Cobham has received funding from the UK Aerospace Growth Partnership as part of a Thales-led effort to develop smaller, lighter, more flexible and capable future communications systems for civil aircraft.

The £6.4m AGP award will fund the HARNet (harmonised antennas, radios and networks) strategic research programme to develop the radio techniques and technologies required for an integrated modular communications (IMC) system for civil aircraft using software defined radio technology.

If successful and adopted by civil aircraft original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), IMC would mean less equipment to be installed in new aircraft, freeing up critical space, reducing weight and using less fuel. For the airlines, reduced weight means reduced costs, higher reliability and safety. Greater fuel efficiency could mean future airliners would increase passenger capability, improve operational efficiency and reduce both noise and CO² emissions.

As part of this project, three Cobham businesses located in England will participate with support from the University of Southampton and Queen Mary University of London. The Cobham contribution will take forward advanced antennas and high data bandwidth MESH radios.

Pete Raby, Cobham Communications and Connectivity sector president who is responsible for all three Cobham businesses said: "Cobham is very pleased and excited to participate in this project. Our antennas and radios are already very advanced in terms of their small size, weight and superior capability, but this project will allow us to investigate advanced concepts and possibly find additional savings that could lead to further improvements in future civil aircraft."