From warships and tanks, to planes and boats – the ability to identify vehicles and their intent is important in protecting our borders and personnel. Using Electronic Support Measures (ESM) these platforms can be tracked and identified and thanks to our spin-out company ESROE, this surveillance capability is now more readily available to both defence and civilian operators.



ESM capability now possible in a hand-held unit.



Border patrol
Battlefield intelligence



Improved safety and better intelligence for more users

Ploughshare’s expertise was invaluable in helping us access potential investors.

Jon Roe, Director,


The story

While working on a Dstl programme in the early 1990s, Jon Roe developed a piece of software that would come to revolutionise the way that Electronic Support Measures (ESM) were deployed. His work has improved the safety of our armed forces and also opened up this method of surveillance for civil use.

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Jon had previously spent 25 years researching ESM for the UK Ministry of Defence. This new innovation came about due to a problem noticed by the Royal Navy as some of their ESM systems were producing ambiguous answers. Jon formed a team to solve the problem which resulted in a novel piece of software they called Palantir.

Interest in Palantir was expressed by defence giant Thales which resulted in an initial license deal negotiated by Ploughshare. However, both Jon and Ploughshare recognised that there was an opportunity to spin-out the technology into a new company.

In addition to the Palantir software, the new company ESROE, saw its future in the development of an innovative miniature ESM system using another piece of software licensed out of Dstl, now known as Glamdring, and so the Micro ESM product was conceived.

Jon says: “This was the beginnings of Micro ESM. Whilst the commercial version of Palantir, called Thorondir, remains successful in generating revenue, I see the future of ESROE being with Micro ESM.”

The biggest market Jon sees for ESROE is in defence. However, given the small size of Micro ESM, this has opened up other markets such as drone-enabled ESM and civilian maritime surveillance.

Jon says: “We are maintaining a key area of capability for the MOD and I believe that ESROE can grow to become a significantly sized company.”

The technology

Electronic Support Measures (ESM) allow users to detect, track and identify vehicles by using radar signals and has to date been limited to large high value platforms, such as warships or fighter aircraft. Micro ESM, however, is so small that it can be carried in the hand or mounted on lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles, and is sufficiently low cost to be deployed in high volume.

For the military, this means ESM capability can now be scaled from individuals and small teams, through to networking with other electronic warfare systems.

Exercise Dynamic Mongoose


  • ESM capability in a small and lightweight unit
  • Automatic processing of known signals using programmed radar database
  • Requires no supervision to operate in the presence of interference and noisy data
  • Automatically creates database entries for tracking of unknown signals


Innovation Source: Dstl
Funding: Innovate UK
Applications: Coastal surveillance, Border protection, Fisheries protection, Monitoring and protection of marine reserves, pollution monitoring and resource protection
End Users: MOD