Tech giant Microsoft has signed a strategic partnership with BAE Systems to use cloud technology to redefine how data is used across the defence industry.

The partnership will leverage Microsoft’s public cloud platform Azure and BAE Systems’ expertise in developing complex digital systems for militaries and governments.

Through this alliance, the companies aim to slash the time taken to develop, deploy and manage digital defence capabilities.

BAE Systems will leverage the Azure platform to perform data analysis and simulation work to develop new products.

Azure Cloud also offers digital engineering capabilities that may be used to connect digitally the design, production, and use of goods throughout their lives. 

BAE Systems noted that cloud technology may expedite the future distribution of software to active military platforms.

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By GlobalData

BAE Systems chief technology and information officer Julian Cracknell said: “The data available to the defence sector and armed forces is often highly complex and comes from hundreds of thousands of sources, whether that’s satellite and radar feeds, intelligence gathered by ships at sea or even social media.

“Our innovative agreement with Microsoft will give us easier access to tools that help us make sense of this information for our customers – allowing armed forces to stay ahead of rapidly evolving threats, whilst maintaining the highest levels of security.”

The two businesses have also looked into ways to shorten the time it takes for a novel idea to enter production.

Since their partnership began, BAE Systems and Microsoft have worked together on three projects using cloud computing in the defence industry.

These initiatives included developing secure software to deliver real-time updates to air platforms, improving real-time tactical naval intelligence, and developing a digital thread to support the maintenance of maritime platforms from conception to dismantlement. 

Microsoft UK CEO Clare Barclay said the collaboration between the two parties is already “delivering tangible results” for BAE Systems’ customers.

Barclay said: “This strategic agreement will enable defence organisations to use data more effectively. This will help them promote stability and security for residents, nations and multinational alliances…by working together, delivering agile, secure and reliable software.”