QinetiQ launches UK 'centre of excellence'

Posted on 09 Dec 2017 and read 570 times
QinetiQ launches UK 'centre of excellence'QinetiQ has opened a new ‘centre of excellence’ for the development and testing of advanced laser technology at its headquarters in Farnborough.

The new facility — called Dragonworks — will serve as a test bed for all technologies associated with high-energy lasers for military or commercial applications.

It includes a purpose-built ‘clean room’ to enable work with sensitive optical equipment to be conducted away from contaminants, plus the UK’s only Reflective Hazard Assessment Tool (RHAT), designed to examine how laser light is reflected from different surfaces.

Further additions to the new building over the coming months will create an environment in which customers can conduct full-scale testing of high-energy lasers.

QinetiQ CEO Steve Wadey said: “Dragonworks introduces a brand new sovereign capability, which will significantly enhance the UK’s ability to operate and characterise high-energy lasers.

It will help our customers to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with this disruptive technology, informing their critical strategic and tactical decisions.

“We are investing in this asset as part of our strategy to modernise the UK’s test and evaluation services, which will ensure that our customers can keep pace with rapid technological advances and maintain their competitive edge.”

The first project to be undertaken at Dragonworks will be the assembly and testing of the laser directed energy weapon (LDEW), which is currently in development by the UK’s Dragonfire consortium.

Components will arrive in early 2018, when QinetiQ will begin building the weapon’s laser source.

After a period of evaluation and adjustment, the laser source will be integrated with Leonardo’s beam director and tested at full power in the summer, before being transported to MoD Shoeburyness for long-range outdoor trials later in the year.

Data collected using the RHAT will ensure that the reflectivity of targets is fully understood.

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