ESN A2G capability gets off the ground with Cobham procurement


The UK Home Office has announced that it has selected Cobham to provide the aircraft communications system (ACS) for its new broadband Emergency Services Network (ESN). The contract is worth £64 million.

The ACS is an aircraft radio and control unit, enabling communication via ESN up to an altitude of 10,000ft, for use by public safety aircraft. According to a statement from the Home Office: “This ACS procurement forms part of the ESMCP [Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme], and is responsible for delivering the services and associated equipment to deliver the devices for the ESN Air capability, approved for use on ESN.

“The procurement is to establish a framework agreement that the authority and nominated ESN user organisations can use to procure the required goods and services for use on [the network].”

Speaking of the procurement, Steve Whatson, deputy director for ESMCP, said: “The award of the ACS contract marks an extremely important milestone in the rollout of the Emergency Services Network and allows us to look forward towards the deployment of a full 4G LTE Air network, which will be a world first. We look forward to working closely with Cobham to deliver this capability.”

Paul Kahn, sector president of Cobham Communication & Connectivity said: “This win reinforces Cobham’s position as the market leader in critical communications for airborne users. We are proud to offer our continued support to UK emergency services having provided their existing TETRA communications systems since the inception of Airwave.”

The ESN Air solution will provide mission-critical push-to-talk and high-speed data services over LTE for all UK police aircraft and air ambulance. Delivery of the system will take place between 2021–22.


Philip Mason
Editor, Critical Communications Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0)20 3874 9216