UK military aircraft testing infrastructure to receive £190m upgrade


The UK’s Ministry of Defence is to modernize the test and evaluation equipment and facilities it uses to carry out research and development for its military aircraft as part of a £1.3 billion (US$1.5 billion) contract with QinetiQ.

The contract will see QinetiQ upgrade 16 different sites in the UK and provide experimentation, test, evaluation and training support to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over a 25-year period.

QinetiQ and the MOD will invest £190 million (US$248 million) in the infrastructure, equipment, and working practices across the 16 MoD-owned sites.

This Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) covers facilities and equipment that will be used for the further development of future combat aircraft, as well as the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

Projects to be provided for include: the development of noise and electromagnetic signature measurement to enhance the stealth performance of ships, submarines and aircraft; facilities and equipment for the ground-based evaluation of electronic warfare, communication and advanced weapon systems, and a new digital test and evaluation to accelerate the processing of data and enable simultaneous testing across multiple locations.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “Ensuring our cutting-edge equipment is tried and tested before it is sent to the frontline is crucial to our military’s capability.

“This £1.3bn investment will not only guarantee our Armed Forces’ have the reliable, state-of-the-art weaponry they need, but will also support jobs across the nation.”

Simon Bollom, CEO of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the MOD’s procurement agency, said, “This latest contract under the LTPA demonstrates how we are continuing to support our key defence programmes by investing in essential test and evaluation services.

“This is another example of how DE&S is working collaboratively with industry and the Front Line Commands to ensure our Armed Forces have the best value equipment and training to meet the operational demand.”

Steve Wadey, CEO of QinetiQ, said, “We are introducing innovative ways of working and making selective investments to reinforce the UK’s position as a world-leader in the generation and assurance of military capability.

This will enable us to support the MOD’s future programmes and win more work from both UK and international customers.”

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About Author


Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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