Thales has announced a major investment in next-generation aircraft communications technology with the commitment to a jointly funded £20m research project in partnership with the government-funded Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the opening of a state-of-the-art customer engagement suite in the UK.
Officially opened by the Minister for Industry and Energy Jesse Norman MP, the suite will provide a new focal point for new communications technology being developed at Crawley in Sussex. The suite will promote engagement with customers and UK industry partners and emerging innovative Small and Medium Enterprises to build a globally competitive UK civil aircraft communications and connectivity industrial base.
The research project announced today is part of a portfolio of strategic Thales investments to develop unique technology to address the “connected aircraft” market. The aim is to position the UK as a leader in the field with the creation of 145 high-value jobs in the UK supply chain. The research project will specifically develop skills in software network engineering, radio frequency technology and digital and signal processing and security.
Thales says that the products developed from this research will transform how safe and secure communications are delivered to passengers and operators in both the cabin and the cockpit. The market potential for future communications products is estimated in the billions.
The decision to invest in the UK was strengthened by the government’s commitment to the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). The ATI sets the national aerospace technology strategy and is backed by a joint government-industry commitment to invest £3.9bn in research & technology over the next ten years.