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MOD invests £800m of funding in bid to speed up design of disruptive weapons

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Deborah Edgerton Defence, Permanent, Highways Engineer...

Designers behind the technology used in inventions such as dragonfly drones and laser weapons could get access to £800m of funding by the Ministry of Defence in its attempt to keep up with the rapid changes in modern technology.

It is intended that the fund – the innovation and research insights unit (Iris) - will offer financial backing for riskier emerging and disruptive technologies, those that the private sector does not adequately support.

It is hoped that the fund will transform the ministry’s approach to defence procurement, thus giving the UK an edge in future military technologies.

The UK Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon is reported as saying; “This new approach will help to keep Britain safe while supporting our economy, with our brightest brains keeping us ahead of our adversaries. Backed by a defence budget that will rise every year until the end of the decade, it will ensure that the UK maintains its military advantage in an increasingly dangerous world.” 

It is expected that the 10-year long Iris project will begin looking for investment opportunities in September. It is understood that among the projects that the MoD are currently financing is a miniature drone that uses beating wings like those of a dragonfly to levitate.

It has been reported that officials hope this will boost intelligence gathering. Can we expect future reports from the public of strange looking insects?

In addition it is understood that the MoD is also looking to fund research into laser weapons – similar to those seen in science fiction (very War of the Worlds).

Over the past 15 years research and development spending by the UK military has more than halved.
This recent committed investment will see a welcome boost in employment for engineers & graduate engineers looking to work on leading innovatives within the defence sector.