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£3.5-million British investment for smarter missile systems

A RAF F-35B with MBDA Spear 3 missiles. Photo: UK Crown Copyright

The UK’s Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has been awarded £3.5 million to develop innovative new missile systems.

Known as the Co-operative Strike Weapons Technology Demonstrator (CSWTD), the DSTL -led project will explore how inter-missile communication can enable the weapons systems to work together and also improve the performance of current systems.

The project aims to increase the flexibility of missiles, ensuring that they can react to a changing threat or situation as it emerges, and improve their responsiveness. It will change the way missiles operate together with an upgrade to the software system that allows this co-operative behaviour.

The UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said: “With an investment into research and development, this project highlights the central role science and technology plays in informing how our assets operate.”

The UK Ministry of Defence last year received an uplift in funding of £24 billion over the next four years, of which the MoD will invest £6.6 billion into R&D.

The investment into the CSWTD project will deliver the foundations for future co-operative missiles, including hardware and software, and also provide a number of systems studies to understand how co-operative missiles could be used in real operational scenarios.

Work began on the program in April this year and is expected to last just over 2 years. If successful, UK platforms could be exploiting the benefits of a smarter integrated network of missiles within 5 years.

Formed 20 years ago in 2001 when the MoD split the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) to create commercial company QinetiQ and DSTL, the organisation’s origins can be traced as far back as 1664.

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