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About ARA

Aircraft Research Association (ARA) was established in 1952 to provide an independent research and development organisation for the UK aerospace industry.  Today ARA has a global customer base extending from the west coast of North America, across Europe, to the Far East of Asia and is recognised as a Centre of Excellence in Aerodynamics. This reputation means that ARA works on many innovative projects for the worlds’ major commercial aircraft and defence system manufacturers.

Aircraft Research Association (ARA)
The ARA facility is based in Bedford, England.

With approximately 150 highly skilled staff ARA is able to provide specialist input and high value to civil and defence system aerospace projects from the very early design concept stage, right through to mid-life upgrades of an in-service capability. Our customers benefit from the unparalleled and collective experience of ARA’s highly skilled experts throughout the life of a project.

We take great pride in our levels of security, the site being manned all year round by dedicated security staff; protection of customer confidentiality is an integral part of our operating policy enforced at all times within the organisation. Being ISO9001:2015 and ISO14001:2015 accredited ARA warrants the highest quality assurance practices in every step of delivering service to its customers, from receipt of the work package, through to final supply of the requested deliverables. 

ARA’s business was originally based around our high speed wind tunnels and model manufacture capability. However the recognition in the 1970s of the future importance of Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) means that ARA has great expertise in the development and application of CFD methods which is still available to our customers today.

The launch of the UK Aerodynamics Centre in April 2012 by the UK Government provided funding to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in the aerospace industry. As the operator of the largest Transonic Wind Tunnel in the UK, ARA has been one of the companies to benefit from this funding.

Since 2012 there has seen a phased upgrade to the Transonic Wind Tunnel facility and test capabilities, the installation of new machines in the Model Manufacturing Centre and acquisition of increased high performance computing capacity for the Computational Aerodynamics department.

With the continued investment in these facilities and technologies ARA maintains its’ position at the forefront of the worlds’ Aerospace industry's research and development capabilities.