The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Themed Competition called It’s Good for Missiles to Talk. Run on behalf of the Defence and Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl), this Themed Competition aims to identify and develop novel technologies that could be exploited in the development of a new category of missile – cooperative missiles.
Cooperative missiles can communicate with each other, share situational awareness and organise themselves to ‘work together’ efficiently to achieve a common objective. The aim of the work is to investigate how inter-missile communication and cooperative behaviours can be technically achieved to solve UK military challenges.
UK defence systems enabled by AI, including missiles, will always be subject to context appropriate human involvement. For this competition, we are only interested in technologies that could enable cooperation between missiles.
This themed competition focuses on the following challenge areas:
- Challenge 1: Distributed target detection and identification
- Challenge 2: Data processing onboard and between missiles
- Challenge 3: Enhanced navigation through cooperation
- Challenge 4: Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
For further information on each challenge, see guidance notes here.
The total funding available for Phase 1 of this competition is £800K (ex VAT). This is expected to fund multiple proposals between £100k to £200k (ex VAT) over a maximum project duration of 6 months. We are looking to fund bids at a relatively low TRL, starting at approximately TRL 2-3 for development up to approximately TRL 4-5.
Further funding may be made available for a second phase to develop higher TRL technologies. We would aim to launch Phase 2 on completion of the Phase 1 contracts.
The results or deliverables from Phase 1 projects may be shared under appropriate confidentiality arrangements with defence strategic suppliers to help formulate Phase 2 of the competition. Within this second phase, innovators will be strongly encouraged to collaborate with defence strategic suppliers, however it is not required to collaborate with defence strategic suppliers in Phase 1.
Success in Phase 1 will not be a pre-requisite for applying to Phase 2.
Novel ideas that ultimately bring benefit to end-users working in UK Defence and Security through integration into the Generation After Next of UK missile systems. Your proposal should include evidence of:
- solutions focused on one or more of the challenge areas listed above
- consideration of how low TRL technology demonstrators might transition to exploitable technologies and contribute to the future of cooperative missiles
- theoretical development, method of advancement or proof of concept research which demonstrates the potential for translation into practical demonstration in later phases
- an innovation or a creative approach, with ambition to deliver workable demonstrations of new concepts
- clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to the defence context
Your proposal must include:
- the proposal should focus on the Phase 1 requirements but must also include a brief (uncosted) outline of the next stages of work required for commercial exploitation
- when submitting a proposal, you must complete all sections of the online form, including an appropriate level of technical information to allow assessment of the bid and a completed finances section
- completed proposals must comply with the financial rules set for this competition. The upper-limit for this competition is £200k (ex VAT). Proposals will be rejected if the financial cost exceeds this capped level
- you must include a list of other current or recent government funding you may have received in this area if appropriate, making it clear how this proposal differs from this work
- a project plan with clear milestones and deliverables must be provided. Deliverables must be well defined and designed to provide evidence of progress against the project plan and the end-point for this phase; they must include a final report
- you should also plan for attendance at a kick-off meeting at the start of Phase 1, a mid-project event and an end of project event at the end of Phase 1, as well as regular reviews with the appointed Technical Partner and Project Manager; all meetings will be in the UK. Meetings may also take place virtually
- your proposal must demonstrate how you will complete all activities/services and provide all deliverables within the competition timescales (6 months). Proposals with any deliverables (including final report) outside the competition timeline will be rejected as non-compliant
Your resourcing plan must identify, where possible, the nationalities of proposed employees that you intend to work on this phase.
DASA are not interested in proposals that:
- remove human control from the operation of missile systems
- focus specifically and solely on development of the warhead, payload, propulsion or actuator sub systems and guidance and control algorithms within missile systems
- focus solely on new missile concepts
- constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews which summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation
- are unsolicited resubmissions of a previous DASA bid
- offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to one of the challenges)
- offer no real long-term prospect of integration into the Generation After Next of UK missile systems
- offer no real prospect of out-competing equivalent technologies
- utilise existing commercially restricted algorithms
- are from organisations not willing to co-operate with defence strategic suppliers in potential subsequent phases