East Anglia’s leading construction business, R G Carter, has been awarded the contract to build the new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) at Cranfield University.

The brand-new £65 million research facility is a partnership between the University and major industry partners such as Aveillant, BOXARR, Saab and Thales, with support from Research England,  that will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation.

Professor Graham Braithwaite, Project Lead and Director of Transport Systems at Cranfield University, said: “DARTeC will be a key part of Cranfield’s global research airport and we are looking forward to working with R G Carter and our partners to deliver this state-of-the art facility. Together, we can transform the way aviation operates by using digital technologies to deliver greater efficiency and enhanced safety.”

The building has a double-storey atrium and will contain advanced digital research laboratories, collaborative open plan office space and an informal break-out area where staff, students and industry partners can engage and share ideas.

Adjacent to the building, there will be a ‘hangar laboratory’ which will house a Boeing 737 aircraft – donated by British Airways – enabling the next generation of engineers to experiment with maintenance and repairs.  The hangar canopy and main building roofs mirror each other to form matching ‘stealth fighter’ profiles when viewed from above.

Ken Woodhall at R G Carter said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Cranfield University to work on such a unique and impressive building. We look forward to delivering this creative space which will provide groundbreaking research and continue to develop the ever-growing aviation industry.”

DARTeC aims to address some of the key research challenges facing the aviation industry, including:

  • the integration of drones into civilian airspace
  • increasing the efficiency of airports through technological advances
  • creating safe, secure shared airspace through secure data communication infrastructures
  • increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft through self-sensing, self-aware technologies.

The Centre is due to be completed in 2020 and will be the third major project that R G Carter has delivered for Cranfield University.

About Cranfield University

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