Roger Stokes’ lifelong dedication to the development of military aircraft navigation systems over a career that has spanned more than 40 years has been rewarded with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year's Honours List.
Roger joined the then Royal Aircraft Establishment (now QinetiQ) in Farnborough, the day after his 22nd birthday in 1966, having just completed a BSc in Mathematics at Exeter University. Since then Roger has played a key role in developing navigation systems used on almost every UK military aircraft in service today. Much of his work has been on the Harrier aircraft, having worked on the early GR3 variant right through to the latest GR9s that came into service earlier in 2007. He has also been involved in significant programmes for Nimrod, Hercules Sea Harrier, Tornado, Jaguar, Typhoon and the JSF, plus a variety of helicopters including Merlin and Chinook and even sea and land systems.
With aircraft in his blood, Roger has tirelessly worked to maximise the safety and effectiveness of systems to benefit aircrew and says he still has more challenges ahead. In the early days he worked on inertial and Doppler navigation systems that incorporated Kalman filtering but in recent years more emphasis has been placed on developing systems using the satellite based Global Positioning System (GPS). Terrain reference and terrain following navigation systems have also been an important development in recent years as these enable both fixed wing and rotary aircraft to operate far more safely.
Commenting on the award, Roger Stokes said: “Being nominated for the OBE came as a complete surprise to me. I’ve never sought the limelight and most of the work I’ve been involved in has been classified so I never imagined that someone in my position would ever receive such an award.”
Graham Love, Group Chief Executive Officer at QinetiQ added: “Roger, like so many of the people at QinetiQ, is dedicated to ensuring our armed forces have the best possible technology at their disposal. We are delighted that his contribution and lifelong efforts in developing navigation systems have been recognised in this way. A loyal employee, Roger, like so many others, has quietly played a part and helped transform QinetiQ from a collection of defence research laboratories into a successful and globally recognised company.”