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Generating and assuring the capability of UK combat aircraft


Ian Brown, Group Head Investor Relations

At any moment in time, QinetiQ is working on multiple generations of critical defence platforms.

QinetiQ’s work is vital at every stage of the lifecycle of defence and security technologies. From first concept and design, to production and in-service operation, our value comes from creating and assuring customers’ critical capabilities by combining research and development, test and evaluation, and training and rehearsal. So not only do we develop new approaches and create new technologies, we combine them into complex defence and security capabilities, test them to prove they will work, and make sure the people who will use them are ready to do so. An example of how this adds value is the essential role we play to continuously ensure the effectiveness of the UK’s combat air fleet.

Feedback from customers allows us to understand better their future needs
Previous generation - Tornado

Over its life QinetiQ has worked to maintain and enhance Tornado’s capabilities, making sure it could evolve to respond to the latest threats. We worked to extend the life of the Tornado prior to its retirement, maximising value for our customer.

Current generation - Typhoon

With Tornado retiring, we supported the RAF to transfer and enhance weapons capabilities across to Typhoon. By combining our understanding of these systems with our unique facilities we conducted a series of tests that provided our customer with assurance that these critical capabilities would work.

Next generation - F-35

Our people understand the complexity of the F-35 and are making sure it can integrate effectively with the UK’s other systems. As part of this, we have provided the environment to test the F-35’s weapons systems. This culminated in the first live-firing of the F-35’s weapons on UK soil at Aberporth, an MOD facility operated by QinetiQ.

Generation after next - Tempest

The Future Combat Air System, a stealth fighter that will replace current aircraft in 15-20 years, is in development and we are playing an essential role. Our knowledge and expertise supports our customer to understand and define the requirements for this cutting edge future aircraft so it is fit for purpose.

Strategy In Action

Our investment into the LTPA is supporting our ability to provide critical research and experimentation, test and evaluation and training and rehearsal to our customers. The investment ensures that our capabilities remain relevant for current and future generations of technologies..


The credibility and experience we have developed in the UK through this work directly supports our ability to grow internationally.


The investment into the LTPA will accelerate our ways of working and ensure we are at the leading edge of technology. This will create more valuable data for our customers, and provide the vital analysis needed to make critical decisions.

Our business model in action
Capability integration
  • Our people’s technical expertise is essential to integrate various systems to create real capabilities for our customers
  • Our independence from the supply chain positions us as a trusted partner to our customers and other defence companies
Threat representation
  • The threats these aircraft must be effective against continually change
  • We put aircraft through their paces by effectively representing the latest and most advanced threats
Operational readiness
  • Our knowledge of the systems and the threat environment means we can create realistic training
  • Our range of facilities enables realistic training and rehearsal to provide assurance to our customers that these capabilities are fit to fight