Dstl unveils new Exploration Division


The new division will identify and accelerate transformative technologies, systems, concepts and strategies for defence and security.

As part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Exploration Division will pinpoint futuristic high impact ideas with the greatest potential. Such ideas could be ‘over the horizon’ technologies, next generation concepts or existing systems that could be adapted for Defence and Security. The initiative will increase Dstl’s ability to shape generation-after-next equipment and strategy for the armed forces while continuing to support current operational requirements.

Exploration Division will use AI and data analytics to scan the horizon for transformative technologies such as quantum sensing or quantum cryptography, neuromorphic computing, and telexistence. It will incubate the most promising of these and will imagine entirely new systems to provide the UK’s armed forces and security forces with game changing capabilities to create strategic advantage over future adversaries.

It will draw on Dstl’s expertise in horizon scanning, systems thinking, wargaming, simulation, social science and operational research to explore novel tactics and strategies and driving the transition of good ideas into conceptual force design and anticipatory policy.

Involving suppliers and customers throughout this process will provide a safe space in which to challenge accepted plans, and is designed to provide the stimulus for wider innovation in Defence and Security. Dstl say they will find new things no one else has done before, prove their worth, and help customers deliver them, or manage the risk from them.

Professor Andy Bell, Dstl’s Chief Technical Officer, said:

The creation of Exploration Division will secure Dstl a leading role in shaping the future of Defence and Security. Identifying novel concepts and accelerating research and development will bring future systems and technologies into service quicker and more cost-effectively. This will enhance UK security by providing innovative and word-leading equipment to our forces, as well as transformative concepts of operation and strategies with which to achieve success.


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