in Defence

QinetiQ launches UK laser 'centre of excellence'

Posted 24 November 2017 · Add Comment

QinetiQ has opened a new 'centre of excellence' for the development and testing of advanced laser technology at its headquarters in Farnborough, UK.



The new facility, named Dragonworks, will serve as a test bed for all technologies associated with high-energy lasers for military or commercial applications. It includes a clean-room to enable work with sensitive optical equipment to be conducted away from contaminants, and the UK’s only Reflective Hazard Assessment Tool (RHAT), designed to examine how laser energy is reflected from different surfaces. Further additions to the building over the coming months will create an environment in which customers can conduct full-scale testing of high-energy lasers.

Steve Wadey, QinetiQ CEO, said: “Dragonworks introduces a brand new sovereign capability, which will significantly enhance the UK’s ability to operate and characterise high energy lasers. It will help our customers to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with this disruptive technology, informing their critical strategic and tactical decisions. We are investing in this asset as part of our strategy to modernise the UK’s test and evaluation services, which will ensure our customers can keep pace with rapid technological advances and maintain their competitive edge.” 

The first project to be undertaken at Dragonworks will be the assembly and testing of the laser directed energy weapon (LDEW) currently in development by the UK’s Dragonfire consortium, led by MBDA. Components will arrive in early 2018, when QinetiQ will begin building the weapon’s laser source in the purpose-built clean room. Over the following months, the laser source will undergo a process of evaluation and adjustment before being integrated with Leonardo’s beam director. The project will culminate in operation at full-power under test conditions inside the facility in summer 2018, before it is transported to MOD Shoeburyness for long-range outdoor trials later in the year. Data collected using the RHAT will inform the safety case for these and future trials, ensuring the reflectivity of targets is fully understood and any risk mitigated accordingly.

Peter Cooper, the Project Technical Authority in Dstl, which manages the Dragonfire contract on behalf of the UK MoD, said: “This facility is a key step in delivering the Dragonfire project and reflects the continuing UK MoD investment, supported and enabled by industry funding, amounting to tens of millions of pounds in UK industrial skills and capabilities and underpinning UK prosperity.”

Dragonworks and associated projects currently support 27 full-time jobs at QinetiQ, with additional expertise provided by over 50 of the company’s scientists and engineers. The Dragonfire programme contributes millions of pounds to the UK supply chain, which includes a number of innovative small and medium enterprises.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

AAD2018: Air BP tech services to support African aviation growth

International aviation fuel products and services supplier, Air BP, returns to Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD2018) at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, South Africa, this week, using the event to share how its technical

Qatari Typhoon and Hawk export deal takes off

Qatar’s deal to buy 24 Typhoon jets and nine Hawks is now officially effective after BAE Systems received its first payment yesterday.

Net successfully snares space debris

The RemoveDEBRIS satellite has successfully used its on-board net technology in orbit, marking the first demonstration in human history of active debris removal (ADR) technology.

Steve Griffiths appointed Stansted Airport COO

Steve Griffiths, most recently Chief Operating Officer for the London Underground at Transport for London and previously Chief Operating Officer for Virgin Atlantic Airways, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) of

JFD and US Navy unveil Shadow Nav

JFD has partnered with the United States (US) Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Centre – Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) in the development of an advanced combat diver navigation module, Shadow Nav, bringing a hands-free underwater

ICAO calls for applications to YAPP

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is calling for applications to the 2019 Young Aviation Professionals Programme (YAPP).

ODU SK191217191218
See us at
Aviation Africa 2019AdvancedEngin BT1406011118SMI GMSCBT3005081118DVD18BT3105200918SMIFAVSBT151118