In this project, the student will be conducting communication datalink analysis by developing and testing applications to enable air-ground satellite communications interoperability between Air Traffic Management (ATM) stakeholders such as Airline Operational Centres, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), Air Traffic Control (ATC) and aircraft pilots.  Read more Read less

The Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) recognises three distinct aircraft domains: Aircraft Control Domain (ACD), Airline Information Services Domain (AISD), and Passenger Information and Entertainment Services Domain (PIESD). The ACD has the highest safety criteria for safe operation of the aircraft and therefore designed to carry System Wide Information Management (SWIM)-flight-critical data. The AISD and PIESD are potential candidates to share the provision of non-safety critical SWIM advisory services such as meteorological and aeronautical information. As SWIM flight-critical data, meteorological, and aviation information vary in quality of service, message size, and regularity of transmission, these, therefore, have implications on the service performance and bandwidth to be supported by the satellite air-ground link. Consequently, these have impacts through which domains ACD, AISD or PIESD the aeronautical data are best channelled in the aircraft.  


This project aims to develop satellite communication data link services and analysis a System Wide Information Management (SWIM)-enabled ATM architecture for application entities.


Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management. It is the only University that has its own commercial Airport, controllers, commercial pilots, and aircraft. Cranfield Airport was the first to install and operate a Digital Tower in the UK.


This PhD will be hosted by the Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems and will be based at DARTeC which is a £67 million new research centre that will enable “Aviation of the Future”. Cranfield is also setting up 16 km long national facility for drone flights (referred to as drone corridor) which will be extensively used for experimentation in this project. The Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems is one of the world’s largest centres of postgraduate education and research, with over 200 MSc and PhD students. In terms of facility, Cranfield University has a range of specialist research facilities available for different research activities (e.g. MUEAVI-multi-user environment for autonomous vehicle innovation facility). The facility operates as a collaborative and flexible space with specialist equipment available for indoor/outdoor flight tests for UAS systems. 


The student will have the opportunity to work closely with our industrial partners Inmarsat and learn from the professionals working on the development of cutting-edge technologies. The student will be encouraged and supported in publishing their own work in high-quality peer-reviewed journals. Also, the student will have opportunities to present the research finding at the relevant UK and international conferences. 


This is a very exciting project for a suitable candidate where you will be exposed to the latest technological developments, learn from the industrial and academic experts working in this area and prepare for an exciting career in academia or industry.

At a glance

  • Application deadline30 Jul 2021
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date01 Oct 2021
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSATM207


1st Supervisor: Dr Saba Al-Rubaye  

2nd Supervisor: Prof Antonios Tsourdos

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an equivalent of a first or second-class UK degree in Engineering or Computer science including Communications, Software and Computer Engineering. The candidate should have strong skills in software development, systems integration, simulation, prototyping and debugging. A software experience in XML programming, schemas, and JSON would be a distinct advantage.


This is a funded PhD open to UK, EU and International applicants.

About the sponsor

Funded by InmarsatDARTeC, and Cranfield University, this studentship will provide a full bursary for up to £19,432 (tax-free) plus fees* for three years

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact:

Dr Saba Al-Rubaye
T: (0) 1234 75 4887  

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form.