Human factors integration and electromagnetic remote sensing enter programme

Aerosystems International (AeI) and BAE Systems Avionics have formally launched new UK defence technology centres (DTC)for human factors integration (HFI) and electromagnetic remote sensing, respectively. Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence is seeking expressions of interest for a second tranche of DTCs.

The DTCs are an MoD initiative to create industry/academia teams that will be funded by the participants and the ministry for "innovative cutting-edge research" in specialist fields. The third first-tranche DTC - data and information fusion - is led by General Dynamics UK and has run since February.

The intent to establish DTCs followed the split of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency into the government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the commercial Qinetiq.

The DTCs are virtual organisations, spread around the participants' sites. AeI is using virtual enterprise technology and a shared data environment to allow all HFIDTC members to share results.

AeI managing director Scott Roy says: "The purpose of the DTC will be to perform the necessary R&D to create processes and methods which will be integrated as part of future systems."

The HFI consortium includes Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems, MBDA, systems and software house SEA, VP Defence and the Universities of Birmingham, Brunel and Cranfield. Yeovil, UK-based AeI says its contract is worth around £8 million ($12.7 million) over three years, with an option for a further three years.

The HFIDTC plan comprises eight themed work packages over three years encompassing 27 major activities and 92 R&D tasks.

BAE's team includes Blue Horizon, ESL Defence, Filtronic, Nallatech, Roke Manor Research, Thales Defence UK, TW Research and VTT, as well as 10 universities. Its MoD funding is worth £15 million over the first three years, also with a similar length option.

The MoD is seeking expressions of interest from companies wanting to bid for the first tranche-two DTC, "systems engineering and integrated systems for defence: autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles". Bidders have until 13 August.

Research in the DTC should include affordable architectures, autonomous and human-assisted, mission-based decision-making, certification - in particular for safety-related issues - and validation and verification.

As with the first tranche, up to £5 million a year will be available for three to six years, with the consortium expected to provide a similar amount. The MoD had intended to launch three DTCs during tranche 2, but a ministry source says available funding makes this unlikely.

Source: Flight International