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Headlines UK seeks real-life spy tech 'Q'



LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Get out the rocket launcher camera, brandish your acid-shooting fountain pen and stick on your fake third nipple.

Her Majesty's Government has a job for you.

Britain is advertising for a new chief executive officer of the Government Communications Centre -- the spy gadget lab boss known to James Bond fans as "Q".

Tuesday is the deadline to apply for the job, which was advertised discreetly in newspapers a few weeks back.

In the movies, Q's lab built everything Bond needed to escape from danger, from his Aston Martin sports car with ejector seat to the fake third nipple he used to disguise himself as villain Scaramanga in "The Man With the Golden Gun."

The real-life version "researches, designs, develops and produces communications systems and equipment and related hardware and software," its Web site says ( link).

It employs experts in radio frequency engineering, signal processing, software engineering and acoustics -- not to mention "design and development of small precision mechanisms".

In an age when hand-held satellite tracking gear can now be bought at the local mobile phone shop, technology is as important in the spy business as ever, said Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Review.

But the real-life Bond gadgets are probably not as stylish as the ones in the movies.

"If someone did apply for the job hoping for an unlimited budget to convert Aston Martins into submarines, they might be sorely disappointed," Standish said.

And modern life being what it is, the new Q will need to be first and foremost a top notch bureaucrat.

The ideal candidate will have "practical experience of programme and project delivery" and can "manage stakeholder relationships with customer departments to ensure Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre is responsive and relevant", the ad says.