The 2011 Shortlist – Defence and Security

The Centurion launcher stores its rounds vertically
The Centurion launcher stores its rounds vertically

Cambridge Design Partnership, Centre for Defence Enterprise

The chance of survival for an injured soldier increases dramatically if they receive oxygen, but it is neither safe nor practical to carry heavy, pressurised cylinders onto the battlefield. The first hour after injury – the ’golden hour’ – is when intervention is most valuable.

Technical consultancy Cambridge Design Partnership, working with the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), has developed a solution that provides frontline medics with oxygen to dramatically improve survival rates. The product, which has completed the prototype stage, uses a micro-diesel engine instead of a heavy battery to provide the 100W needed to power an oxygen concentrator.

Diesel is far more energy dense than batteries and can be scavenged if necessary from ground-based vehicles or local sources. The company says that just a small amount of diesel in the engine could provide oxygen for four to five hours. The system also has the potential to use the compact engine as an electrical power source to further reduce the battery burden of dismounted soldiers, which can be as high as 11kg.

Alongside its military application, the product could be used in any situation where power is unreliable or deliveries of oxygen cylinders are not possible, for example, in rural communities in developing countries and during disaster relied.

Cambridge Design Partnership had years of experience developing medical devices but had never worked with the UK MoD before. The CDE acted as a bridge to help the firm understand and tackle the challenges of developing technology for the defence industry.

OmniPerception, Canard Design

The CheckPoint.S system from UK firm OmniPerception can recognise faces in seconds – even when they are moving, at a wide angle or in poor light – by capturing and analysing images and comparing them to a database.

This represents the first time that a facial recognition system has featured both a high-power infrared flash and polarisation in the same enclosure, a particular challenge because of the combination of untested electronic components.

OmniPerception’s camera emits nearinfrared light and uses the reflected waves to scan the subject’s features. If the face matches one on record, the CheckPoint.S system immediately alerts the operator.

The system doesn’t require constant monitoring but the final recognition decision is always left to a human operator. It is also not intended as a replacement for CCTV cameras, which usually look down on a location rather than filming at eye level to record people’s faces.

OmniPerception developed the Checkpoint.S software but needed a partner to develop a security camera sensor unit that could withstand the high voltages and temperatures generated by the technology used. The team therefore worked with Canard Design to develop a functional
device and ensure that the mechanical and electrical elements of the product matched the software.

Chemring Countermeasures, Roke Manor Research

For a ship to fire naval decoys, which disrupt sensor-based missiles, it is often required to manoeuvre into position so its launcher is pointing in the right direction and at the right angle.

Chemring Countermeasures has developed a rotating launcher that stores its rounds vertically, allowing them to be trained on a target without being susceptible to forces that can push them off balance during missile fire, thus making them inaccurate.

The idea came from a visit to the Imperial War Museum that prompted naval sales and marketing director Richard Lord, a former commodore for the Royal Navy, to think about the 4.5in Mk 8 gun that stores rounds vertically in a carousel arrangement. This led to a quick sketch followed by a CAD design and then a process of collaboration within the company and with sister firm Roke Manor Research.

Unlike existing launchers where all countermeasures are stowed near horizontally into a single elevation unit, Centurion stores each round in a way that it can be individually positioned. This means the decoys can be fired in a specific pattern and therefore made much more ship-like,
significantly increasing the probability of advanced missiles being successfully lured away from the ship.

To make the product successful, Chemring had to substantially simplify the design of the motor arrangements and reduce the weight and height. Attaching sections of the cover to individual barrels also reduced the complexity of the system by removing the need for an independent
rotating cover.

The final design will allow ships to respond effectively to mixed (RF and IR) threats, high-intensity multi-directional attacks and single bearing stream attacks. It will also minimise reaction time and reload time and facilitate higher angle firings for steep threats.