Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Dstl’s new counter-terrorism facility opened by The Queen
- Also published by:
- Ministry of Defence
The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Cambridge, officially opened Dstl's new state-of-the-art Energetics Analysis Centre and met specialist scientific staff.
The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has been given a rare Royal visit during the COVID-19 pandemic to showcase the science inside defence and security when Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Cambridge visited its site near Salisbury.
The Queen and The Duke officially opened Dstl’s new £30 million Energetics Analysis Centre. They also met staff who have been providing specialist scientific advice and support to the COVID-19 pandemic and those involved in providing a rapid operational response to the Novichok incident in 2018.
The Energetics Analysis Centre is a state-of-the-art building from which hundreds of scientists conduct world-class research and analysis to give the UK military and security advantage, protecting against terrorist and criminal threats. The expert team’s impact extends across Government, reaching the Ministry of Defence, Home Office, Department for Transport and other agencies.
Hosted by Dstl’s Chief Executive, Gary Aitkenhead, The Queen and The Duke viewed interactive displays and met a number of scientists at a social distance who explained how Dstl’s science and technology keeps the public safe by detecting explosives, helping to identify terrorist networks and analysing vital forensic evidence to help bring those involved in terrorism to justice.
Mr Aitkenhead yesterday said:
There is no greater accolade than to have The Queen and The Duke of Cambridge open this extraordinary building, particular during a global pandemic. This is testament to Dstl and our people as a proven national asset, not just in forensic science and explosives detection, but across a wide range of scientific fields, including artificial intelligence, cyber and quantum and in doing so providing an advantage to our military and security services. It’s great for us to showcase our work, which benefits us all in the UK, and to be recognised in this way is a great honour.
A highlight of the visit was a simulation of a forensic explosives investigation by scientists from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL), which is one of several world-leading capabilities found in the Energetics Analysis Centre. FEL provides evidence and expert witness statements to support the British Criminal Justice System on explosives-related cases. This support has been crucial in providing evidence to the courts for numerous terrorist cases including the attacks at Manchester Arena and Parsons Green.
Other elements of the visit included meeting police search dog Max, who is trained using Dstl’s state-of-the-art canine explosives training aids. The Queen and The Duke also saw Dstl’s Linear Accelerator (Linac), an incredibly powerful X-ray machine used for inspecting weapons and munitions. It is the only one of its kind in the UK for use on items containing explosives. The Linac allows the engineers and scientists to see inside explosive objects without disturbing them or taking them apart. It can produce an image through 250mm of steel, with a level of detail smaller than the thickness of a human hair.
During the visit, The Queen and The Duke made a special presentation of the Firmin Sword of Peace to the Army’s Headquarters South West in recognition of its exceptional contribution in support of the city of Salisbury and its communities following the Novichok nerve agent attack in March 2018.
The Headquarters was appointed as the Joint Military Command headquarters responsible for the Defence contribution to the decontamination of multiple sites across the city during the twelve-month operation. During this time they worked exceptionally closely with the Dstl scientists whose scientific expertise was pivotal to the success of the decontamination operation.
Colonel Mike Duff, the Deputy Joint Military Commander for the decontamination operation, who received the Sword on behalf of the headquarters yesterday said:
It is a huge honour to receive the Firmin Sword of Peace in recognition of the work done by Headquarters South West. This was a true team effort that would not have been possible without contributions from across Defence, including Dstl, and the local authorities.
Latest News from
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Market exploration: future policing20/10/2020 11:10:00
DASA wants to understand the current market capability and development requirements for future policing initiatives.
Dstl releases free Baleen 3 data processing update06/10/2020 12:10:00
Baleen 3 is a tool co-developed by Dstl for building data processing pipelines and offers users the ability to search, process and collate data.
First space mission for Dstl29/09/2020 09:05:00
Dstl will conduct the the first tasking of a commercial satellite by a UK Government-owned and operated ground station for nearly 20 years
Science enables soldiers and aircrew to partner with smart machines on Salisbury Plain24/09/2020 16:10:00
Scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have been working with soldiers, aircrew and industry partners on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire in a unique experiment to see how humans and a new generation of smart machines can partner to change the way that military operations are conducted.
DASA launches search for telexistence technology24/09/2020 13:10:00
Funding available to develop capabilities to operate in hazardous environments without physically being present.
Rare Fellowship for Dstl Scientist23/09/2020 13:43:00
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the profession, Dstl’s Dr Bryn Hughes has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Science Minister at Vitae Connections Week 202016/09/2020 10:20:00
In a recorded message, Amanda Solloway recently (14 September 2020) spoke about the promoting a culture of wellbeing for researchers and improving the way we evaluate research.
Dstl SME Searchlight Announces New Webinar Programme15/09/2020 14:15:00
Air systems and policing webinars scheduled for October
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick Sees Dstl’s Police Innovation28/08/2020 11:05:00
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, has visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to see the latest innovations being trialled in support of the police and judicial system.