Look Out! Maritime Early Warning Innovations

Key Features

DASA has launched the Look Out! Maritime Early Warning Innovations competition which seeks to develop alternative future concepts of Early Warning for the Royal Navy.

Programme:     DASA

Award:     Share of up to £1.25 million

Opens: 11th May 2021

Closes: 6th Jul 2021

! This scheme is now closed


This Defence and Security Accelerator competition is seeking proposals for the development of innovative technologies to provide novel methods of Early Warning for maritime operations. Run on behalf of the Royal Navy, this competition aims to develop alternative future concepts for the Airborne Early Warning systems that currently enable deployed capabilities within the Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups.


The current assumptions for a follow-on capability to Crowsnest are based around a single, large radar sensor mounted on a type of uncrewed air platform. The purpose of this competition is to investigate the potential of alternative solutions which are not based on this particular approach.

This competition aims to identify concepts which could enhance:

  • Carrier and Littoral Strike Group situational awareness through improved surveillance horizons and/or target detection capability
  • Operational effectiveness through timely processing and dissemination of information
  • Operational efficiency through optimisation of system functionality

There are three challenges in this competition that are covered in more detail below. Your proposal must meet one or more of these challenges. They are:

Challenge 1: Threat Detection and Situational Awareness

Means of detecting, tracking, recognising and identifying hostile and non-hostile contacts, on the surface of the water and in the air, at extended ranges and in a variety of atmospheric conditions where sensor coverage by the Carrier or Littoral Strike Group is not otherwise available.

Challenge 2:Information Processing and Dissemination

Means of integrating Threat Detection and Situational Awareness data with other air and surface platforms within the Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups into a composite picture of activity over a maritime area of interest. Means of relaying that data between system nodes, converting formats where necessary, in real time, to enable timely decision making.

Challenge 3: Optimising Efficiency

Means of minimising workforce requirement through a reduced operator and support burden. Novel or innovative methods of combining system functionality will also be considered, alongside solutions to enhance decision-making efficiency.

There is further scope information on all 3 of the challenges here

Funding Costs

The total funding available for Phase 1 of this competition is £1.25M (ex VAT), but individual proposals cannot exceed £250k (ex VAT). If successful, contracts will be awarded for a maximum duration of 9 months for this phase. A Framework Contract will be in place to allow further development, via a tasking form process.

The total funding for the overall competition is expected to be at least £2.5M, split over multiple tasks under the framework to increase TRL level. Unlike previous competitions, there will be no further planned phases. Instead, successful Phase 1 suppliers may be invited to further develop their proposal via a tasking form process under the framework.

What are DASA looking for?

DASA want novel ideas to benefit users working in UK Defence and Security. Your proposal should include evidence of:

  • theoretical development, methodological advancement or proof of concept research which can demonstrate potential for translation to practical demonstration in later phases
  • an innovative or creative approach
  • clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to any Defence and Security context

It is envisaged that the future solution will be capable of full integration with other Carrier and Littoral Strike Group systems and be interoperable with other UK/NATO/Five Eyes nations’ capabilities. It is therefore expected that proposals will consider this. The capability must be able to support a range of Strike Group missions, be capable of doing so concurrently, and must be effective when used over land as well as the sea.

The system must also be capable of against peer and near-peer threats, and simultaneously not inhibit the Carrier or Littoral Strike Group’s Freedom of Manoeuvre, for example through reliance on air systems with limited range, speed or endurance, or those whose operational effectiveness may be constrained by being based on land.

Proposals may consist of whole-system solutions, or individual system components. Where relevant, platform solutions should be included based on proposed technology solutions to the challenges below. Platform solutions must not be constrained by geographical and/or environmental factors, such as the need to operate in high wind conditions, sea state, or latitudes.

Although no Technology Readiness Level is specified for this competition, DASA are looking for proof-of-concept work against specific challenge areas, therefore we would expect solutions at or below TRL 5.


For this competition DASA are not interested in proposals that:

  • constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews which just summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation
  • are an identical re-submission of a previous bid to DASA or MOD without modification
  • offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)
  • offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
  • offer no real prospect of out-performing existing technological solutions
  • comprise platform solutions only, rather than EW solutions and an associated platform