By Chris King •
Published: 11 Nov 2023 • 17:22
Image of Ponte de Sor aerodrome in Portalegre, Portugal.
Credit: YouTube/Aeródromo Municipal de Ponte de Sor
WORK on a factory that will produce the first Portuguese aircraft is expected to start in 2024.
As announced this Thursday, November 9, by Hugo Hilário, the municipality’s president, it will be constructed in Ponte de Sor, Portalegre.
‘The first prototype of the plane is expected to be launched in the first half of 2026 and the second prototype in the second half of 2026’, he explained to Lusa.
‘We hope that by October or November 2024, at the time of the PAS, we will already be starting construction of the factory’, he detailed.
Ponte de Sor is involved in three mobilising programmes of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), worth more than €200m. It is hoped to create around 500 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs.
The first programme is ‘Aero.next Portugal’ (a consortium), which will be responsible for producing the first Portuguese aircraft, the LUS 222.
This project includes around ‘€140 million of investment’, of which 61 per cent (€75m) is for the Alentejo project. It also includes the production of an unmanned aircraft with ‘distinct capabilities’ from those that exist for maritime surveillance and a third project related to advanced air mobility.
‘Neuraspace’ is the second project, which aims to help solve problems related to space debris, with a radar being created in Ponte de Sor to respond to this need. ‘Around €200m is being invested’ and it is expected to create 20 to 30 direct jobs.
Finally, ‘Newspace’ is related to the production of microsatellites and involves ‘around €60 million of investment’, creating more than 100 jobs, according to sicnoticias.pt.
‘Of the other projects, the satellites one is a little more advanced, and must be executed, as we know, even as a result of the PRR’s imperative, by the end of 2026. It is expected that by the end of 2024/2025 there will already be an effective verification of the completion of this project’, said Hilário.
‘Now it is part of preparing the programmes, which is the mandatory permanent discussion between all members of the consortia and, therefore, it is work done by the consortium representatives’, he added.
Hilário emphasised that ‘Neuraspace’ followed ‘exactly the same path’, while hoping that these two projects will be implemented in the territory by 2024. ‘The last two projects are now in the preparatory phase, but they have a considerable execution rate’, he warned.
‘There’s a lot of programme content and technical and scientific work allocated to these projects along with technological research which not being physically implemented. For example, the telescope or the satellite control radar or the production line, doesn’t mean that nothing is being done’, he concluded.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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