Head of Systems & Performance Engineering
Cobham Capability: Mission Systems
I'm Head of Systems & Performance Engineering at the
Wimborne site of Cobham Mission Equipment. My role involves
recruiting and developing the best talent for our Systems team and
Performance Engineering team. I am also responsible for the
development of our processes and tools so that we continuously
improve the quality and efficiency of our work. As a member of the
Senior Engineering Management team I share responsibility for the
day to day management and development of the Engineering department
as a whole.
To date I have worked with Cobham in the US with two different
teams. In both cases I was acting as a technical assessor or
chairman for design reviews. I've found that establishing a network
of colleagues across the globe sometimes provided opportunities to
find solutions to problems without the need to develop them
The Systems & Performance Engineering team is a sub-set of
the Engineering department, which is responsible for the design and
development of new products and systems. Systems engineers seek to
bring a structured approach to the technical management of complex
projects, typically leading the development of products which
incorporate many mechanical, electrical and electronic elements;
projects which require holistic thinking and for which mistakes are
expensive to correct. Performance engineers provide the analytical
support required to develop new equipment and systems. A
performance engineer will use a wide range of techniques, from
simple hand calculations to complex computerised modelling, to
predict and analyse the performance of our equipment.
Providing innovation with insight is at the heart of what we do.
For example, a systems engineering capability improvement project
is underway at CME Wimborne, seeking to establish world class
processes and staff development. To this end a new set of processes
is in development which is built upon the best practice defined in
ISO/IEC 15288 and the INCOSE Handbook. This is supported by a staff
competency framework which links into the same standards and which
provides a structure for development of our systems engineers.
I'm currently working in Business Improvement for Cobham
Surveillance. I've been with Cobham for six years starting as an
apprentice and I've been involved in various departments. I work in
six month placements so I've had exposure to different roles and
teams, which has given me a broad range of skills.
As a graduate I've seen the importance of innovation with
insight firsthand. For example, while merging an existing business
with another business in the division, the team had to be
innovative with the layout to allow the businesses to function in a
flexible manner depending on the outputs required. We also had to
consider growth and future product manufacture. Also, with a
combined selection of skills and experience, the two operations
teams can support and develop each other.
I've also worked for Cobham Mission Equipment during my
foundation and advanced apprenticeships, working in various
placements - including air-to-air refuelling pod production, design
verification and endurance testing of air-to-air refuelling probes.
Working in the different areas I've seen the capabilities develop
from designs through to finished goods that are now in service for
I have been lucky enough to visit teams in San Francisco and
Orchard Park whilst working for Cobham Mission Equipment. I was
also involved in an Air Traffic Control refit of a control tower in
Bahrain whilst working for Cobham Aviation Services.
Senior Consultant Engineer
I'm a Senior Consultant Engineer, working for the Antenna and
Electronics Group at Cobham Technical Services (Leatherhead, UK).
My main role within the group is to provide technical consultancy
on antenna related research and development programmes, but I also
manage projects and get involved in business development
My group is at the forefront of technology, producing
state-of-the-art antenna and electronic systems for both commercial
and defence markets, for a wide range of international customers. I
have been lucky enough to work on many interesting, diverse and
technically challenging projects whilst working for Cobham. These
include being involved in developing stealth technology for
airborne platforms, millimetre wave radar technology for
surveillance applications, ultra wideband antenna arrays for high
data wireless links and many more.
I've also had the opportunity to work with many other parts of
the organisation. For example, we've recently completed the
development of a compact anti-jam GPS system for attack
helicopters, a project in which we worked closely alongside Cobham
Antenna Systems (Marlow). By demonstrating high levels of
innovation and strong team working, our system has been selected
for airborne trials in the US. Cobham have recognised the
achievements that we made by awarding the team with the Sir Alan
Cobham Gold Team Award for Team Work in 2009.
Innovation is a core part of the ethos at Cobham Technical
Services, which is built on the high levels of expertise and
dedication of the staff. We are continually driving technology
forward, something I think Sir Alan would be proud of.