Thales has announced a major investment in next-generation aircraft communications technology with the commitment to a jointly-funded £20 million research project.
The project is in partnership with the UK government-funded Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and includes the opening of a state-of-the-art customer engagement suite in the south of the UK.
Thales says the investment reflects the strategic value that it, and the UK Government, attaches to UK-based research and development and ongoing commitment to a strong UK aerospace industry in a global marketplace.
Victor Chavez, CEO, Thales UK, said: “The opening of the engagement suite and the announcement of £20m investment in innovative research represents an exciting opportunity for Thales.
“It also highlights the importance of the government’s industrial strategy in the aerospace sector and in particular success of the ATI as a means of attracting investment in to the UK.”
Officially opened by the Minister for Industry and Energy Jesse Norman MP, the suite will provide a new focal point for the 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.
Thales says the research project is part of a portfolio of strategic Thales’ investments to develop unique technology to address this global market. It adds the aim is to position the UK as a leader in the field which will create 145 high value jobs in the UK supply chain.
The project will specifically develop skills in software network engineering, radio frequency technology and digital and signal processing and security.
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 to ensure the UK retains a world-leading aerospace sector, and is backed by a joint government-industry commitment to invest £3.9 billion in research and technology to 2026.