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What did this year’s DSEI bring to the table?

4th October 2019
Anna Flockett


A lot can happen in a year, especially in the defence and military sector; it is essential in this industry that the technologies are up to date and the latest on the market, so what did companies have to show at the four-day show in London?

THIELMANN WEW, the tank container solutions expert, explained that it is set apart from other companies as its bespoke solutions can be built from any military requirements. Sebastian Bojarski said: “We offer a large variety of products from very flexible small mobile solutions to big camp static solutions. The fact that we can offer a range really does help in today’s industry.”

The company has worked in water purification for many years, as there is always going to be a need for users to have clean water. Bojarski commented: “We are big suppliers of water to the US army, with our most flexible units being the drop and go ones. We supply different units for the US and German army - the best part is that with this equipment you don’t need special training, it is easy enough to use, and you can do it all yourself as the operations they are used for are much smaller - they don’t last as long as you need to be on the go.”

THIELMANN WEW’S equipment is designed all as standard interfaces, so it can work with any equipment. There are smaller units designed by THIELMANN WEW that have similar functions to the water and fuel tanks, but all have different standards that they meet. “It is important to differentiate,” Bojarski added. All equipment is extremely robust.

The German army is a big long standing partner to THIELMANN WEW, but the company has worked with 13 different armies including these in the UK and US.

Staying on the topic of equipment, I also met QinetiQ, a company dedicated to defending sovereign capability, protecting lives and securing the vital interests of customers.

Working across every aspect in the lifecycle of critical equipment and infrastructure, QinetiQ provides products and services to help in the hardest of challenges. A large section of the company works within the power industry, as Colin Cockcroft Senior Principle Engineer at QinetiQ explained: “We work on a lot of disaster relief support systems, and have seen an increase over the past ten to 20 years when it comes to power systems.”

At DSEI it was announced that QinetiQ was a project lead of a new research programme to explore the latest vehicles technologies worth over £3.2m, with the hope to boost the performance of UK future ground combat vehicles.

QinetiQ also published a paper, ‘Powering the Electrified Battlefield’ which discusses electric drive systems in further detail, and how the project will focus on new solutions for ground vehicle mobility, exploiting the potential from these drive systems. 

At the show QinetiQ also stated it prides itself on finding partners and solutions, so when the solution cannot be found it works with others to make sure there is a solution.

An ex-DSTL company, QinetiQ 20 years ago became a private company, a global defence company moving away slightly from the R&D side and focusing more on cutting edge technology and moving that into its capabilities.

Andrew Burnett, Campaign Manager – Maritime Autonomy at QinetiQ commented: “Our motto is: Create It, Test It and Use It.”

QinetiQ essentially takes products and solutions through every section of the lifecycle. The Create it zone showed a lot of innovative technology such as the UK DragonFire, a UK Government funded programme that is working to achieve a significant step change in the UK’s high energy laser weapon systems capability. Other products that the company had on show included the Obsidian, a counter drone system specifically to detect, identify and track small and micro drones.

Burnett explained: “This is one of the best ways to warn troops they need to take cover; it is perfect for drone detection. We have developed something similar before so we took the existing capability and adapted it.”

Managing and operating extensive testing and evaluation capabilities for air, land, sea and target systems, QinetiQ collaborates closely and responsively to give MOD, international and industry customers a competitive edge through the safe and secure conduct of operational and tactical training exercises that combine both real world and simulated events.

Israel Aerospace Industries
Finally, I had the chance to learn about Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the largestaerospace company in Israel that is active in all domains.

The company works across four business lines:

  • Aviation – avionics both in helicopter and fighter form
  • Manufacturing infrastructure for fighters
  • Converting passenger aircrafts to freight and cargo vehicles
  • Military aircraft group – UAVs, supporting some wide range devices, both short and long endurance

The company is actually a world leader in converting passenger planes to freight cargo. Golan Haver from IAI explained: “We have the knowledge to convert any aircraft. Each aircraft is supporting and holding a unique technology, we are leveraging this technology and exporting it, so we can ensure customers they are safe at all times.”

Haver continued: “One of the biggest strengths for us is having the capability to integrate different payloads. We integrate our technology into bigger solutions to provide the most innovative solutions out there.”

Haver continued: “We have developed the ELTA range and have developed products such as RADAR for the Iron drone, and on the flip side have solutions in the cyber business solutions area such as MMR – Multi Mission Radar, and that is what gives us uniqueness in all areas.”

The Missile Defence System is a very successful solution from IAI, it has an advanced range of air defence systems that cover everything you need to detect, track, intercept and analyse airborne threats from missiles, UAVs and jets in passive and active modes of systems.

The company also focuses more specifically on early warning radars, to multi-mission radars, tactical 3D air defence radars to drone detection radars.

Haver explained that with an ability to carry and coordinate a payload of multiple sensors, IAI ELTA’s multi-payload aerostat system is a cost-effective solution for monitoring and surveillance of borders and peripheries.

It was also interesting to learn that IAI manufactured the first UAV in the world. Haver explained: “It was an outcome of intelligence that we discovered, and then put into practice to become a UAV. We now operate in over 50 countries worldwide, and have a product for every need.”

Finally, an interesting solution IAI had on show at DSEI was the OPAL, a network infrastructure that connects almost anything. Haver again explained: “It can connect any air vehicle, any ship and any land vehicle, so they can all communicate together. Users can develop any application to work seamlessly on the network.”

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