National Physical Laboratory

Aerospace,Defence and Security

Aerospace, Defence & Security

NPL is working with businesses in the aerospace, defence and security sector to deliver ground-breaking technologies helping our armed forces and security services respond to an ever-changing threat. Our experts in Detection, Biometrics, Secure Communications, Measurement & Analysis Data Modelling & Analysis, integrate scientific discovery with real world application.

How Can NPL Help?

  • Novel testing and life prediction techniques - Absolute confidence in life prediction of safety critical components is essential for aerospace and defence platforms. NPL leads the way in developing novel techniques for testing and evaluating the performance of novel materials, components and systems. These novel techniques range from prognostic analyses of lead-free electronic interconnects to very high temperature performance of new composites.
  • Working in harsh environments - NPL's facilities and expertise allow materials, products and systems to be robustly validated in a range of extreme environments for example high temperatures, RF noise or under deep water. NPL leads in its ability to test and characterise with confidence, for applications where an understanding of performance is critical. This is vital in development of detection, analysis and protection systems. We provide a range of primary standards for MOD and its suppliers, including areas such as underwater acoustic systems and antennas. Traceability to these standards is available to our commercial customers, providing a level of accuracy and, ultimately, competitive advantage not available elsewhere.
  • Detection and sensor systems - NPL works across the aerospace and defence industries to help develop improved sensor systems. Accurate detection systems are vital for planning, warning and rapid threat identification in both urban and battlefield environments. NPL can apply the most accurate measurement science to sensor systems to drive forward technology, whether adapted from civilian use or developed specifically for the defence sector, with the highest level of confidence. NPL has developed sensors for CBRN applications for biological detection at the point of application, along with stand-off detection systems that can be deployed for nuclear, chemical and environmental monitoring. NPL is also contributing to the development of detection technologies for electronic warfare countermeasure systems, including the mitigation of RF and GPS interference.
  • New materials development - NPL's expertise in the area of functional and multifunctional materials can help companies review new materials for fit-for-purpose application along with assessing their performance under different environmental conditions.
  • Biometric systems validation - Biometric systems require standardisations of key aspects to ensure the interoperability of different systems, test methods to ensure the validity for a system, the security of communicating data and dealing with data that is coming from a number of different sources. NPL's biometrics experts have many years of expertise in the use of biometrics systems, their running interoperability and validation testing of systems.
  • Underwater Acoustics - NPL's unique suite of facilities and technical expertise is used by MOD and its supply chain in the development of new and innovative underwater acoustic systems and materials.
  • Ionising Radiation - NPL has a world leading capability across Radionuclide Standards used in nuclear forensics, evaluation of dosimetry systems for workers and high altitude pilots and unique facilities for testing a systems performance under high levels of radiation.

NPL's expertise can be applied to defence applications across the areas of detection, forensics and testing services. Our knowledge and expertise in the areas of Advanced Materials, CBRNE detection, and Timing and Location technologies allows us to work with the defence sector to deliver bespoke R&D projects resulting in novel technologies that can be deployed for both homeland security and battlefield systems.

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NPL is also focusing effort through working with industry on resolving many of the issues being raised by cyber security, across the globe, including data communications, financial transactions and public internet use. NPL's knowledge in the fields of mathematics and computing bring expertise that can be used in projects where large amounts of data need to be analysed, manipulated and presented quickly in an easy-to-use format. NPL's knowledge can applied to fuse data together, in real-time, to present a cohesive view of a situation that enables sensible and quick decisions to be made.

By using NPL's unique facilities and world-class science teams, combined with our understanding of the needs and challenges faced by the defence and security sector, we can guarantee solutions that will help drive forward technologies whether adapted from civilian use or developed specifically for the defence and security sector.

Challenge Driven, Solution Focused

Our expertise and innovation eliminates the need for specialist in-house resources, reduces technical risk and can deliver revenue, cost and time savings for complex technical challenges. For over 110 years we have solved real world government and business problems and today this is applied to global customer requests from a range of markets. NPL solutions are delivered in world-class research facilities using the outputs from significant research programmes supported by government and have been shown to be world-leading in over 80% of science areas.

Customers have access to over 500 multi-disciplinary scientists, along with an extensive national and international network of partners. Our collaboration network of other science organisations, industry, academia and international laboratories prove invaluable to deliver the requirements of our customers who range from government departments, start-ups to large global multinational corporations.

NPL is working with the Aerospace, Defence and Security sector by developing challenge driven solutions through the application of cutting edge metrology that meets our customers' needs.

Our capability includes:

Sensor development and testing for complex operational conditions

High temperature performance testing and analysis

New materials development and performance characterisation

High level radiation dosimetry services

Systems interoperability and validation testing

Analytical services for forensics

Training and skills development

Instrumentation - development, validation and optimisation

Working with business and industry, NPL's Research and Development programmes focus on identifying and addressing customer needs, ensuring our expertise and knowledge is always relevant and easily applied by our partners.

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