Companies from across the region win share of £2.3m tech funding

DASA funding Electro-Optic & Infrared sensors
Five companies across the region are among just 12 nationally which have secured contracts worth a total of £2.3 million from the government’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) to develop improved Electro-Optics and Infrared sensor capability

Companies from across the region which have won funding include Malvern-based security and defence company QinetiQ, which has secured funding for two projects, Gloucester-based Spectra Medical, Oxford-based spinout Living Optics, Iceni Labs of Southam, near Warwick, and Frazer-Nash Consultancy, which has an office at Gloucester Business Park.

Electro-Optic and Infrared (EOIR) sensors are a key military capability used for surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, threat warning, target detection and more.

The Advanced Vision 2020 and Beyond competition, run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), sought innovation and novel approaches from industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises and academia.

Andy Cole, Dstl project manager, said: “The ever evolving nature of military operations means that we wish to invest in novel and resilient technologies that can function in contested and congested environments, that will extend the range, lower the cost and size, and expand the range of targets that can be addressed by EOIR sensors.”

DASA associate delivery manager Katy Violet added: “DASA finds and funds the best innovative ideas and solutions from the brightest minds in science, technology, academia, and research to give our Armed Forces and security services advantage over our adversaries, while supporting brilliant UK companies from start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses, academia right through to major employers.

Potential use cases of the innovative approaches being developed include:

  • Imaging in difficult environments such as through clouds or smoke, low or no light, and through foliage or camouflage
  • Detecting and identifying small targets such as drones, snipers, people, weapons, and vehicles
  • Identifying objects more than 20km away and classify friendly or adversary vehicles

Additionally, EOIR sensors offer a complementary approach to radio frequency sensors, being able to detect objects in environments where radar is challenged or to operate against objects that have a naturally lower radar signature so are harder to identify.