United Kingdom

Scanning Horizons for Smarter, Cooperative Missiles

  • The Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a new themed competition: Speak Well for Missiles.
  • Funded by the Defense Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
  • Funding of up to £800,000 available for advanced technologies that could support a future collaborative rocket

It Protection and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new themed competition called It’s okay for rockets to talk. Run on behalf of Defense scientific and technical laboratory (Dstl), this themed competition aims to identify and develop new technologies that can be used to develop a new category of rockets: cooperative rockets.

Cooperating missiles can communicate with each other, share situational awareness, and organize themselves to effectively “work together” to achieve the common goal. The aim of the work is to investigate how inter-missile communication and cooperative behavior can be technically achieved to address the UK’s military challenges.

UK defense systems powered by artificial intelligence, including missiles, will always be subject to context-appropriate human involvement. For this competition, we are only interested in technologies that can enable missile cooperation.

This thematic competition focuses on the following challenge areas:

  • Challenge 1: Distributed target detection and identification
  • Challenge 2: Data processing on board and between missiles
  • Challenge 3: Advanced navigation through collaboration
  • Challenge 4: Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Key dates and funding

The total funding available for Phase 1 is up to £800,000 (excluding VAT) and is expected to fund multiple proposals.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is noon on August 3, 2022.

Do you have an innovation? Read the full tender document and submit a proposal.

It is good for missiles to speak in complex operational environments

Developing interoperable missiles for the UK’s future missile systems is a new and key challenge that Defense is trying to address.

At the moment, missile development seeks to surpass the enemy’s capabilities by improving the performance of individual missiles. For example, through the use of more sophisticated search engines or navigation systems.

However, with a cooperative rocket approach, super-convergence can be achieved through the use of network technologies. This approach is potentially disruptive because the technologies and subsystems used in a cooperative missile system would be less complex than current designs while offering greater efficiency when working together.

This capability is important as the operational environment for UK missile systems becomes increasingly complex. For example, potential targets are often hidden and likely to be surrounded by buildings, trees, and vegetation, which can make identification and navigation difficult. Cooperative missiles will also be beneficial in environments where Global Navigation Satellite Services (GNSS) are degraded.

“Next generation” cooperative missiles. areas of challenge

Submitted proposals should choose to target one or all of the challenges below.

Challenge 1: Distributed target detection and identification

This challenge area seeks new ways to detect, recognize, and identify intended targets using missile sensors distributed over a cooperative array. For example:

  • combining sensor data to create an overall picture of the target area, as multiple missiles may be approaching the target from different directions. Increasing detection and identification range through the use of multiple, low-cost sensors
  • improving target tracking accuracy in a complex scene by combining data from multiple sources
  • approaches to the above with homogeneous and/or heterogeneous sensor arrays

Challenge 2: Data processing on board and between missiles

This challenge area seeks innovations to process large amounts of data for specific missions in cooperative rocket networks. For example:

  • distributed processing in a rocket environment
  • distributed database systems in a cooperative rocket network
  • edge processing – this is an alternative and complementary technique to analyze and process strong data at the time of generation
  • data transmission within a limited bandwidth cooperative rocket network

Challenge 3: Advanced navigation through collaboration

This challenge area seeks to understand how new alternative navigation (AltNav) technologies and distributed navigation sensors can be used. For example:

  • Using Multiple Inexpensive Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) in a Cooperative Missile Network to Improve Group Navigation
  • using multiple GNSS feeds in a cooperative missile network when some of them are jammed or degraded to improve group navigation
  • exploiting geolocation using various technologies distributed across the missile network
  • Synchronization of temporal information in a cooperative rocket network

Challenge 4: Application of artificial intelligence

This general challenge area seeks to understand how advances in AI can be used in cooperative missile systems. For example:

  • improving the stability of limited bandwidth communications between a cooperative rocket network
  • optimizing scene search in a distributed cooperative rocket network
  • target detection in the presence of obscurity (eg smoke or cloaking systems) in a distributed cooperative missile network

Want to learn more about these challenge areas? Read the full tender document here.

Webinars and online events

Webinar of the competition: June 20, 2022

This webinar will provide additional information on challenge areas and how to submit a proposal. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. If you would like to get involved, please register on the Eventbrite page.

Sign up now!.

Submit an offer!

Do you have a solution or a new approach that can help advance our joint rocket technology? Submit an idea and help DASA and Dstl use cooperative rockets that can communicate with each other to complete a common mission.

Read the full tender document to learn more and submit a proposal.

Scanning Horizons for Smarter, Cooperative Missiles

SourceScanning Horizons for Smarter, Cooperative Missiles

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