Our History

QinetiQ was formed in July 2001, when the Ministry of Defence (MOD) split its Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in two. The smaller portion of DERA, was rebranded Dstl (Defence Science & Technology Laboratory).

The larger part of DERA, including most of the non-nuclear testing and evaluation establishments, was renamed QinetiQ and prepared for privatisation. QinetiQ became a public private partnership in 2002 with the purchase of a stake by US-based private equity company the Carlyle Group.

In 2003, QinetiQ signed a 25 year long term partnering agreement (LTPA) under which we provide UK MOD with innovative and realistic test and evaluation of military and civil platforms, systems, weapons and components on land, at sea and in the air. In February 2006, QinetiQ was successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange and the Carlyle Group sold its stake in the company.

What's in a name?

The name 'QinetiQ' results from extensive analysis of all of our capabilities and strengths. It is derived from the scientific term, kinetic, which means relating to or caused by motion. This in turn comes from the Greek kinetikos based on 'kineo', which means 'to move', with connotations towards energetic, enterprising and dynamic. 'QinetiQ' was seen as particularly distinctive and reflects our spirit of innovation and creativity, but also energy, motion and progress.


An engineer working on TANAP pipeline

OptaSense wins two Queen's awards

Our work on the 1850km TANAP pipeline will be the world's largest fibre distributed sensing project, providing a single monitoring system that integrates leak detection and third party interference prevention.


TANAP pipeline spans across three countries

Zephyr - an unmanned aerial vehicle

Zephyr, a high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, achieves three official world records

Today we have built on our unmanned aerial capabilities with the addition of QinetiQ Target Systems to our global offering.


QinetiQ Target Systems have customers in over 40 countries

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QinetiQ bought Ball, Novare and Aerostructures, which now form part of our Australian business

In 2017 our Australian business won the Strategic Support Partnership Contract for the Australian Government's procurement of maritime patrol aircraft.

The first rocket launching into space from UK soil

Long Term Partnering Agreement signed with the MOD for test and evaluation services

In 2015 the At Sea Demonstration took place at the MOD Hebrides range. There were a number of world firsts including the first rocket launch into space from UK soil.


Enabled the first intercept of a ballistic missile in the UK

Computer screen showing SPO-NX in practice

Millimetre Wave Camera invented

We are working with the US's Transportation Security Administration to develop SPO-NX, a stand-off detection system that locates potential threats concealed under clothing.


Scanning range of up to 15 metres

Pressurised low-speed wind tunnel

Pressurised low-speed wind tunnel opens

Every few seconds a Boeing aircraft takes off and lands that has been tested in our low-speed wind tunnel.


Every three seconds a Boeing aircraft takes off or lands

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A remote controlled robot 'The Wheelbarrow' is designed for use by the British Army bomb disposal teams

Today, we are one of the world's leading suppliers of military robots. Our latest security and first responder robot is capable of lifting over 50kg (110lbs).


lift weight

Britain's first satellite - Prospero

Britain's first satellite 'Prospero' launched

Recently our experiments investigating how astronaut's bodies adapt to microgravity have been delivered to the International Space Station.

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MOD patent granted for manufacturing carbon fibre

Our new material, TitanWeave, absorbs energy to make aircraft structures three times more resistant to impacts from birds or miniature drone strikes.

The free-flight capable active gondola

The centrifuge in Farnborough opens

Today, the Flight Physiological Centre we operate in Sweden has a free-flight-capable active gondola used for high-G training and flight simulation.


The Dynamic Flight Simulator in Sweden has 30ft arm length

The empire test pilot's school class

Empire Test Pilot's School is founded

In 2016 we won a contract to update aircraft and introduce a new syllabus to meet future military and commercial test aircrew training needs.


ETPS students have become astronauts, including Major Tim Peake

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Samuel Cody makes the first UK manned aeroplane flight in Farnborough

In 2016, we delivered a world first, Unmanned Warrior, in partnership with the Royal Navy. It was the largest demonstration of unmanned systems alongside a major multinational naval exercise.




unmanned vehicles