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14 July 2020

New research institute will examine who controls the skies and the prospect of wars in space

The new Freeman Air and Space Institute at King’s College London will look at how air and space is being exploited for military and civilian purposes and how this is likely to evolve in the future.

Freeman Air & Space Institute

A new research institute, due to launch in September 2020, will explore the role of air and space power in defence and security, including the use of space-based weapons in future conflicts.

Based in the School of Security Studies, King’s College London, the Freeman Air and Space Institute (FASI) has been set up thanks to funding from the Royal Air Force through Dstl (the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory).

It will explore the ways countries and international organisations are developing security and defence capabilities for air and space, informing debate and influencing strategy in this rapidly evolving area, characterised by transformative technological change.

In particular, researchers will look at the potential future configurations of air forces, including the impact of drones and hypersonic technology. They will consider major security issues including the burgeoning use of space for military and civilian purposes, and the challenges and opportunities presented by Artificial Intelligence and other nascent technologies.

Following the official launch of the institute on 23 September 2020, a regular programme of events and roundtables will enable UK and international air and space experts to disseminate research findings and engage with key stakeholders in government and the wider security community. These discussions will help to generate original and innovative insights, policy proposals and recommendations on the future of aerospace power.

Dr David Jordan, FASI Executive Director said: “Understanding air and space power is a critical part of understanding modern security and defence.

“This new institute will examine current challenges, scope future capabilities and assess potential solutions that influence thinking. It will be interdisciplinary, exploring not only defence and security issues but also business, scientific, technological and economic aspects of air and space.”

Professor Frans Berkhout, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy, said:

“The new Freeman Air and Space Institute extends the scope of world-class security studies research and education at King’s. It is also an excellent demonstration of how we work closely with government agencies and contribute to the development of foreign and security policy.”

The Freeman Institute is named after Air Chief Marshal Sir Wilfrid Freeman who was a key figure in British air capability development in the late 1930s and during the Second World War.

Visit the Freeman Institute web page and follow the Freeman Institute on Twitter to stay up to date with plans for the launch event.