C4ISR Research

We are the largest supplier of C4ISR domain research to Dstl.

Delivering a wide range of projects through different mechanisms:

  • Original research contracted directly with our own domain subject matter experts and technical experts
  • Management of consortia, typically on mid-level TRL programmes which run for 3-5 years
  • Partnerships with industry and academia
  • Education liaison: our Fellows, Visiting Professors and Lecturers engage in regular exchanges with universities and industry to explore and exploit novel ideas

We deliver a wide range of research projects for the MOD and OGDs spanning:

  • Low TRL research in the Defence Technology Centres and Centre for Defence Enterprise programmes
  • Medium TRL applied research into enabling technologies
  • High TRL integrated system of systems experimentation and concept demonstrators deployed in the field

QinetiQ has a depth and breadth of technical expertise underpinned by an unrivalled understanding of the Joint Forces domain. As well as unique facilities, we have capabilities with suitably qualified and experienced personnel (SQEP) to support all of these requirements:

  • Decision support and threat analysis;
  • Human capability;
  • Understanding techniques and options for surveillance;
  • Research and analysis for C4ISR;
  • Increasing situational awareness, target acquisition and lethality;
  • Research to support the development and integration of existing and emerging technologies for future soldier systems;
  • Investigating and developing soldier systems.
Meeting room

Research Management

We have been leading research consortia in the C4ISR domain for many years, including:

  • C4ISTAR Studies provided MOD with appropriate, cost-effective, timely studies and related activities through an enabling contract. Activities included modelling, studies and advice
  • Command Inform and Battlespace Management (CIBM) provided expert technical advice to the CIBM and Logistics CPGs. Extended across all levels of command, in all environments and included joint, national and multinational capability.
  • Enabling Secure Information Infrastructure (ESII) conducted a broad range of research to technically de-risk the widening and deepening of the Global Information Infrastructure, taking full cognisance of management and security implications for such a system of systems
  • Multi Intelligence Techniques (MIT) addressed the Multi-source intelligence fusion capability gap through the provision of advice to MOD.


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Current Research Programmes

We are specialists at Research Management, bringing together “best-in-class” experts both internally across the whole of QinetiQ and externally.

We have an enviable record in the establishment and management of teams to meet MOD’s research requirements. We have acted as prime on four core C4ISR capability research programmes for Dstl:

  • Communications and Cross-Cutting Electronic Surveillance (CCCES) – delivered by the CREST consortium (Collaborative Research in Electronic Surveillance Technology). This programme provides Dstl with ready access to cutting edge research to develop next generation hardware and software based Electronic Surveillance technologies at reduced cost and risk aligned with future UK SIGINT requirements.
  • C4ISR Concepts and Solutions (CCS) – delivered by a joint Government/Industry team – develops and validates credible options for future ISTAR systems at the Enterprise level, supporting capability interventions post 2017.
  • C4ISR Secure Information Infrastructure and Services (CSIIS) – delivered by the consortium Team Sirius. Research forms a major component of this programme, spanning the physical/infrastructure level to the cognitive/social level, taking full account of the Defence Information Reference Model.
  • Defence Support and Logistics (DSL) – delivered by an agile consortium of SMEs. This research programme encompasses all those activities that maintain military capability at pre-planned availability, readiness and sustainability profiles through its whole life and End-to-End.
Research logos


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Training and Simulation

Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) & Emerging Technology Evaluation & Exploitation (CETEE)

QinetiQ is the Prime on the CETEE framework, whose main objective is to deliver rapid assessments of new and emerging technologies in the domains of Simulation, Training and Education.

Its subsidiary purpose is to construct practical demonstrations of training technologies to evaluate the benefit for Defence and Security training requirements.

CETEE is delivered as part of the Dstl Synthetic Environments Tower of Excellence (SE Tower) programme, enabling MOD, industry and academia to work together to build capability through targeted research.

Together with 10 Partners and Associates, supported by Academia and wider SE Tower supply base, CETEE addresses a wide range of tasks on five themes:

Technology Watch

  • Horizon Watch Studies (1 day ea)
  • Quick Look Studies (5 days ea)
  • COTS to Capability Report

Technology Exploitation (TEX)

  • Demonstrations
  • Reports
  • Presentations

Games Research

  • Roadmap presentations

Technology Foresight

  • Reports and workshops
Operation room


Our C2 capability extends from strategic HQs to tactical systems, covering situational awareness, combat ID, and planning.

We have experts in requirements, architectures, software engineering, synthetic modelling and system testing. Our systems knowledge includes design, acquisition, integration, training and incremental development. Our systems expertise is exemplified by the PWAS programme which showed a step change to the in-theatre surveillance capability by increasing the TRL and SRL of equipment and techniques in the areas of novel sensors, automatic multi sensor ISTAR collection, processing and analysis and open architectures.

We have wide ranging expertise in experimentation, exemplified by the CCS programme under which we conducted the major ESAS trial on the Porton Down ranges in 2013. Land experimentation capability also covers vehicle, soldier and base systems, and uses expertise from across QinetiQ including C2, sensors and processing, EMC, weapons, blast and fragment mitigation, armoured vehicle design and human factors.




QinetiQ has unrivalled breadth and depth of expertise in sensor technologies, with an emphasis on signal processing and sensor exploitation in order to ensure sensor hardware can deliver a practical military capability.

We have been world class leaders in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) research for many years, including SAR Image processing and SAR Automatic Target Extraction (ATR) and Recognition.

We are a leader in electro optics, with strengths in target recognition and object recognition as well as significant capability in active LIDAR development.

QinetiQ is world class in SIGINT, with capabilities including:

  • Passive electronic surveillance of communications signals and high precision geolocation;
  • Passive imaging (using transmitters of opportunity) of objects through walls etc. demonstrated at TRL3-4;
  • Passive RF detection, exploitation and location techniques, particularly from airborne platforms (of a range of sizes from manned platforms down to small UAVs);
  • Analysis of RF patterns of activity for detection of targets/emitters of interest;
  • Wideband digital signal processing techniques, digital filtering, signal analysis;
  • Antenna design and build;
  • and Understanding and tracking of personal communications standards.

QinetiQ has a deep understanding of airborne electronic surveillance techniques for single and multiple platforms. Research has developed reduced SWAP sensors operating with a common software architecture to enable rapid upgrade of capability. These sensors can operate semi-autonomously, tasked remotely.



Unique Test & Reference Facilities

Agnostic to the supply chain, we have an array of test, characterisation and modelling facilities which provide the evidence for our trusted technical advice and decision support.

These include our Shield facility, incorporating our Global Information Infrastructure Concept Technology Demonstrator and our Above Secret Integration Rig, which enables us to develop, configure and deploy representative test environments for investigating integration issues, application performance and network optimisation, and to support technical and programme de-risking.