F-35 Graphic of Spear3 Missile

An F-35 Graphic With Spear3 Missile. Credit: MOD

Technology

New £3.5m Investment Could Get 'Smarter' British Missiles Talking To Each Other

Millions of pounds are supporting defence experiments to enable missile communication beyond the launch pad.

F-35 Graphic of Spear3 Missile

An F-35 Graphic With Spear3 Missile. Credit: MOD

British defence scientists have received £3.5m to help develop smarter missile systems, aiming for inter-missile communication to tackle future threats.

If the project is successful, the UK Armed Forces could see a network of co-operating missile systems within five years.

Known as the Co-operative Strike Weapons Technology Demonstrator, the programme could mean a software upgrade enabling greater responsiveness and flexibility when the weapons are called to action.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will lead the project but has partnered with arms manufacturer MBDA, which will develop the new missile systems.

"Currently missiles can communicate with the launch platform but not each other," said a Dstl scientist.

"The aim of this programme is to investigate how inter-missile communication and co-operative behaviours can be technically achieved to solve UK military challenges."

While the project could aid the flexibility of current missile systems, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said it will be geared towards tackling "future threats".

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Currently, military tactics and scenarios are being studied to inform the demonstration.

The programme has been live since April and is expected to last for just over two years.

Its funding comes as part of a wider research and development drive within the forces, outlined in the Defence Command Paper, a more detailed playbook expanding upon the Integrated Review.

Both documents highlight emerging threats from Russia and China, and outline the changing shape of the military as it moves forward.

Cover image: Graphic of Spear3 missiles for F-35 jet (Picture: MOD).