QinetiQ teams to support UK Carrier Strike Group get ready for the high seas


£5million contract between QinetiQ and the Royal Air Force links together a number of UK military ranges – enabling the UK’s strike carriers to conduct training on a larger, more complex scale.

QinetiQ teams to support UK Carrier Strike Group get ready for the high seas

QinetiQ signed a £5M contract with the RAF, to help create key support infrastructure for UK Carrier Strike Group generation. Experts from QinetiQ and Inzpire will develop the capability to accurately track, control and debrief the upcoming major Carrier generation exercises throughout 2020-21. The contract started in February this year, and will run through until the certification exercise in April 2021.

QinetiQ, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force recently worked together to identify areas for improvement in need and ensure UK readiness to generate the Carrier Strike Group for deployment in May 2021. This process highlighted a number of training shortfalls. To solve them, QinetiQ will put in infrastructure that allows F35s and their pilots from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and US Marine Corps to effectively train together, with the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

This infrastructure development will combine traditional MoD and QinetiQ test and evaluation (T&E) spaces in the Hebrides and Aberporth, with the RAF’s training airspace on the UK’s East coast - so that the whole of the UK becomes an integrated capability. Resulting data from these F35 tests will allow comprehensive de-briefs for everyone, from individual pilots and ships to the operations command and planning teams.

Working jointly with Inzpire, QinetiQ will support these training exercises with scenario development, including integration and control of a wide range of electronic warfare threat simulators, both on- and off-range. QinetiQ and Inzpire will work closely together while building key infrastructure for a high-profile defence programme, testing the F35 and its’ pilots. During these tests, threats will include an array of QinetiQ-provided resources, for example the Banshee aerial target, Rattler supersonic missile emulator and Hammerhead surface target. 

Cdr Richard Harris, Head of Weapon Engineering department in HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH said: “This is about making sure we can test our ability to conduct strike missions from the carriers against the most demanding of adversaries.”

Under the LTPA, QinetiQ has a track record for delivering safe, instrumented spaces for training, test and evaluation (T, T&E) events, making us the natural choice for an expanding capability such as Carrier Strike. The exercise could deliver instrumentation on both LTPA Ranges and wider UK training areas, providing solid ground truth data for the training and evaluation community. The LTPA contract itself enabled (and significantly simplified) tasking, supporting and developing two key training events in the run-up to the Carrier’s first deployment.

Steve Fitz-Gerald, Managing Director, Maritime & Land commented “QinetiQ is very proud to have been intimately involved with the Carrier Strike programme from the earliest stage, through the development of Initial Operating Capability and will continue to support the programme throughout its life.  For example, QinetiQ has provided advice on the design of the carrier, developed new methods for operating the F35B Lightning II aircraft and provided the facilities to enable the task group to be generated.  This incredible capability represents the very best of UK science and technology, and is the epitome of Mission Led Innovation.”

This key MoD contract will certainly progress the UK military’s force generation capabilities, and shows how QinetiQ can take traditional T&E skills into capability and generation delivery – something that can only be strengthened alongside Inzpire, with their solid experience in RAF training delivery.