Defence and security

FOSSI: Augmented reality military training system

Qinetiq, Qioptiq

Providing aircraft to support military training exercises is an expensive business but troops need to see the effect of airstrikes and the sort of damage that different types of airborne weaponry can cause. Augmented reality – overlaying computer-generated images and data onto live pictures – provides a lower-cost alternative, which Qinetiq and Qioptiq have joined forces to exploit.

FOSSI (fall of shot simulated indicator) superimposes a ’virtual weapon effect’ onto a real terrain view, providing military trainees with an impression of the impact a real weapon would have had. As well as being much cheaper than using real aircraft in ground troop training, it can be used in any weather conditions, minimises environmental impact and allows for training in no-fly areas.

FOSSI operates over wireless networks and can be integrated into GPS data. This means that it can be used not only to train ground troops, but also in conjunction with geographically distributed flight trainers: in other words, trainee aircrews can also take part in the exercises without having to dedicate real aircraft and removing the possibility of accidental casualties. The system has been tested by the Ministry of Defence in the UK and the US has requested the loan of two systems for trials with its armed forces.

Lightweight  steels for Queen Elizabeth carrier flight deck

BAE Systems Surface Ships, Corus, University of Strathclyde, Air Liquide Welding

Needing to reduce the topside weight of the huge new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, BAE Systems decided to develop a new, thinner grade of steel plate to form the vessel’s flight deck. This involved close collaboration with steel producer Corus to produce a material that was tough enough for this application, even in lower-strength areas where two sheets were welded together.