The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected QinetiQ to support its intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) concepts and solutions (ICS) programme.

QinetiQ will lead the ICS Engine Room, which is currently monitored by the MoD’s staff at its Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), in close coordination with industry and academia partners, as part of the £6.4m contract.

Jeremy Ward, QinetiQ C4ISR Division MD, said: "The team will provide the MOD with access to world leading innovation in C4ISTAR technology and will explore novel ISTAR technologies and processes, which will really make a difference to front line troops in the future."

Dr Steven Meers, Dstl ICS technical lead, said the project will help enhance the ministry’s ISTAR capability by merging together the best information technologies from the civil sector with some of the defence specific capabilities.

"A technically excellent group of scientists and engineers drawn from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), prime contractors, world-class universities and Dstl, working together in a collaborative environment, is the best way to deliver this complex, fast paced, challenging programme and provide real impact for MOD," Meers added.

The ICS Engine Room is an industry-led collaborative environment offering a cooperative interface for the development of innovative solutions from a wide supply base, including MoD, industry and academia to meet most difficult ISTAR challenges across the military.

The four-year ICS programme aims at demonstration of cost-efficient future solutions that will be capable of significantly improving the information and intelligence available to the UK Armed Forces, eventually providing assistance in situational awareness, threat assessment and decision making in the battlefield.