Advanced sensing technologies will be developed as part of a new collaboration between BAE Systems and the University of Birmingham.

The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form an Advanced Sensing Technologies Consortium, drawing on leading experts from industry, academia and Government.

“This forms part of the Government-funded National Quantum Technologies programme to drive four UK-based hubs which includes a Sensors and Timing hub led by the University of Birmingham.”

Bringing together British expertise, the consortium will accelerate the development and application of advanced sensing technology, as well as develop disruptive technologies that will benefit UK industry. These include:

  • New and novel navigation systems that do not rely on GPS: These technologies could offer breakthrough capability for resilient navigation in the shipping or defence industries where vehicles are operating in areas where GPS cannot be accessed.
  • Cognitive workload measurement: Developing sensing technologies that can measure mental workload. Such sensors could bring benefits to the medical industry when diagnosing conditions as well as industries with critical human operators e.g. fighter pilots.
  • Enhanced situational awareness sensors: These could deliver breakthrough capabilities for urban flight or autonomous vehicles.
  • Detection of difficult targets: Novel sensors that have the ability to detect buried infrastructure could see the technologies being exploited for use in hydrocarbon exploration, mining, construction, transportation and critical national infrastructure.

Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Technologist for BAE Systems Air Sector, said:

“As experts in the defence, aerospace and security sector, we know sophisticated sensing technology is absolutely critical in our ambitions to develop intelligent systems that can survive in a complex and congested battlespace environment. Information provides a critical advantage and comes in many forms that sensors can deliver, from navigational aids to situational awareness.

This initiative is aimed at accelerating the pace of exploitation of these developing capabilities, enabling us to take technology from a lab environment and apply it quickly in real-world scenarios.  For example, our test pilots are trialing novel technologies to measure cognitive workload both on the ground and in the air, meaning we can test how intuitive and effective it really is and ensure any learning is fed back into our research and development at an early stage.”

Professor Kai Bongs, Principle Investigator at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, and Director of Innovation within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said:

“It has the potential to create enormous economic value and change the way we live. Novel sensor capabilities and digital twinning are enabling disruptive innovation in a faster and cheaper way, creating unprecedented benefit to society and the economy. We now need to accelerate the market pull by demonstrating how these new sensors can be integrated into high-value systems, change operations and our lifestyles.”

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Levi Goldsteinberg

I see Taranis but I was sure that programme was dead and buried. Any news?


Its just a representation of a Loyal Wingman, while the ones in the distance are representative of conventional long endurance drones.

Bloke down the pub

To get the full benefit of a system being unmanned like Taranis, the unit cost needs to be very much lower. Boeing Australia’s Loyal wingman project would appear to have much more promise.



George Royce

I think the Taranis can carry x2 stores, whereas BLW cannot. So Taranis should still be funded and in my view, bought to fill out a squadron. We could have a high-subsonic long-range tank-hunter in the Taranis. But again, we need funding and political willpower to meet coincidingly.


“cognitive overload” … I worry about the overload of cognitive overloading. … I dont decry the intent and effort of these university theorists, but should we expect any real world concrete results ? …. Pure science has its place, its point is that serendipity will will emerge sometimes, but I dont think we should rely on it.

Fen Tiger

Cognitive Overload =s’ Maxed Out’


Brits needs more aircraft to carry bombs and more cruise missiles. Can’t always depend on the Americans to haul the big stuff especially since creepy old dementia Joe will be in charge.


You mean instead of creepy old dementia Donald, who could always be relied upon….. for a brainless insult that is! Thank God the American people have had the intelligence to put the skids under the monster….may he never return!


Much rather Biden than the incompetent idiot Trump was

David Flandry

At least Trump would know which country to attack.

John Clark

Good grief Dan, You seriously can’t be insulting Joe Biden in comparison to Trump! He be getting on, but he’s 1000% better than Trump, he’s insulted the world respected office of the President like none of his predecessors over the last four years and even refuses to acknowledge he’s been decisively defeated! Looses consent is the very bedrock of democracy and he’s even managed to insult that! The man has hugely damaged Americas respected position in the world and divided his own country, deliberately setting citizen against citizen… He is an embarrassing disgrace and thank god the American people have… Read more »


Trump is a fascist clown, pull your head out of you **** dan.


It’s Biden the Socialist so he is the one who can be a Fascist.
Maybe you should educate yourself about Fascism.
Btw it is Biden coalition that want to forbid a lot of stuff. From air travel, to physical money, to free speech, to ICE, to meat. etc…

John Hampson

Saying BAE and the Uni of Birmingham are develop revolutionary tech is about as valid as saying they are going to develop a Death Star. Come back when fantasy becomes reality.

Expat alien

‘New and novel navigation systems’. Why was LORAN-E binned by the Cameron Government? Just as accurate as GPS or are we re-inventing the wheel?


As accurate as GPS?

Expat alien

Apparently the Rotterdam port authorities accepted it as an alternative to GNSS (aka GPS) for movements within the port


There is the posibility of two systems that could replace GPS, TERCOM and CELNAV. TERCOM is used by cruise missiles and CELNAV is an automated astro nav system. Combine both and GPS would not be required. So the sytems are available and in use in diffrent forms, they cannot be spoofed and cannot be interfered with. Unless you can move a star or a fixed point on the ground.


I know Storm Shadow uses a blend of GPS and terrain referencing. i.e. TERCOM. Aircraft like the US and SR71 used a astronavigation system. The issue for something a cruise missile is the astronavigation would be weather dependent. unless the missile started off above 40,000ft. Inertial measurement systems (IMUs) have come on a long way since they dropped mechanical gyros and mechanical accelerometers, but they still suffer from drift, which is why they also have a blended GPS input. Perhaps we will see something of a renaissance for a Loran type of radio based navigation, but have it blended with… Read more »