Airbus is examining how it can assist with the production of ventilators for the UK’s National Health Service, as the country braces itself for the peak of its coronavirus outbreak.
The company leads the newly-created Ventilator Challenge consortium, which plans to scale up production of existing supply chains even amid shutdowns and disruption.
The group expects to obtain financial backing from Westminster in the coming days. This would allow Ventilator Challenge, as well as tech giant Dyson, to begin production as early as next week.
According to British media sources, the UK government has appealed to companies across the country to aid the production of essential medical goods in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Appeals have been made to British industry, but particularly to firms with specialised engineering capacity such as aerospace and aviation groups.
According to The Guardian, Airbus’ efforts may also rely on its R&D team and the 3D printing process to produce specialised components used in other equipment. Other outlets have reported that aerospace contractors GKN, Renishaw, and Thales assist Airbus as part of the consortium.
The UK government is seeking to nearly quadruple the number of ventilators in the NHS to 30,000 over the course of the next few weeks.
Currently, the British healthcare system operates just 8,000. The government originally planned to choose between the consortium and Dyson’s separate proposals. It now seems set to press ahead with both.