Senior executives from Cranfield University and Saab met today to confirm the delivery of a new state-of-the-art digital control tower for Cranfield Airport.

The cutting-edge technology replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower via a live feed of panoramic views across the airfield using HD cameras and sensors.

Digital control towers provide smarter approaches to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions and improve a controller’s situational awareness, enabling quick and informed decisions. The new system will allow controllers to zoom in on aircraft, improving visibility, and provide them with a 360-degree view of the airfield.

Currently, there are no operational digital control towers at UK airports. In 2015, the airports in Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall in Sweden became the first in the world to be controlled via a digital control tower in Sundsvall.

As well as serving Cranfield Airport, the digital control tower will further enhance the University’s research capabilities, which include the Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) and the newly announced Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC).

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, said: “The digital control tower will be a significant boost for Cranfield Airport and the research capabilities of the University. Combined with our existing and new facilities, the digital control tower will cement Cranfield’s place as the home of the leading aerospace research facilities in Europe.”

Johan Klintberg, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, who attended the event, said: “We are looking forward to the collaboration with Cranfield University and the strong links they have with the industry in the area of innovative research and development.” 

Johan Klintberg and Sir Peter Gresgon view the airfield
Sir Peter Gregson and Johan Klintberg

Notes for editors

Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions

Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions AB (SDATS) is a joint venture between Saab AB and the Swedish Air Navigation Service Provider, LFV, which was founded in 2016. SDATS leverages Saab’s 80 years of innovative and technological leadership paired with LFV’s unique operational expertise, and ultimately drives market development and transforms the provision of Air Traffic Services. The proven technology and operational experience are important differentiators in the market and will make a difference for our customers.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.