The Aircraft Design Group provides research, design and consultancy in the field of aircraft design. Furthermore, in an age when current aircraft designers no longer benefit from seeing a concept through from drawing board to flight, it acts as a national repository of design knowledge and experience that industry can rely upon.

We offer world-class postgraduate education in aerospace structural, systems and avionic design. Industry and government agencies can rely upon our expertise for an independent appraisal of aerospace technologies, and lifecycle, operational and environmental issues. We have a comprehensive capability for the design of cost-effective technology demonstrators for risk reduction.

Facilities and resources

Please see Facilities and Resources page to view our impressive range of facilities and software.

Supporting your business

We have many flexible ways of working with businesses. We offer a variety of campus based continuing professional development short courses plus a range of taught courses on a full and part-time basis designed to meet the training needs of industry and the armed forces.

In addition to traditional consultancy, we are able to support the research and development needs of business through sponsorship of student projects at one extreme to the funding of staff, post-doctoral and PhD researchers at the other.

Where national security clearance, export control restrictions or commercial confidentiality is required, we are able to accommodate these.

The Group is very multidisciplinary in nature and is often described as Cranfield’s own ‘Skunk Works’. Our ability to both offer expertise in specialist areas, but to integrate these technologies to create innovative solutions for the needs of industry and society, is our greatest strength.

We offer a balance of industrial and academic experience, with staff contributing expertise in a broad range of aerospace disciplines including:

Aircraft design

  • Aerodynamics/performance;
  • Certification and airworthiness;
  • Conceptual design;
  • Environment issues;
  • From UAVs through to Ultra High Capacity Airliners;
  • Life cycle issues including cost;
  • Preliminary design;
  • Reliability and maintainability;
  • Structure/systems integration;
  • Susceptibility and vulnerability.

Aircraft structures

  • Certification and airworthiness;
  • Integration of advanced technologies and materials;
  • Structural integrity;
  • Structural layout, design and analysis.

Aircraft systems

  • Airframe systems;
  • Integration;
  • Landing gear;
  • More electric technology.


  • Advanced flight deck displays;
  • Air Traffic Management and trajectory optimisation;
  • Avionic data network simulation and evaluation;
  • Communication;
  • GPS;
  • Guidance, control and navigation – sensor fusion;
  • Sense and avoid;
  • System fault diagnosis.

Clients and partners

The Group has a broad client base including many major airframe manufacturers such as:

  • Airbus;
  • Boeing.

Other key aerospace companies we work with include:

  • Messier-Bugatti-Dowty;
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL);
  • Rolls-Royce.

Government agencies are well supported as are armed forces from around the world including:

  • Royal Air Force;
  • Royal Canadian Air Force;
  • Nigerian Air Force;
  • Royal Thai Air Force;
  • Royal Australian Air Force.