The MoD today announced the formation of a "collaborative research group" uniting the Ministry, industry and academia for an applied research programme into electronic warfare.
The group is the fifth of the MOD's so-called "Towers of Excellence" (the other four are Guided Weapons, Radar, Underwater Sensors and Synthetic Environments), and will examine "radar- and missile-jamming, electronic detection and communications jamming, as well as electronic protective measures". Minister for defence procurement Lord Bach explained: "Electronic warfare is becoming increasingly more important in the battlespace, and British Armed Forces must remain at the forefront of new technological advances in this field. The Towers of Excellence have proved themselves to be excellent vehicles for collaborative research. I have no doubt that this group will reap results for the MoD, UK industry and British academia."
The Towers of Excellence website contains more background to the "ToE" concept:
In taking forward this policy we must take account of the fact that the defence research budget in the United States is ten or more times that of the UK and about two and a half times as great as that of the whole of the European Union. Figures including both research and development show a broadly similar picture. These ratios imply that we may need to be selective about the technologies we develop. A well-structured policy of collaboration is thus essential to secure best value for expenditure to enable us to focus resources on commonly identified technology development areas.
Which rather begs the question: why don't we just buy our electronic warfare kit from the US and be done with it? ®