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UK awards contract for weapons sector research framework

Ajax assembly line
Illustration: Royal Army photo of the Ajax assembly line

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has signed a 5 year framework contract which is budgeted to be worth £300m over that period with QinetiQ, and their key partners MBDA and Thales, to lead the weapons sector research framework (WSRF).

The framework will enable Dstl, and over 70 industry and academic suppliers to develop and exploit technology for the benefit of UK armed forces. In particular, the WSRF will cover the overall scope of the future kinetic effects and weapons (FKEW) program comprising complex, conventional and novel weapons technologies.

The WSRF replaces the existing weapons science and technology centre (WSTC) contract and offers a broader scope of research activities including directed energy weapons.

The purpose of the WSRF is to accelerate development of emerging and disruptive weapons technologies through an enterprise approach between the UK MOD and industry encompassing planning, tasking and delivery of Weapons science and technology research. This approach provides access to a wide range of suppliers, which can be continually refreshed, thus improving the UK MOD’s knowledge base and access to innovative, disruptive solutions, techniques and researchers. Through this, the WSRF will support the UK MOD strategic objectives, with direct exploitation through the UK complex weapons portfolio, MOD’s novel weapons program and front line commands (FLCs).

“We reduce risk to our forces by delivering technology with increased effectiveness and range. We have seen a growing demand from customers for our advice, assurance and research which create new game changing capabilities for defense,” Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive Dstl said.

“The enhanced scope of the WSRF will allow the generation of new capability, getting battle winning equipment and technology into the hands of the warfighter at pace, and enable the UK to counter the evolving threats to our sovereignty and prosperity,” Steve Fitz-Gerald, group managing director for maritime and land at QinetiQ added.