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Airbus and Oracle Team USA forge technology partnership

News International-French

24 Oct 2014

Airbus and Oracle Team USA, the defending champion of the America’s Cup, have forged a technology partnership.

As Official Innovation Partner of Oracle Team USA for the 35th America’s Cup, Airbus will share the know-how of its engineers and experts in fields such as aerodynamics, instrumentation and simulation, composites, structures, hydraulics and data analysis to work with the Oracle Team USA design team.

“This is a completely new endeavor for us,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “By taking on an extreme technology and sports project of this magnitude we stretch our competencies and further boost our agility. There are so many similarities between the America’s Cup yacht and our aircraft design, that each partner benefits from an excellent platform not only to learn and grow but also to win.”

For Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, the partnership will allow his team to benefit from the skill-set of a leading engineering group with experience working on the cutting-edge of technology.

“The America’s Cup is a boat race, but the design technology and engineering are very often the winning factor,” Spithill said. “The new America’s Cup boats are lighter and faster than what we’ve had before. They will be powered by a wing and will fly above the water on foils. They’re as much like airplanes as they are like traditional boats, so I know we’ll have a lot to learn from the experience the engineers at Airbus bring to the project.”

Oracle Team USA first won the America’s Cup in 2010 racing a trimaran powered by one of the largest wings (223 feet / 68 meter) ever built.

In 2013, the team successfully defended its title in the AC72 class – wingsail powered catamarans that flew above the water on hydrofoils at over 50 mph (90kph).

The next America’s Cup will be in 2017 and raced in the new AC62 class; a smaller, lighter and more finely engineered foiling catamaran than its predecessor that is expected to reach similar speeds.

“Everything we do in these boats is right at the edge of what’s possible,” Spithill said. “For our design team to be able to have access to the resources of AIRBUS is going be a huge benefit to us.”

“All at Airbus are very excited about this partnership,” concluded Brégier. “Our engineering teams’ enthusiasm and engagement to be a part of this project is simply overwhelming. The biggest challenge might be to bring them back working on airplanes again!”