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Welcome to Cobham

Cobham is a leading global technology and services innovator, respected for providing solutions to the most challenging problems, from deep space to the depths of the ocean.


Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions

We provide critical solutions on land, at sea, and in the air and space, by moving data through off-the-shelf and customised products including RF, microwave, and high reliability microelectronics, antenna subsystems and motion control solutions.


Cobham Aviation Services

We deliver outsourced aviation services for military and civil customers worldwide through military training, special mission flight operations, outsourced commercial aviation and aircraft engineering


Cobham Communications and Connectivity

We are recognised as a world leading supplier of robust, high performance equipment and solutions that enable reliable connectivity anywhere, anytime, in the most demanding environments.


Cobham Mission Systems

As the world’s leading supplier of critical control solutions, we help our customers to increase the safety and mission capabilities of their personnel and equipment in extreme environments.

Cobham plc


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Cobham The Man


Sir Alan Cobham, born in 1894, was an aviation adventurer, explorer and pioneer. Rising to prominence at a pivotal point in history, he proved the role of aeroplanes as champions of travel, laying the foundations to transform this mode of transport into an efficient and effective form of transportation.


Founding Flight Refuelling Ltd in 1934, the company has developed over 80 years into the international defence and technology company that it has today, Cobham plc.

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Early years



Alan Cobham's first taste of 'the air' was through the modest past-time of buying and flying kites on Streatham Common in London. Following a visit to Brooklands to see an air display, his love for aviation developed further. 


Come the outbreak of World War One, Alan Cobham volunteered to join the Royal Air Force. Initially working as an Assistant Veterinary Sergeant, Cobham applied to join the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. In July 1918, then Second Lieutenant Cobham became a Royal Air Force Flying Instructor, and his passion for aviation developed.  


The Early Life




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Pioneering with a purpose


After winning the Kings Cup Air Race in 1924, Alan Cobham's reputation as an aviation pioneer grew steadily. His dream of aeroplanes being an efficient and effective mode of transport was further realised with a number of adventures; from carrying wealthy patrons over Europe and the Middle East, to route proving around India, Burma and Africa. Alan Cobham was proving the benefits of flight as a chosen mode of transport. 


Sir Alan Cobham's route around Africa


Having spent 18 months flying from South Africa and Australia in 1926, Alan Cobham's return trip to London was greeted by crowds of over a million, outside of the Houses of Parliament. Landing on the River Thames, he was later awarded a knighthood by King George V. 


Cobham the man - achievements 3



From 1932, Sir Alan Cobham spread the "thrills and spills" of aviation to over 1,000 locations in the form of 'Cobham's Flying Circus'. An adventurous show, it displayed aeronautical acrobatics from the sedate to the fast and furious, turning Sir Alan Cobham into a household name. 


 Cobham the man - early years 2



By the mid-1930's, Sir Alan Cobham's instinct told him that touring air shows had largely run its course. Focussing on an unused aspect of aviation, Sir Alan Cobham formed Flight Refuelling Ltd on 29 October, 1934 to focus his efforts on air refuelling and its wider application.



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Sir Alan Cobham's Achievements


Sir Alan's Cobham's achievements covered a wide spectrum within the aviation industry.


From winning the Kings Cup Air Race in 1924, carrying out the first flight to and from South Africa in 1925, undertaking route proving around Africa and the African lakes in 1928 and 1931, to supporting the Berlin Airlift in 1948.


Cobham the man - acheivements


His knighthood in 1926 was a crowning moment in the recognition of his pioneering and innovative insight into the future possibilities of aviation, aptly recognising the contributions he had, at this point in his life, achieved.


In 1934, Sir Alan Cobham's efforts led to the first non-stop crossings of the Atlantic. However it wasn't until the post war adoption of air refuelling by the United States Air Force, and the company's invention of the probe and drogue method in 1949, that the full potential of aerial refuelling was realised.


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Yet it wasn't until 1982, with the successful 'Black Buck' Operation, that Sir Alan Cobham's innovative aerial refuelling come under real test. Launched centre stage of the Falkland's War, Cobham's equipment sucessfully transported the attacking Vulcan a round trip of 7,800 miles to the Falkland Islands via 18 refuelling contacts. Only achievable using the innovative equipment established by Sir Alan Cobham's company, this landmark moment in history helped position the company as a world leader in fuel system design and component manufacture.


Sir Alan Cobham died on 21 October 1973. Today his legacy lives on; Cobham plc is the result of 80 years of development since Sir Alan Cobham's founding of Flight Refuelling Ltd in 1934.


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