08 Jun 2021

Maritime Early Warning Innovations Competition

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a competition for the development of innovative technologies to provide novel methods of Early Warning (EW) for maritime operations.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a competition for the development of innovative technologies to provide novel methods of Early Warning (EW) for maritime operations. The competition aims to develop alternative future concepts for the Airborne Early Warning systems that currently enable deployed capabilities within the Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups.

£1.25M is available to fund contracts with a maximum value of £250k each. The duration of each of the funded contracts is to be no longer than 9 months. This phase will focus on maturing key underpinning ideas and technologies to demonstrate concept feasibility.

DASA are looking to undertake continuous development of solutions and their intent is to provide further funding to projects that are demonstrated to be successful during this initial period. Therefore, unlike previous DASA competitions, this is the only planned phase for this call. Further development of solutions beyond the initial period of up to 9 months, will take place through a Framework Contract and tasking. The competition closes on Tuesday 6 July 2021 at midday BST.

The competition itself:

  • Requirement to develop a capability that provides air and surface surveillance to enable over-the-horizon situational awareness to Royal Navy assets deployed within Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups, where not otherwise available in those formations.
  • Capability to provide Commanders with a clear, detailed and enduring picture of the battlespace.
  • Also support Commanders’ decision-making by providing detection, tracking and recognition of surface and airborne objects within sufficient timescales to react appropriately.
  • Historically been delivered by sensors mounted on airborne platforms to increase detection range.
  • Interested in any alternative proposals that could match or exceed these capabilities, particularly for low-level and/or signature-controlled threats.
  • Seeking a potential successor to the near-term capability, Crowsnest (an EW system fitted to the Merlin Mk2 helicopter), which has a planned out-of-service date of 2029.

Competition aims to identify concepts which could enhance:

  • Carrier and Littoral Strike Group situational awareness through improved surveillance horizons and/or target detection capability.
  • Operational effectiveness through timely processing and dissemination of information.
  • Operational efficiency through optimisation of system functionality.


  • Capable of full integration with other Carrier and Littoral Strike Group systems and be interoperable with other UK/NATO/Five Eyes nations’ capabilities. 
  • Capability must be able to support a range of Strike Group missions, be capable of doing so concurrently, and must be effective when used over land as well as the sea.
  • Capable of against peer and near-peer threats, and simultaneously not inhibit the Carrier or Littoral Strike Group’s Freedom of Manoeuvre.


  • Challenge 1: Threat Detection and Situational Awareness
  • Challenge 2: Information Processing and Dissemination
  • Challenge 3: Optimising Efficiency

Your proposal should include evidence of:

  • Theoretical development, methodological advancement or proof of concept research which can demonstrate potential for translation to practical demonstration in later phases.
  • An innovative or creative approach.
  • Clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to any Defence and Security context


You may wish to include some of the following information, where known, to help the assessors understand your exploitation plans to date:

  • The intended Defence or Security users of your final product and whether you have previously engaged with them, their procurement arm or their research and development arm.
  • Awareness of, and alignment to, any existing end user procurement programmes.
  • The anticipated benefits (for example, in cost, time, improved capability) that your solution will provide to the user.
  • Whether it is likely to be a standalone product or integrated with other technologies or platforms.
  • Expected additional work required beyond the end of the contract to develop an operationally deployable commercial product (for example, “scaling up” for manufacture, cyber security, integration with existing technologies, environmental operating conditions)
  • Additional future applications and wider markets for exploitation.
  • Wider collaborations and networks you have already developed or any additional relationships you see as a requirement to support exploitation.
  • How your product could be tested in a representative environment in later phases.
  • Any specific legal, ethical, commercial or regulatory considerations for exploitation.

How to apply:

  • Proposals for funding to meet these challenges must be submitted by Tuesday 6 July 2021 at midday BST, via the DASA submission service for which you will be required to register.

For more information please read here.