2018 marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The RAF has always been at the leading edge of air and space technology, constantly introducing exciting new aircraft, with the latest being the F-35 Lightning. 

The focus of the RAF must increasingly be on integrating data and information. Solutions must be innovative, and new capabilities need to be introduced more quickly, exploiting rapid advances in the commercial sector.

To help meet this challenge, the RAF has launched a Rapid Capabilities Office, with a mission to ‘explore, expedite and exploit’.


Your challenge is to conceive and explain up to three disruptive* (innovative and unexpected), yet practical technologies that could be fast-tracked into the front line. They should be designed to ensure that the RAF remains at the forefront of air and space in its second century.

Your design(s) should cover some, or all of these points. It could:

  • Do something that already exists within the RAF…but much more effectively
  • Employ an available technology or skill that the RAF does not currently use
  • Be a completely new aircraft or system (for any existing RAF role)

Remember – any innovation needs to be feasible and cost effective, with a high probability of success.

*Disruptive (definition): Radical, agile or quick-time change to a technological operation, and/or creating new, innovative systems; displacing established versions, products or procedures.

Design solutions are invited and must be submitted no later than 31 May 2018


  1. The Schools Aerospace Challenge 2018 is open to all schools, Air Training Corps squadrons and recognised youth organisations in the UK.
  2. The competition is structured for teams of three.
  3. A school, squadron or organisation may enter as many teams as it chooses.
  4. Team members must be aged between 16-18 years of age at some point during July and August 2018 (i.e. they may turn 16 or 19 during this period).
  5. Teams need the endorsement of a senior adult from their organisation.
  6. Entries must be received no later than Thursday 31 May 2018.
  7. If two or more teams tie for places at Cranfield, then the team with the earlier registration date will be awarded the place.
  8. The organisers will select the 12 teams to attend Cranfield. Their decision is final.
  9. The teams selected to attend Cranfield will be notified by email and details posted on the website by Friday 15 June 2018.
  10. If, after being selected for the Cranfield Summer School, a team finds it cannot field three members (even via substitution), the organisers reserve the right to replace that team with another.
  11. Sponsoring adults may not accompany their teams while at Cranfield although they are most welcome to visit and observe the activities for a day by prior arrangement with the organisers.
  12. A set of Joining Instructions will be sent out to those teams selected to attend Cranfield.
  13. Teams will be expected to meet their own travelling expenses. The course, all activities and full-board accommodation is provided.
  • All entries are to be submitted in electronic format and limited to six sides of A4 size pages
  • The first page is to be used only as a cover sheet, repeating (and so confirming) your team registration details
  • The cover page may carry images if desired
  • The cover page should not be used as a means of increasing the space for the entry content
  • The team can decide the font and format of the five remaining sides of A4
  • Each entry must include at least one image related to the proposed design or ideas
  • The drawing may be to any convenient scale, bearing in mind the A4 size limitation
  • The total entry should be 7 MB or less
  • Acceptable formats are pdf, jpg or any MS Office format
  • The entry should be sent via email to before the due date
  • The subject line of the email should be the Team Name
  • The last date for receipt of entries is Thursday 31 May 2018

You will receive an email to confirm your entry has been received. Teams are responsible for contacting the organisers if they do not receive this confirmation before end of business on 1 June 2018.