Cranfield University reveals designs for their new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre

Cranfield University have today revealed Burrell Foley Fischer’s designs for their new Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) facility, at the Farnborough International Airshow.


The DARTeC facility is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2019 and will be formally opened in early 2020. The facility will provide a research environment which is protected from, and yet accessible to, a live aerodrome that allows research at a variety of technology readiness levels. The facility consists of a central building containing a suite of digital aviation research laboratories, a partially covered ‘hangar laboratory’, a 737-400 aircraft, an intelligent movement area, and a remote air traffic control centre with conventional and advanced holographic radar systems capable of monitoring and controlling the airspace around Cranfield’s aerodrome.

Located adjacent to the DARTeC central building, the hangar laboratory will house Cranfield’s 737-400 aircraft which will be connected through an airport-style air-bridge. The hangar laboratory will include aircraft sensing equipment, visual, thermal and load distribution, for digital maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) studies and markings for an airport gate. The laboratory will house airport ground handling vehicles where assistive digital technologies will be researched and integrated to improve ground operation efficiency and safety. In addition, the facility will enable research into the development of fully-autonomous ground handling vehicles and the application of UAVs for remote inspection concepts.


The Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre is a unique opportunity to bring together sector leads from across the aviation industry (airspace management, airport, airline and aircraft) within a collaborative research environment to create, experiment and challenge the digital status quo through accelerating digital systems integration.