Fresh from displaying what I can only describe as having been a quite amazing day long virtual conference and exhibition last week, one that provided customers and others who might otherwise, had circumstances allowed, visited the QinetiQ stand at Farnborough with the opportunity to explore how mission-led innovation is addressing the challenges facing the defence sector, QinetiQ was yesterday awarded a contract from Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) for the accelerated development of disruptive weapon technologies.
This is another success for a company that never stands still and it comes on top of other recent award announcements over the past few weeks including one from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) Air Warfare Centre to develop a roadmap for the modernisation of RCAF Air Weapons ranges that will enable a combination of live and virtual environments for collaborative team training together with an EUR8.5 million award from the European Space Agency (ESA) to its space business development and production of microgravity-based heat transfer experiments that are expected to be installed on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2026.
In June QinetiQ was awarded a AS$100 million ten-year contract by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group DST which will see 85 of the company’s Australian based staff working at sites across the country and last week signed an exclusive agreement with Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group which will see the Cambridge based company market, sell and install the latest generation of lightweight armour for the C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Six months since acquiring analytics company MTEQ in the US for $105 million and which all-but doubled the size of QinetiQ’s US based activities (MTEQ offers services across the defense space, including in Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities including advanced sensor development and rapid prototyping operations, both of which are in high demand at the Department of Defense and holds a number of defense contract vehicles centred on a range of activities including cyber operations combined with C4ISR capabilities [now dubbed as C5ISR] to advanced sensor prototypes for the US Army and Navy.
In July QinetiQ acquired Manchester based Naimuri, a software development and data analytics supplier to the UK’s intelligence agencies and police forces. In the latest trading statement announced by the company two weeks ago QinetiQ CEO Steve Wadey told investors that “As we entered the COVID-19 crisis, we took decisive action to maintain the strength of our company and ensure we retain the critical skills and capabilities to drive long-term growth. Our response has continued to focus on our three strategic priorities of protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees, continuing to deliver critical work for our customers and maintaining the strength of QinetiQ for the long-term. The actions we have taken have increased the resilience of our company, allowing us to maintain a strong balance sheet and position the company for growth as we emerge from this crisis.
As a company, QinetiQ demonstrates that while it has been impacted by COVID-19 it has continued to push ahead with a strategy that is about delivering mission-led innovation for customer advantage across all of its very interesting business segments. Importantly the test and evaluation sector has been completely modernised and the new investment is paying dividends. This really is an impressive company and one that isn’t about to stand still. Teamwork and partnership are watchwords at QinetiQ and with an excellent senior management team in place one of the most important changes that I have witnessed since Steve Wadey took over as CEO five years ago is renewed motivation.
QinetiQ is very much open for business and the virtual conference event was very well received by partners, customers, suppliers and analysts. Productivity has not only been maintained through the COVID-19 crisis so far it has been increased.
Back to the accelerated development of disruptive weapon technologies contract that has been awarded to the company by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to QinetiQ. The £300 million Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF) contract is planned to run for five years with the aim of providing the armed forces with the battle winning technology to fight future conflicts. It succeeds the Weapons Science and Technology Centre (WSTC) contract, and offers a broader range of research activities including directed energy, complex and conventional weapons technologies. The contract will run as an Enterprise Approach collaboration between Dstl, industry and academia. Stakeholders will work together, planning, tasking and delivering accelerated weapons science and technology (S&T) research.
Yet another success for QinetiQ and yet another example of a company doing well and playing a vital role not only in enabling the defence enterprise to deliver a framework that ensures the UK benefits from the best thinking and innovation but, as Steve Fitzgerald MD of QinetiQ Maritime Land and Weapons said, “enabling the UK to counter the evolving threats to our sovereignty and prosperity.”
CHW (London – 29th July 2020)
Howard Wheeldon FRAeS
Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd,
M: +44 7710 779785