Thales has announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire Cobham Aerospace Communications (“AeroComms”) for $1.1 billion.
AeroComms is “a leading supplier of airborne avionics systems in the areas of satellite communications, audio/radio management, antennas, lights, clocks and human-machine interfaces,” according to Thales.
With approximately 690 employees, the company has established its presence internationally, operating in France, South Africa, the United States, Canada, and Denmark. AeroComms is expected to generate approximately $200 million in revenue in 2023.
Through this acquisition, Thales aims to complement its avionics offerings and add cockpit security communication solutions to its portfolio.
“This acquisition will bring together the expertise of Cobham Aerospace Communications’ aerospace communication experts with our own avionics experts,” said Yannick Assouad, Deputy CEO of Avionics Activities at Thales. “Thales will be positioned at the heart of the technological revolution in the aviation market, ensuring a more sustainable future for the industry.”
Thales plans to strategically position itself and capitalize on the market shift towards connected cockpits by incorporating AeroComms’ range of cockpit safety communication systems into its portfolio.
In May 2022, Airbus selected Thales to equip its commercial airliners a new flight management system or FMS based on its PureFlyt product. PureFlyt offers a direct link to air traffic systems and cloud-based connectivity. Additionally, it utilizes an algorithm that consistently proposes the most advantageous alterations to the flight path for pilots by conducting searches on air traffic, weather conditions, and other relevant flight environment data through its built-in connection to external systems.
In June 2022, Thales was selected by the European Commission to serve as the coordinator for the EPIIC project (Enhanced Pilot Interfaces & Interactions for Fighters Cockpit). In this three-year study funded with €75 million from the European Defence Fund, the focus is set on developing technological solutions that will enhance the situational awareness of strategic pilots. The ultimate goal is to enable rapid decision-making even in the most intricate and challenging situations they may encounter.
“The need to accelerate the OODA loop – Observe, Orient, Decide, Act – and to act with complete discretion, will lead the pilot to become a true strategist, capable of managing the resources at their disposal and of replanning the phases of their mission in flight to ensure its success,” Thales explained at the time.
Thales is also participating in two pillars of the Future Combat Air System or FCAS program, which regroups companies from France, Germany, and Spain: the Combat Cloud (CC) and the Sensors subprograms.
The development of collaborative combat involving a tandem of manned and unmanned aircraft is a key aspect of future aerial warfare, with the sixth generation of fighter jets being built within a “system of systems.”
As the integration of unmanned aircraft and other platforms expands, pilots will need to efficiently allocate and utilize resources to ensure optimal mission performance. In this context, effective resource management will become increasingly vital for pilots.