Dstl and DASA receive award recognition

Posted on 9 July, 2024 by Advance 

Staff from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) have been recognised with Commendation Awards from the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) and Chief of the General Staff (CGS).

Above: Dragonfire.
Courtesy Dstl

The VCDS Commendations are awarded twice a year, in tandem with the state honours, to individuals and teams who have performed exemplary service to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Steve Thorngate identified and led the development of RECOVER, which is a novel latent finger mark recovery system. This system has been utilised with both defence and security partners to recover latent finger marks, previously undetectable on a number of different materials and objects (for example, bullet casings). This has enabled successful results in an operational setting. As well as his contribution to RECOVER, in recent years Steve has proved to be an invaluable subject matter expert and leader in various roles across the organisation.

Steve said on receiving his award: "It was such a surprise to be nominated and receive this award. After almost 40 years of service, both military and civilian, this award is testament to the enduring support of colleagues and friends, both personally and professionally. I am very grateful for the nomination and recognition it represents."

Claire Burt was recognised for her extensive contribution to the UK’s defence, security and prosperity for over 42 years. Claire’s early career was spent in Military Oceanography and Underwater Acoustics. She spent time at the British Embassy in Washington and then later on, her role at Dstl has been overseeing external and international relations.

Commenting on her award, Claire said: "I am very honoured and delighted that my time working in defence science and technology has been recognised with this award. I have had an amazing career within Dstl and its predecessors and it has been a privilege to have worked with colleagues both nationally and internationally in support of our armed forces."

Dstl Chief Executive Dr Paul Hollinshead OBE MBA said: "The number of individual and team awards are testament to the crucial importance of science and technology for the armed forces. Our Support to Operations helps protect lives and our innovation is delivering the equipment that will provide our forces with operational advantage.

"I am immensely proud and send my congratulations to all involved."

Two awards were also made to teams working within Dstl’s Support to Operations.

Scientific support was provided to the clearance of a German World War 2 500kg bomb in Plymouth. The military commander was provided with rapid and accurate damage predictions to inform the render safe procedure. The bomb was assessed as posing a significant risk to public safety, prompting one of the largest peacetime evacuations, before it was detonated safely at sea.

This award for the Support to Operations Deployed Staff recognises the individuals that deployed operationally in 2023 to provide high impact advice as a scientific adviser or operational analyst during non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian aid operations and other military operations. Staff worked tirelessly within a range of operational locations with military and government stakeholders to provide scientific and analytical solutions and advice to benefit the defence and security of the UK.

The DragonFire Project Team also received an award, recognising the extraordinary technical achievement of delivering the UK’s first high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets at the Hebrides Range. The first demonstration of its kind, world leading technology implemented characteristics never tried before globally, placing the UK at the forefront of laser-directed energy weapon capability.

Industry partners from MBDA, QinetiQ and Leonardo provided equipment and technical expertise and were also recognised by the VCDS.

Speaking on behalf of the team, Dstl’s Ben Maddison, said: "I’m really delighted that the DragonFire team have been recognised with a VCDS award. The final laser weapon demonstration at the Hebrides was the culmination of over six years of work with a very large number of significant contributions from a wide range of people. I’m particularly pleased that this award has been able to celebrate the contributions of people who are often unsung in the delivery of technical work including commercial staff, media experts, project managers and safety experts.

"Without a real team effort, taking advantage of the full set of skills on offer in both industry and Dstl it would not have been possible to achieve such a ground-breaking milestone.

DASA’s Hannah Platts ­received a CGS award for helping the British Army find and exploit innovation. Hannah has built strong links across the Army, including at the highest levels, to raise the profile of DASA.

Hannah said: "It was such a wonderful surprise to hear that I had been awarded a CGS Commendation and I am delighted that my work for DASA to help the Army find, accelerate and exploit the best solutions in the market has been recognised in this way."