London, UK A consortium, led ERA Technology and including Chelton Electrostatics, Thales Avionics and Chelton Radomes, has received a £2.2million grant from the Department of Trade and Industry under its Aeronautics Research Programme to help fund research into new communications technology for the aerospace industry.
Dr Robert Pearson, head of the ERA antenna business, said, “This will take ERA into new areas, and we are very pleased to have a strong team, with complimentary skills, that will ensure a successful conclusion to this research programme.”
The consortium will study the application of novel antenna technology based around a concept being developed by ERA which has the low profile of expensive phased array technology but can be made at a cost similar to a mechanically steered reflector. The major disadvantage of steered reflectors is that they can cause high fuel penalties through increased drag while ERA says it antenna technology has negligible fuel penalties.
The programme will last for two years and at its conclusion, all three partners are intending to make products available based on the technology. The technology might be used on commercial airliners and will give individual passengers access to a selection of live TV channels, the Internet, telephone links and e-mail. In addition, it is also able to provide operational communications with global coverage.