RG Carter to build £65m digital aviation research hub

9 September 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Artist's impression of the new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre

East Anglia-based contractor RG Carter has won a contract to build a £65m research facility with Cranfield University.

The Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) facility, which will lead the UK’s research into digital aviation, is a partnership between the university and industry partners such as Aveillant, BOXARR, Saab and Thales, with support from Research England.

The building, which is RG Carter’s third major project for the university, has a double-storey atrium and will contain advanced digital research laboratories and open-plan office space with breakout areas.

Adjacent to the building, there will be a ‘hangar laboratory’ which will house a Boeing 737 aircraft – donated by British Airways – enabling 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, a senior quantity survey 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 ground-breaking research and continue to develop the ever-growing aviation industry.”

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.”

DARTeC aims to address key research challenges facing the aviation industry, including the integration of drones into civilian airspace and increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft through self-sensing, self-aware technologies.

The Centre is due to be completed in 2020.

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