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New £65m centre will spearhead UK’s aviation technology research

The centre, which will house the most advanced research facilities in Europe, will address challenges facing the aviation industry, including efficiency of airports, secure air traffic control, aircraft reliability and the integration of drones.

Funding for DARTeC comes from a consortium of leading aerospace and aviation companies, including Boeing UK and Monarch Aircraft Engineering, and Cranfield University.

The centre will also receive £15.5 million of funding from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, a scheme led by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The university’s chief executive and vice-chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “This is a fantastic example of business, academia and government coming together to create world-leading research facilities.

"Together with the Aerospace Integration Research Centre and the university’s own airport, the construction of DARTeC will see Cranfield offering the leading aerospace and aviation research facilities in Europe.”

DARTeC will also have trailblazing technologies such as a virtual air traffic control tower. Next-generation radar technologies on the university’s licensed airport will also provide a Civil Aviation Authority-approval route that promises increased efficiency, flexibility and capacity.

Professor Graham Braithwaite, DARTeC’s principal investigator and director of transport systems, said: “The Digital Aviation and Research Technology Centre will greatly advance the application of new innovative technology within the air transport sector.

‘Here at Cranfield, we are shaping the future of airports, aircraft, airspace and airlines, through the power of our research capabilities. The implementation of new novel technologies has the capacity to transform the way air transport operates, bringing greater efficiency and heightened safety.”

DARTeC is one of nine projects announced as part of the current round of UKRPIF funding. 

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