News story

Evaluation of drones for defence: apply for innovation funding

Organisations can apply for a share of £3 million to show and evaluate the benefit of using swarms of unmanned air systems for defence.

Organisations can apply for a share of £3 million to show and evaluate the benefit of using swarms of unmanned air systems for defence.

The Ministry of Defence is to invest up to £3 million in this ‘Many drones make light work’ competition. The aim is to find technology solutions that show and evaluate the benefits of using drones for defence.

The challenge is to operate swarms of more than 20 unmanned air systems (UAS), also known as drones. A single operator should be able to coordinate these drones to fly closely coupled. They must be usable for military purposes in a contested environment. They must be also usable across the electro-magnetic spectrum. This means ranging from visible frequencies through to low frequency radio waves.

The competition challenges are:

  • open, modular UAS
  • mission management of UAS swarms
  • development of technology enablers for UAS swarms

As well as developing technology components, proposals should show integrated system solutions. These should comprise technology components from more than one supplier.

The competition has 2 phases:

Phase 1

Up to £1 million is available. We expect to fund several projects, allocating between £40,000 and £80,000 each. Projects should last up to 6 months.

Phase 2

Up to £2 million is available. This phase is open only to projects funded through phase 1 of the competition.

Competition information

  • This competition is open now
  • The application deadline is Thursday 3 November 2016
  • There will be a briefing for potential applicants at the CDE Innovation Network event on Thursday 22 September 2016
Published 5 September 2016