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Meet Tony: Group Leader – Mission Solutions

Tony tells us what it's like to work as a Group Leader – Mission Solutions; part of the Cyber, Analysis and Mission Solutions (CAMS) Discipline.

Meet Tony

How long have you worked in your current role at QinetiQ?
I have worked at QinetiQ for just over 10-years and have been the Mission Solutions Group Lead for 4-years. I joined following a 27-year career with the Royal Air Force and for the majority of that time I was the end user of quite a few systems that had either been developed, augmented, or tested and evaluated by QinetiQ personnel. The main purpose of my current role is to develop capability in mission solutions; essentially, my teams are at the forefront of developing models, tools and processes that enhance the operational effectiveness of current platforms, including front-line combat platforms. They each play a significant part in the development of the sensor-to-effect chain, which includes the gathering, processing, assimilation, and fusion of data, and the exploitation of the resultant information. This includes the production of models for use in product development, test and evaluation, and simulation.

Where do you work?
I am based at our Lincoln Office, but I have teams spread across the country at Malvern, Farnborough, Portsdown Technology Park (Portsmouth), and embedded at RAF Coningsby, as well as Lincoln. I frequently travel between these sites to meet with my teams and they each have unique attractions that make them all exceptional places to work. The teams at Lincoln are mainly Mission Systems focussed, and Lincoln has the added advantage of being on the doorstep of major customers at RAF Waddington, RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham. The Malvern teams are largely focussed in the Air domain and spearhead the Radar and Electronic Warfare capability, as well as providing expert depth in Mission Systems. The teams at Portsdown Technology Park provide similar expertise in Radar and Electronic Warfare and Mission Systems to the Maritime domain, but also delve into Maritime and Land Autonomy and Spatial Modelling. The teams at Farnborough provide expertise in all aspects of Synthetic Environments and Simulation and Air Autonomy. The teams based at RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham are embedded with the military and provide direct support for the enhancement of the operational effectiveness or the UK’s primary combat aircraft. Between all of the teams, we provide an end-to-end Mission Solutions service.

What do you like most about your role?
I like the challenge of building capability to meet future requirements, whilst also providing people who can deliver against today’s projects and programmes. The nature of technology advancement, especially in the digital arena, dictates that we need to be postured to meet the exciting emerging challenges. In my Group, this means that we need to rapidly develop skills in operational AI and continue to develop our expertise in machine learning and neural networking for operational advantage. Additionally, the production of digital models for use in the design, development, and test and evaluation of future platforms and systems will be crucial and building on our current capability will be essential as we strive to achieve our aim of being a world-leader in the field. We are currently building a team of highly skilled mathematicians and scientists (mainly physicists) to help us develop this capability area. These skills will also be essential in building our Autonomy capability as we endeavour to be able to provide the customers with their requirements for true autonomy in operational settings and the requirement to develop novel simulation techniques that will enable us to provide cutting-edge mission rehearsal services and products.

What has working within this role at QinetiQ taught you?
Talent comes in all shapes and sizes and the most important qualities in our people are creativity, enthusiasm, vision, and a thirst for developing knowledge and skills. We achieve excellence by having a diverse workforce with varying degrees of expertise and experience, and by thinking beyond purely academic achievements. The ability to work as part of a team and feel empowered to offer suggestions is critical to our success. Novel approaches generally offer outstanding solutions to complex problems.

What have you achieved in your role so far?
I feel that I have only just scratched the surface in establishing technical excellence in Mission Solutions; nevertheless, we have been able to radically change our approach to providing new and exciting solutions rather than just rely on legacy techniques. In the last four-years, I have increased the size of the Group by 75% and have increased the available talent pool by a factor above that. The plan is to increase our capability group even further so that we can be confident in providing wide-ranging support and services, especially across the fields of AI, digital modelling and intelligent autonomy.

Why would you recommend a career at QinetiQ?
Because I am now 10-years into my 2-year plan! QinetiQ has a reputation for putting its people first and we offer an unparalleled work-life balance focussed on meeting the individual needs while remain highly productive. We offer development to suit a person’s aspirations and provide the paths and opportunities for them to meet those aspirations. Where other companies offer jobs, we offer careers and will invest heavily to retain our talent. We are currently offering multiple exciting opportunities in Mission Solutions, Radar and Electronic Warfare, Autonomy, and Synthetic Environments and Simulation.