Defence consortium announced
Press release issued: 16 December 2003
Critical aspects of the UK's defences are to be strengthened through a six-year research partnership led by General Dynamics UK and involving several leading companies and universities, including the University of Bristol.
Critical aspects of the UK's defences are to be strengthened through a six-year research partnership led by General Dynamics UK and involving several leading companies and universities, including the University of Bristol. The Ministry of Defence is on the partnership board and is contributing about half the cost. The first three years' programme, costing some £27 million, is already under way.
The focus of the research will be data fusion - the process of combining information from disparate sources into a coherent whole. One example would be assimilating data from multiple airborne sensors to track toxic clouds in urban environments. Another would be achieving the co-ordinated visual display of information gleaned from a variety of instruments and systems.
Such advances will have practical applications in numerous military contexts, but could also have important implications for medical diagnosis.
The partnership constitutes the first of the MoD Defence Technology Centres (DTCs), which are new collaborations between Government, industry and academia.
Lord Bach, Minister of Defence Procurement, said: "It is especially appropriate that the first DTC covers Data and Information Fusion.
"Tackling the security challenges of the twenty-first century demands the provision of timely information through a more integrated network approach to command and control. This initiative will help ensure that the MoD and our industrial and academic partners are well placed to help deliver this critical capability."
The contract has been awarded to General Dynamics UK. Other members of the consortium are BT, QinetiQ, Imperial College and the universities of Bristol, Cardiff, Cambridge, Southampton, de Montford, Surrey and Cranfield. Together they represent a world-class collaboration capable of making substantial improvements to the country's defence capability.
As well as electrical and electronic engineers and mathematicians, the collaboration will involve experimental psychologists and many other experts. Professor Dave Bull, Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Bristol University and one of the scientific leaders of the project, said: "We have a tremendous opportunity to work together across disciplines and geographical boundaries to deliver innovative solutions to highly complex problems."
The other project principals at Bristol University are Professor Andy Nix of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Professor Guy Nason of Mathematics and Dr Iain Gilchrist of Experimental Psychology.