As the aerospace commercial arm of Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions Limited (popularly known as CAeS) benefits from an impressive pedigree that stretches back almost 75 years, to when the now world-renowned University started life as College of Aeronautics in 1946. Spinning off from Cranfield University in 1997, CAeS is based at a fully-equipped airfield and boasts an 1860m runway as well as a client list that features the commercial and military giants of aviation: the UK Ministry of Defence, the US Army, NASA, Airbus, Boeing and Rolls Royce, just to name a few. As a global leader in aircraft design, development of aerospace modification and rapid prototyping of new aerospace and defence concepts, none come more sophisticated than CAeS.
CAeS is unique as a UK SME in that the company has retained the capability for whole aircraft design as well as CAA/EASA/MAA approvals for design and production for complex modifications to any aircraft, of any size, and level of complexity, civil or military. With a business that splits into four main parts: aerospace, military, maintenance, and automotive simulation, CAeS require regular legal support on a number of complex matters at any given time. Harper James has been advising Cranfield on everything from employment to commercial law since 2018, on our on-demand service plan, which offers the highest level of account support.
One of Cranfield’s areas of expertise is the development of its market-leading motion cueing technology, which is deployed in ‘the Cranfield seat’, its immersive simulator for military and commercial aircraft, used by 20 armed forces across the world. Cranfield Simulation takes the G-cueing technology and applies it in a road racing setting. The automotive simulation division of the business is the only global provider of simulators offering sustained motion and is undergoing a period of real growth. With two Formula 1 teams having purchased their cutting-edge simulators, Cranfield are now looking at the luxury leisure market for their range of automotive simulators. Sitting in the driving seat of one of their racing car simulators, it doesn’t take too much suspension of disbelief to think you’re driving the real thing. The race seat inflates to mimic the impact of G-force onto your muscles.
With this growing intellectual property portfolio and new markets opening up, it’s no surprise that our top legal experts have provided Cranfield with specialist advice on how to safeguard their assets, as well as inputting on their IP strategy. Working in partnership with and supplying household names in the aerospace sector calls for detailed contracts to be put in place to govern working relations and all parties’ interests, and that’s an area our commercial team have supported on. We’ve also assisted Cranfield with crucial sales and subcontractor agreements to protect their valuable brand in the marketplace. And when you’re dealing with Ministry of Defence contracts covering the maintenance and repair of a fleet of historic Spitfires and Hurricanes, it pays to have your legal i’s dotted and t’s crossed.
Paul Hutton, CEO, Cranfield Aerospace, told us: ‘The peace of mind that having our legal experts close at hand to advise us on everything legal is priceless. One day we could be looking for input on a commercially sensitive contract with the military, the next may call for fast-turnaround expertise on a design rights matter. Having an on-demand relationship with Harper James gives us constant access to leading legal experts across the areas of law we need to keep growing our business. I’m convinced no one delivers better service or beatable value.’
CAeS is currently going through a growth phase and looking to the market to acquire external investment to grow the capability and capacity of the business. Whatever Cranfield plan to do next, we’re delighted to be by their side as this new phase of their ambition takes flight.