce CO2 output per aircraft by 75% compared to levels in 2000. Similar targets are set for NOx emissions and noise. These targets are extremely challenging and incremental technology improvements to the existing large civil aircraft configuration is unlikely to provide what’s required. More free-thinking and radical change will be needed. Configuration and operational changes will need to be reviewed and these provide the 'big' Innovation that is likely to be required. A number of challenges will need to be overcome to enable a configuration transformation, whilst some new ideas could provide the disruptive thinking needed to accelerate this process to meet the target timescales. These include the current cost and timescales for new aircraft development, the strict airworthiness regulatory framework and the lack of real competition to the Boeing / Airbus duopoly in the large civil aircraft market. For a new aircraft to be viable, development costs and timescales must reduce. Artificial

UK & Europe ,

Philip Barton
15 Sep 2016

Although I would always advocate having every feasible layer of security in place to protect an organisation’s industrial control systems (ICS), what I’d like to share now are my thoughts on how good system design techniques can augment those other layers. Doing so is a capability that is often overlooked, which is surprising considering that this is often the last line of defence after all other layers of security have been compromised. ‘Out of the box’ settings To fully appreciate what can, and should, be achieved through rigorous design, configuration and management, one first needs to understand the condition in which ICS components are often delivered. Vendors are motivated to make their equipment easy to configure, easy to integrate, and least likely to generate technical support workload or service returns. All of this helps to create a positive first impression with their customers. To this end, devices tend to have the simplest, most accessible configuration: common addresses are used (192.168.y.x) default names, usernames and passwords are set methods of automatic configuration are enabled (BOOTP, DHCP for example) a wide range of protocols are installed/enabled a wide range of services are activated, whether they are needed or not (web server, for example) Although this is far from an exhaustive list, all of these are serious potential vulnerabilities. Default names will result in your system being easily discovered using open source methods. Default credentials will result in its compromise.

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At Atkins, we’re able to combine decades of deep engineering experience with the tools and techniques of innovation. The work of the Digital Incubator—and our innovation partners Fluxx—helps us to understanding the hype cycle, enabling us to help clients make the most of new technology.  We’re then able to use our global network to empower Clients to work faster and smarter than ever before. For example, we worked to help clients use unmanned aerial vehicles, 3D scanning, data analysis and virtual reality to dramatically improve asset management in large and complex sites.  This video shows geomatics consultants Charlton Bland and Kevin Ballard scanning and analysing complex visual and radar scan data. Multiple data sets can be combined to provide intelligence for decision support; predicting collapses before they happen.   The film shows how this rich 3D mapping can be used in a virtual reality environment for purposes as diverse as staff training or public consultation.   To learn more about digital engineering or book a visit to the Atkins Digital Incubator, contact Gary Wilson:

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Challenge The Royal Air Force (RAF) needs to have confidence that its aircraft are safe, airworthy and fit for deployment whenever they’re needed most. In June 2013 the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) issued the Airworthiness Review regulations and mandated a Baseline Military Airworthiness Review (BMAR) of all military aircraft by July 2015. The BMAR is used to confirm airworthiness by establishing an aircraft’s maintenance history and physical configuration. This gives confidence to aviation Duty Holders that the continuing airworthiness management activities for each aircraft have been carried out and documented correctly. Solution Atkins partnered with Gama Aviation in order to undertake this comprehensive and unprecedented review of RAF assets. Our team successfully completed Baseline Military Airworthiness Reviews within the stretching deadline set by the MAA. Completing this within 12 months of the contract being awarded was an extensive task which, for some aircraft, included thorough checks of records going back over 34 years. Outcome Our team were recognised by the client for their technical capability, thorough analysis and streamlining of existing processes. We were also praised for our flexible approach. Completing these extensive airworthiness reviews while meeting and overcoming difficult challenges throughout the programme was only possible by working in close partnership with the RAF. Now the BMAR has been completed, our team will conduct an annual Airworthiness Review on each allocated aircraft for the remainder of the three to five year contract. These will focus on the continuing airworthiness management activities conducted on the aircraft since the last review.

UK ,

The A380 is the largest passenger aircraft in the world with a wingspan of 80 metres. Atkins provided independent certification of the A380 wing structure to enable its client to comply with international air safety standards. Atkins’ A380 wingbox certification covered detailed stress analysis extending over the whole aircraft lifecycle, operating loads, in-service fatigue and damage tolerance. To deliver the project, which extended over four years, Atkins brought together a large team and managed inputs from a wider supply chain. The A380 has a ground-breaking, fuel efficient design, resulting in 12% lower fuel burn per seat than a comparable aircraft. To provide certification Atkins was required to develop new and innovative stress analysis methods.

India , Netherlands , UK ,

Atkins has supported the development of SRMs for a range of new civil and military aircraft programmes. We have also provided justification for SRM allowable damage limits and repairs to structural components including wing, fuselage and floor. Our SRM work draws on Atkins’ extensive experience in airframe design and structural analysis, including static stress and durability and damage tolerance on both composite and metallic components.

UK , USA , Netherlands , Canada , India ,

Atkins is an official engineering services provider to the UK’s National Composites Centre (NCC). The NCC brings together companies and academics to develop new technologies for the design and rapid manufacture of high-quality composite products.Atkins is supporting the NCC in advancing the use of this material across sectors, including aerospace, power generation, highways, transportation and the built environment. Atkins draws on its expertise in innovative applications of composite materials, including manufacturing and testing, and its multi-disciplinary experience to support the NCC in providing guidance to organisations and individuals that approach the centre with a composites concept.

UK ,

Atkins is researching the elastic response of aerofoils made of composite materials under aerodynamic and inertial forces. The methods being derived will have multiple applications and feature generic modules covering stiffness, inertia and rotational loading. In addition, the derived analysis model has a rapid sizing capability, allowing multiple configurations to be evaluated at the concept stage. This will reduce development lead times and therefore help accelerate the development of more energy efficient structures. Advanced composite materials have multiple potential applications across engineering, many of which could play an important part in sustainable development. For example, wind turbine blades made of composite materials are lighter and so require lighter supporting structures and less fuel to transport them to site, as well as being more aerodynamic because they require fewer bolts and rivets to be constructed. However, the understanding of the behaviour of advanced composites is, in relative terms, in its infancy. Atkins has coupled its in-depth knowledge of the latest composite materials with its multi-disciplinary experience to develop and deliver a research programme designed to help harness the full potential of advanced composites. In this way, Atkins’ advanced composites research programme is making a significant contribution to Carbon Critical Design.

India , UK ,

Atkins supports major aircraft and engine manufacturers on Continuous Product Development (CPD), helping its clients to establish clear ways forward for future derivatives of their civil fleets.Atkins' CPD work draws on its vast knowledge of aerospace engineering and experience of working on a wide variety of aircraft and engine development programmes to provide innovative solutions to its clients.

India , USA , Netherlands , UK ,

Next Generation Composite Wing (NGCW) is a UK Government-backed research programme, designed to help develop lightweight aircraft wings. As an industry partner Atkins is using its knowledge of composite materials to help develop models that will allow engineers to understand the complex behaviour of advanced composites, including the effects of ply orientation, unbalanced lay-ups and interlamina stress. Atkins’ has extensive experience of composite materials, having worked on multiple composite-rich aircraft development programmes and through its own research programme. This experience is being brought to bear in the NGCW programme, identifying the key situations for potential failure and developing models that can be used to design a variety of composite wing variants.

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MALPAS is one of the world’s most rigorous and advanced software analysis and verification toolsets. It has been used to verify software systems on military aircraft including the Lockheed Martin C130J, BAE Systems Tornado, Merlin Helicopter and Astra Hawk.


For more information on our work and experience in this sector please contact:

UK & Europe

Han van der Vleuten
Director, mainland Europe
T: +31 235 64 5002

Pete Myers
Client director
United Kingdom
T: +44 1454 66 2166


In this section you can find technical papers and thought leadership articles produced by Atkins for the aerospace sector.

Title Format Size
Made of stronger stuff – growth of advanced composites in engineering pdf 131KB

In this section you can find technical papers and thought leadership articles produced by Atkins for the aerospace sector.

Title Format Size
Advanced composite materials pdf 675KB
Design pdf 1.4MB
Aircraft interiors pdf 337KB
Fatigue and damage tolerance pdf 487KB
Fuselage structures pdf 371KB
Harnessing the power of advanced composites pdf 1.3MB
Finite element modelling pdf 215KB
Systems engineering pdf 1.2MB
Wing structures pdf 1.2MB

In this section you can find technical papers and thought leadership articles produced by Atkins for the aerospace sector.

Title Format Size
Aerospace PM Bas Veldman on lean engineering & composites jpg 374KB
UKTI: The UK Rail Sector report - Atkins work on composite train doors (p 42) pdf 4.5MB
Aerospace year in review pdf 3.5MB
Checklist - Should I be using composites? pdf 704KB


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