Dstl awarded £3.5m for smarter missile systems

Posted on 6 July, 2021 by Advance 

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


F-35 graphic of Spear 3 Missile.
Crown Copyright Dstl

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.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin said: "Drawing on the vital expertise of our Dstl scientists, innovative new missile systems will enhance our current capabilities as Defence adapts to meet future threats.

"With an investment into research and development, this project highlights the central role science and technology plays in informing how our assets operate."

Announced by the Prime Minister last November, Defence has received an uplift in funding of £24-billion over the next four years and, aided by commitments outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the MOD will invest £6.6-billion into Research & Development, enabling the Armed Forces to benefit from science and innovation.

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.

Dstl Scientist Charlie said: "Currently missiles can communicate with the launch platform but not each other.

"The aim of this programme is to investigate how inter-missile communication and cooperative behaviours can be technically achieved to solve UK military challenges."

Work began on the programme in April this year and is expected to last just over 2 years. The current stage of the programme sees Dstl scientists assessing different military tactics and scenarios in close collaboration with industry partner MBDA.

A demonstration will take place throughout the project, and if successful, UK platforms could be exploiting the benefits of a smarter integrated network of missiles within five years.

Dstl has just announced its biggest recruitment campaign in recent years and is celebrating its 20th anniversary of service.