The Duke of Edinburgh joined some of the country’s leading experts from the fields of aerospace, automotive, environment, bioscience, management, manufacturing, security and defence at The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Annual Soir’e and Exhibition at Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, England.

‘Innovation in Action’ was the theme of event which was hosted by Cranfield University during the evening of 22 June. The prestigious event which took place in the presence of Prince Philip, who is the Senior Fellow, was attended by more than 200 guests.

Cranfield University created a display bringing together expertise from all its schools to showcase the breadth and depth of its extensive experience and successes achieved through partnerships with industry.

Included in this vast wealth of knowledge and was Cranfield Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cranfield University. Represented by David Gardner, Managing Director and colleagues with backgrounds in UAV and aerospace technical design, industry businessmen took advantage of understanding the wide expertise available within the company which provides customers with services to innovate, design, manufacture and build complete manned and unmanned airborne systems. On display was a scale model of the X-48B, Boeing Research & Technology’s subscale Blended Wing Body UAV, designed and constructed by Cranfield Aerospace. This, together with an Observer UAV and Ground Control Station unit gave visitors a welcome opportunity to view and discuss the unique capabilities of the company.

The soir’e drew attendance from a vast array of industry professions and businessman from companies including Airbus, Brawn GP, Rolls-Royce and Williams F1.

Philip Greenish, Chief Executive, The Royal Academy of Engineering, said: ‘The soir’e looks to showcase the best of British engineering and the partnership between academia and industry and Cranfield University with its state of the art facilities and world class research resource has been the perfect host.’

David Gardner, MD Cranfield Aerospace said ‘The evening was a great success and an excellent opportunity to meet with like-minded industry professionals to showcase our unique capabilities alongside Cranfield University.’

The Duke of Edinburgh with Professor Sir John O’Reilly (Vice Chancellor, Cranfield University) alongside a model of the X 48B UAV with David Gardner (MD for Cranfield Aerospace)