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

Rolls-Royce obtains final approval for acquisition of ITP

Rolls-Royce has obtained the approval of all the relevant authorities for the acquisition of the outstanding 53.1% shareholding in Industria de Turbo Propulsores SA (ITP) owned by SENER Grupo de Ingeniería SA (SENER).

Heathrow's 50th electric car part of 'Go Electric' pledge

Heathrow has reached a key milestone in its pledge to 'Go Electric' with the delivery of the 50th electric vehicle to the airport's fleet, as a key step in Heathrow's promise to make all of its cars and small vans electric or plug-in hybrid by

Gatwick gets app, app and away

Gatwick's has launched its new free app, which offers passengers personalised flight alerts, real-time queue updates for check-in and security, intuitive navigation using beacon technology.

CAE appoints Andrew Naismith as MD of CAE UK

CAE today announced it has appointed Andrew Naismith as Managing Director of CAE UK plc.

ADS welcomes progress to second phase of Brexit negotiations

This morning's announcement that sufficient progress has been made for the next phase of Brexit negotiations to start will be welcomed by industry.

Loganair partnership with easyJet launches

Scotland's Airline, Loganair has officially commenced its partnership with international carrier easyJet, as part of its new Worldwide service - which went live today.

Aviation Africa SK18418
See us at
FIL18 BT111017220718S&P BT281117080318SMI NCWBT3110020218Aviation Africa BT18418SMI FAVSABT2411120418