Defence Technology

Securing the future; Technology for a safer world

The defence technology industry sector includes the design, development, production, and maintenance of defence products. This includes components such as sensors and communication technologies, used on land, air and at sea as well as cyber security efforts. 

The defence industry is divided into multiple sub-sectors, including:

  • Aerospace and defence: Development and production of aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft 
  • Land systems: Development and production of tanks, armoured vehicles, and other ground-based military equipment
  • Naval systems: Development and production of ships, submarines, and other maritime military equipment
  • Electronics and cybersecurity: This sub-sector includes the development and production of electronic systems and software for military or other security services use, such as radar, communications systems, and cybersecurity solutions

The defence technology industry plays a critical role in national and international security, and is a major economic driver, generating substantial amounts of revenue and employing millions of people around the world.

Defence technology research is critical for many reasons. First, it helps to inform government decision-making about defence spending and procurement. Second, it helps to ensure that the defence industry is efficient and effective in meeting the needs of the military. Third, it helps to identify and mitigate the potential negative impacts of the defence industry.  It is conducted by a variety of stakeholders including government agencies, military, thinktanks, universities and private companies.

Below is a sample of the many innovative defence technology research projects that are underway in the UK and Europe to maintain a competitive edge and meet the evolving needs of the military.

PI-KEM's customers in the defence industry include some of the world's leading aerospace and defence companies. Our Business Development Team consult with their clients and support them to select the right materials and equipment for their needs.

  • Industry Insights

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    • Increasing focus on technology: Developing and deploying new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, hypersonic weapons, space defence and cyber warfare capabilities
    • Greater international cooperation: Increased collaboration on international projects, to share costs and expertise
    • Affordability: The cost of developing and producing military equipment is rising rapidly, due to factors such as technological complexity and material development costs
    • Changing threats: The nature of attacks to national and international security is constantly evolving, and so technology must evolve quickly to protect against these physical and cyber threats
  • Innovation Trends

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    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) in defence: AI is being used to develop a wide range of new defence technologies, including autonomous weapons systems, intelligent decision support systems, and cyberwarfare capabilities
    • Cybersecurity: This is becoming increasingly important as militaries rely more and more on digital technologies. Research in this area is focused on developing new ways to protect military networks and systems, as well as critical national physical and digital infrastructure, from cyberattacks
    • Hypersonic Weaponry: These can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or higher and so are difficult to detect and intercept, making them a very attractive weapon for militaries. Research in this area is focused on developing new hypersonic weapons and countermeasures
    • Directed Energy Weapons: These include lasers and microwave weapons and have the potential to revolutionise warfare. Research in this area is focused on developing new directed energy weapons that are more powerful and efficient
    • Space Warfare: Research in this area is focused on developing new ways to use space for military purposes, as well as ways to protect space assets from attack
  • Academic/ Industrial Partnerships

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    The UK and European defence technology industries are well-positioned to meet the growing demand for defence products and services. The sector is supported by strong government and industrial commitment, and it has a world-class research base.  Specific examples of defence technology research being undertaken in the UK and Europe include:

    • The UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is working with SeeByte and Blue Bear to investigate and construct a maritime autonomous system for the operation of swarms of mixed multi-domain UXVs with minimal cyber risk. Click here to read article
    • The French company Thales and BAE Systems are working on a project to develop directed energy weapons for the UK Ministry of Defence.  These will be able to track and disrupt the activity of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones). Click here to read article
    • The University of Cranfield, Survivability and Advanced Materials (SAM) group are working to improve the effectiveness of the advanced materials used in transparent armour. Click here to read article
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