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Home » Dr Nick Easton, BAE Systems, Applied Intelligence Laboratories

Dr Nick Easton, BAE Systems, Applied Intelligence Laboratories

Future Challenges in Antennas and Propagation for Defence and Security


Dr Nick Easton

Nick graduated in Applied Physics and Electronics from Durham University in 1983, and joined the Analogue Techniques Group of the Radar Research Laboratory at the Marconi Research Centre as a Research Scientist.

He has held positions as Section Leader, Project Manager and Group Leader, and has achieved Chartered Engineer status and election as a Fellow of the IET.

In his current role he acts as the Engineering Authority for AI Labs. developing and maintaining the engineering framework for a group of c.100 highly qualified engineers and scientists, and ensuring that the organisation has an outstanding reputation with its customers.

He is also Head of the Physical Sciences and Technology Practice across BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, responsible for the engagement, development and skills planning of its c.200 members.  He actively fosters an environment that encourages innovation, both in technology and in its exploitation.

Nick is an active Fellow of the IET and acts on their behalf as a Professional Registration Advisor and Assessor, in particular encouraging younger engineers to work towards chartership.

He peer reviews papers for the IET journals, and is on the organising committee of the IET ‘Intelligent Signal Processing Conference’. He is a member of the EPSRC college, and has acted as an Industrial PhD Supervisor at Bristol University.

He is an active supporter of the Turing Gateway to Mathematics, part of the Isaac newton Institute at the University of Cambridge.  Nick’s work within the R&T community was recognised in 2011 when he was appointed as a BAE Systems Engineering Fellow.


Defence and Security applications have provided the motivation for technological advances that are now ubiquitous in the modern World.  Examples can be found in countless radar and communications systems, with sensor technologies originally conceived for defence now adopted in applications ranging from environmental monitoring to medical applications and beyond.  However, in an unpredictable and sometimes dangerous world the requirements for future defence and security systems are rapidly diverging from those of the last century.

Future military platforms will require increased sensor and communications capabilities and be capable of performing multiple roles complex and congested electromagnetic environments.  At the same time budget pressures are increasing, and systems produced must be cost-effective, even when some systems will be manufactured in fewer numbers than in previous generations.  Similar trends exist for wider security technologies, such as those protecting commercial air transport, where increased functionality is required at lower cost.

Over 150 years after the publication of Maxwell equations it is exciting that so much creativity and innovation is evident in antennas and propagation.  Advances in electromagnetic simulation, integration with active devices and fabrication of materials with properties not found in Nature are examples of technologies offering us opportunities to design systems inconceivable to previous generations. 

This contribution will describe some of the challenges for sensor and communications systems in future platforms in the air, land and maritime defence domains.  In some instances, RF technologies compete with techniques in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and successful solutions are likely to be chosen based on minimising through-life cost as well as functional performance.

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