ACS - Aerospace Cluster Sweden


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ACS - Aerospace Cluster Sweden

Östergötland region

Cluster Description

Facts & Figures

Number of companies 15 large companies, 45 SME
Number of employees 18,000 belonging only to enterprises
Number of research institutes 2 research institutes + 1 academia
Number of airports 2 airports
Other cluster members Trade unions, local governments enterprises associations, training and education.

Cluster Management

Organizational form The municipality of Linköping asked Nulink (Linköping’s office for trade and industry) to take the lead in the cluster initiative, it was initiated by public bodies (top-down). In August 2015 a cluster coordinator was employed to work full-time managing daily cluster operations and fine-tune the strategic direction going forward. Discussions have started to evaluate if the cluster should become a legal entity and to put in place an organizational structure accordingly. ACS is open to all national players that are active within or have links to the aerospace industry. Linköping and the Östergötland province is where most of the players are located, thus making this area the natural “hub” of the cluster.
Financing Aerospace Cluster Sweden is fully financed by the municipality of Linköping. Discussions are ongoing though if there should be a membership fee once the cluster has become a legal entity.

Main Actors

Main industry actors Altran, Combitech, Industrikompetens, LFV, Patria Helicopters, RUAG Space, SAAB.
Main research institutes Linköping University.

Cluster Competences and Strategy

During the first two years activities have been focused in the areas of networking/knowledge exchange, long term competence development and maintenance (how to attract students and women to aerospace primarily) as well as international presence (participation in air shows). A project around simulation where a couple of member companies participated has been started.

Strengths & Competences

The “Unit for regional growth”, which is governmentally funded, have identified five strength areas where this region clearly has better preconditions than other regions to make possible the solutions of tomorrow within all industries. These five areas form part of what is entitled “the Smart Specialisation Strategy for Östergötland”. The region’s smart specialisaton areas are:

  • Effective logistics
  • Business models and arenas for sustainable system solutions
  • Smart, secure and robust connected products and systems
  • Simulation and visualization
  • Advanced materials

The Smart Specialisation Strategy for Östergötland has been designed to develop a fundamental idea of innovation policy that will promote effective use of public investment. In this sense, there is a certain focus on technology related to these five strength areas in this region.

Science & Research

Linköping University has 26 500 students, 4000 employees, approximately 130 educational programs whereof 30 are masters programmes in English. Three institutions focus on aerospace related research:

  • Department of Management and Engineering: focus on hydraulic components and systems, modelling, simulation and implementation of control algorithms for physical systems, modern design methodologies, efficient manufacturing
  • Department of Computer and Information Science: involved in the Centre for future flight systems
  • Department of Electrical Engineering

FOI (research institute in the area of Security and Defense, organized under the Ministry of Defence) focuses research within: sensors, telecommunications, man-machine interaction, radar invisibility

Saab AB cooperates with Linköping University within the areas mentioned, main focus on Avionics, Aerodynamics, Fluid dynamics, System technology, Traffic insertion

Nowadays, the district has signed formal cooperation agreement with Aéro Montréal. In the future, we intend to cooperate, on a bilateral level, with other clusters (in the fields of aeronautics and space). Several of these future partner clusters will be identified also with the information that we can get by being an EACP member.

Main Challenges

Many of the members are smaller companies, thus it is challenging for them to have the energy and resources to contribute and actively collaborate in the cluster. We must find ways to show tangible bottom-line results justifying why one should be a member and the benefits of being involved. The cluster is established, there is a strong member base, the infrastructure for collaborating is in place. Using a metaphor: paths, roads and some highways have been built, both within the cluster and also gateways out of the cluster to important players, BUT it is the members that have to travel on these roads to realize all the synergies that are there. Everyone is convinced that to be a part of the cluster is a great benefit, BUT members need to be more involved. It could be a challenge to achieve the needed level of involvement.