UK Government

Ministry Of Defence: The Appliance of Science to Benefit Frontline Troops

Press Release   •   Feb 12, 2010 10:35 GMT

Frontline troops are set to benefit from new ideas which have been supported by MOD research grants.

A range of new technologies was today showcased at the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), Harwell, Oxfordshire, by UK companies, that have recently been awarded research funding. These included:

• Intelligent Textiles – based in Staines, Middlesex – £49,500 to investigate the use of conductive textiles to replace conventional wiring looms that could power weapons, radios or charge batteries.
• Williams F1 Hybrid Power Ltd – based in Grove, Oxfordshire – awarded £48,000 to develop a electromechanical flywheel to increase the power efficiency of diesel generators that power Forward Operating Bases.
• Athene Works – based in Leeds – awarded £44,000 to research a buoyancy propulsion system for a long endurance unmanned air system. The ‘Little Owl’ technology could stay airborne for up to three months to provide persistent surveillance.
• Crib Gogh – from Stoke-on-Trent –  awarded £52,000 to develop a portable and versatile solar cell to increase power to Forward Operating Bases.
• Waterfall Solutions – from Guildford, Surrey – have been awarded a total of £70,000 for three research projects to develop 3D persistent surveillance systems.
• 2D3 Ltd – based in Oxford – awarded £35,000 to develop a turret-based camera overwatch system to generate full image streams to give wide area surveillance of a location.
• S&C Thermofluids – based in Bath – awarded £143,000 to research proposals to explore the efficiencies of turbofans (as used on civilian airliners) for military jets, while maintaining high performance.
• Southampton University – awarded £100,000 to develop an engine and generator that captures exhaust gases from diesel engines and uses their heat to generate further power.
• Frazer-Nash Consultancy – from Dorking – awarded a total of £81,300 to develop a wheelchair powerwheel that would show quantitative feedback to demonstrate the recovery progress in patients and to research a cycling device to help lower leg amputees use cycling machines to maintain their fitness.

Minister for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform, Lord Drayson, said:

“These companies are developing cutting-edge technology which could benefit our troops in the future. Harnessing science and innovation that could have a defence use will ensure UK forces will have the battle-winning edge in current and future conflicts..

“The Centre for Defence Enterprise is a bridge for small and medium companies, academics and others to contact the Ministry of Defence with their innovation ideas. We have already awarded £8M worth of contracts through the Centre for Defence Enterprise and the centre has recently received the 1,000th research proposal, which gives an indication of the popularity of working with the CDE.”

The Centre for Defence Enterprise helps potential suppliers who have never worked with the Ministry of Defence access the right people. It regularly holds seminars to outline the Ministry of Defence’s specific research requirements. Proposals are submitted online through

Head of the Centre for Defence Enterprise, Dr Helen Almey, said:

“Over 60% of the contracts funded through the CDE have been awarded to small and medium sized enterprises. It is important for our future capabilities to interact with all potential defence suppliers, no matter how big or small the company. We also receive innovative ideas from academics and talented people. We hope to see that continue as we strive to use technological developments to improve equipment for our frontline forces.”

Notes to Editors:

1. For further information contact the MOD press office on 0207 218 7907 or Sonia Marshall on 07919 625587.
2. Pictures will be available following the event on
3. A seminar schedule for the Centre for Defence Enterprise can be found on
4. The Defence Technology Plan (DTP), launched last year, was the first time that the MOD has gone public with its research needs.
5. The DTP is made up of five Capability Visions, which aim to use innovation to lighten the load on the dismounted soldier, reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, provide research to develop future protected vehicles, develop a novel air concept and provide technology to conduct and defend against cyberwarfare.
6. The plan is regularly reprioritised to reflect where innovation could help frontline operations.


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