INTERVIEWS

Cobham Antennas Systems

Cobham Antennas Systems
Mr. John Hunter
Product Marketing Specialist
" Antennas for use in the Defence market have to be manufactured to an extremely high specification. Failures in performance or quality of the antenna can quite literally result in loss of life. Cobham’s antennas have a global reputation for quality and performance. We offer accurate and measured antenna data to our customers and always ensure that the antenna in question is the correct antenna for that application. "

1. What does it take to be a world leader in the design and manufacture of antennas for defence industry?

Antennas for use in the Defence market have to be manufactured to an extremely high specification. Failures in performance or quality of the antenna can quite literally result in loss of life. With this in mind Cobham’s antennas are designed and manufactured to the highest specification. Antennas are built for a specific purpose meaning they are optimised for their particular application.

Customers also often have very specific requirements. Cobham is able to understand these requirements and either recommend the most appropriate antenna or to work with the customer to design and build a custom solution.

2. What are your main products of interest?

In the Defence market some of our most popular products are used for tactical communications and can be vehicle mounted, ground control stations, man-pack or ground to air antennas. We have recently seen a rise in antennas for airborne and ground based Unmanned Systems.

3. What are the current markets/segments that Cobham is interested, in view of the huge potential for consumer oriented, civilian applications of communication technology?

One market we are definitely seeing a boom in is the UAV market. In previous years UAV products in the commercial market were very cheap and often for hobbies rather than working environments. Now UAV’s are used in a range of working environments, particularly audio and video transmission, either for live transmission or monitoring.

The main change we are now seeing is that commercial UAV manufacturers want more range and quality of transmissions. That is very hard to achieve with a cheap mass produced antenna so we are starting to receive a lot more enquiries for UAV mounted and control station antennas.

4. How does Cobham Antenna Systems, Microwave Antennas plan to grow despite weak military spending continuing to weigh on profits?

Although spending may have been reduced our specialism is in being able to provide very niche antennas and bespoke antenna development services on top of our standard range of products. Bespoke antennas for new products or projects are often required for military or security projects.

5. What is so unique about Cobham’s electronic warfare antennas that helped to bring in contracts from US and Australian military?

Cobham’s antennas have a global reputation for quality and performance. We offer accurate and measured antenna data to our customers and always ensure that the antenna in question is the correct antenna for that application.

We also work closely with other units within the Cobham group to develop products and take advantage of opportunities that may not necessarily have come to our attention.

6. How does Cobham manage to take care of demand and supply of technology essentials and materials for manufacturing antennas globally not compromising on quality?

All antennas from Cobham Antenna Systems, Microwave Antennas are design, manufactured and tested on a single site in the United Kingdom.

By designing, manufacturing and testing onsite we are able to keep a close eye on our quality and procedures. Necessary changes or developments can also be processed very quickly thanks to our onsite Engineering team.

7. What are recent developments in Maritime Communications that Cobham has witnessed?

Some of our antennas are currently in use aboard yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race. Cobham is both Satellite and Radio Communications Equipment Partner and Broadcast Equipment Partner for the 2014-15 race. The antennas are used for ship-to-shore communications.

8. How is manufacturing sustainability achieved while striking the right balance between advancements in technology, customer demands, costs and risks in the global market for antennas?

Our products are made to order. We do not mass produce and therefore we have limited amounts of excess stock sat on our shelves. We also have ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditations meaning that our Quality Management and Environmental Management standards and systems are audited and approved by an external body.

9. How do you think defence-industries.com will strategically connect buyers and suppliers and allow them to source the right products?

Defence-industries.com provides a portal which we hope will help customers to learn more about our company, our ethos and the kinds of products we are able to offer.

Customers are also able to contact us directly through our profile which is very useful. As our products are often very specialised we find we do need to speak to our customers either face to face, by email or over the phone. Without doing this we may not be providing the best antenna solution for a given problem or application.

 

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