Working together with our front-line colleagues to develop UAS technology that gives the UK Armed Forces the edge

Our Future Capability Group (FCG) has placed a contract to develop a novel, auto-tracking, variable zoom lens Free Space Optical Comms (FSOC) system for uncrewed aerial systems to better protect this transformational warfare capability against jamming and targeting.

The contract, placed with DCE of Leicestershire and their sub-contractors, Laser Optical Engineering Ltd on behalf of Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO),  will develop a prototype system to deliver an extended range, targeting 5km+, and unlike Radio Frequency (RF) capabilities, will have no detectable signature, be resistant to jamming, and offer improved bandwidth.

FSOC potentially removes a known vulnerability of UAS, providing increased bandwidth and reduced latency, allowing quicker transmission of richer data for better situational awareness – an essential enabling technology as we transition from classical to quantum information.

James Morris, Maritime Head of FCG, said: 

“The value of our commercial framework approach talks for itself. FCG are proving how rapidly DE&S can support the customer in carrying out competitive activities if we are prepared to think differently. This is just one of a large number of tasks that have been put through the framework in the last three months and we will continue to utilise this approach to provide rapid routes to market at a speed of relevance that the customer community deserve.”

Christopher Hellier, OCTO Chief of staff, said:

This exciting project is all about navigating the path towards a capability impervious to Electronic Warfare jamming, targeting, or disruption techniques. The DCE response to this challenge makes considerations for weight, power and packaging, which if successful will have  application across Defence.’’ 

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