Deputy Head of Site Transformation and Maintenance

Aircraft Research Association (ARA) is a unique SME and the UK’s leading independent transonic wind tunnel with a passionate workforce of engineering and aerodynamic professionals. We are a leading specialist in aerodynamic research providing complementary services and solutions to international aerospace and defence clients. Our clients include Saab, Bombardier, Boeing, Turkish Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Comac and BAE Systems.

Typical projects include producing scaled-down military and civilian aircraft models, comprising multiple parts, which are assembled together and used as highly accurate forces/pressures measuring devices within the on-site high-speed (transonic) wind tunnel.


An exciting opportunity is emerging for the role of Deputy Head of Site Transformation and Maintenance to join our organisation, the Aircraft Research Association (ARA) Limited.

ARA is located in Bedford and it has a rich heritage of delivering world class aerodynamic solutions, as well as a strong reputation in the field of design, manufacture and industry relevant Research and Development (R&D) activity. This role represents an excellent opportunity to play an integral part in maintaining the operational integrity of the company’s main transonic wind tunnel, its test rigs and supporting systems, and other facilities and infrastructure, and to become involved with further development of these world leading capabilities.

Reporting to the Head of Site Transformation and Maintenance, the Deputy Head of Site Transformation and Maintenance will support the Engineering team and assist in maintaining operational quality and delivery, by focusing on the development and maintenance of continuous improvement programmes, processes and procedures, to ensure the Department meets the needs of the business and maintains compliance with changing legislation and standards, during a period of significant capital investment.

This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced and confident manager with strong leadership and stakeholder management skills to be part of the on-going evolution and success of ARA.

Salary Range: Negotiable (depending on experience)
Typical hours: Full time, 38 hours per week.

What you will get the chance to do:

  • Ensure that modifications, operation and maintenance processes meet the company Quality, Health and Safety, and Environmental standards.
  • Ensure that the appropriate process is applied for any works resulting in both temporary and permanent modifications and changes to equipment and infrastructure including appropriate design reviews, and that such modifications and changes to the systems or deviations from the design configurations are visible, understood, documented and controlled.
  • Maintain a good understanding of the models, equipment and testing methods being used in the tunnels through communication with other managers, attendance of design reviews, plant meetings, etc.
  • Working closely with the Engineering Services Manager and Site Services Team Lead, review and ensure the operating requirements and instructions required to maintain the integrity of the system designs are delivered in accordance with the operating manuals and specified requirements.
  • Review maintenance progress, actions and status, approving or rejecting any deviations from the plan including deferral of maintenance tasks or temporary changes to the system, in consultation with the relevant Engineering Manager.
  • Attend Engineering team leadership meetings, develop and maintain appropriate reports and KPIs, participate in setting the department’s annual budget and share in the responsibility of managing performance to that budget.
  • Support the Head of Engineering with the day to day management of the Engineering team.

Critical Skills, Competencies & Behaviours:

  • A good level knowledge of mechanical or electrical engineering gained through experience with complex engineering products or industrial machinery.
  • Demonstrable experience of working with and implementing changes to engineering design processes and engineering drawings within an industrial quality management system.
  • A Degree in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering (or similar subject) or equivalent knowledge gained through experience. Preferably Chartered Engineer status or equivalent experience.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience in a technical environment preferably with 5+ years’ experience.
  • Experience of managing a diverse and multi-experienced team of engineers. Providing direction to those more experienced, and guidance and development to the junior members of the team.

What are we looking for in you?

  • Capable of understanding complex systems, analysing data and applying problem-solving techniques in a logical, competent and timely manner.
  • Ability to improve standards and be driven by continuous improvement.
  • A positive behaviour set with great communication and collaboration skills.
  • Have a desire to succeed, ability to work under pressure and be prepared for out-of-hours working from time to time.
  • Have commercial awareness and some client relationship management experience.

This is an exciting permanent opportunity for the right person to be part of a successful and highly skilled engineering company, working 38 hours per week, Monday to Friday. In return, we offer a range of benefits including: a competitive salary and pension scheme; flexible working options (normal hours are 0800hrs to 1621hrs); free parking; employee assistance programme; private health insurance and 26 days’ annual leave plus Bank Holidays (increasing with length of service after 5 years’ service)


The successful candidate must satisfy security clearance requirements – including the last 5 years continual UK residency.

Aircraft Research Association Ltd is proud to be an Equal Opportunities Employer. We recognise the value in an inclusive and diverse workforce and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified people.

If you think you are the person we are looking for, please complete the form below.


Contact us

Aircraft Research Association Limited

Manton Lane, Bedford, England MK41 7PF

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