The defence industry’s drive to create products which use less power, weigh less and can be moved to where they are needed was showcased at last month’s DSEI.
Taglined “Powering Progress”, the event featured innovations which came in all shapes and sizes. Stephen Pook, Head of Mission Training Devices at Inzpire explained the concept behind the company’s “SIM in a box.” He said that as the strategy across the UK military was about deploying forces, access to simulation training would be required to keep their training up to date.
Pook explained: “The problem we see is that currently big Sims are generally located in one place, trainees have to go to that but you know if your boat is the other side of the world how do we maintain that currency? The Sim in a box, as we call it the case system, is a compact agile simulation equipment but essentially it means you can take your simulation training with you, wherever you deploy and that allows you to maintain your currency in particular high-end training events that you might not be getting on a deployment or an operation.”
Snapshot, a new nano drone, is designed to be a simple way of autonomously capturing an aerial image with a single button. Chris Daniels, Chief Commercial Officer of Flare Bright Ltd, explained: “It will fly up, capture images and come back to its user. This doesn’t rely on GPS, it doesn’t rely on remote control, so this will fly whatever jamming spoofing, denial we will have and it will always get a frontline soldier imagery.”
As the drones have got smaller, so have the radar systems which detect them. Blighter surveillance systems started as a ground surveillance radar and was first to market with a crawler detection radar system. Co-founder and CTO Mark Radford said: “We’ve recognised that mobility and the need to to rapidly deploy our radar systems is key, so we’ve tried to shrink the size of our systems our A800 radar here combines ground surveillance coastline security and drone detection in a single small compact sensor.”
Capturing a whole city in close up
Logos Technologies’ latest Black Kite night sensor can cover a whole city centre in close up from 12,000 feet from beneath an aircraft or from a UAV. Alan Murdoch, VP of International Programs said: “We consistently reduce the size weight and power requirements of the sensors and this sensor only weighs 16 kilos coming from 12,000 feet can cover 12 square kms and detect and track all significant movers in that scene.”
Saving weight and reducing size will also help the defence industry towards greater sustainability. A mini power station in a box will help to charge electric vehicles, as Wo2 Ian Rathbone, Combat Engineer Adviser for the Department of International Trade explained how the Grian Volta solar-powered unit worked: “The Grian Volta solar power generation unit is deployable within 30 minutes of touchdown and using this piece of kit, we can actually power up the eco charger quad so is it big enough to handle a number of pieces of kit that needs mid battery power. It can also link to other Grian solar generation units so it can power much larger locations.”