Dsei day #2

Last week was the DSEI trade show in London that the CBRNe World staff was on, we presented some of the stuff we found that was new or interesting on the first day and (finally) got round to some of the kit that we found on the second.

First out of the box was another improvement to a respirator. The Scott GSRes, their version of the GSR/FRR that allows transition between positive and negative air solutions, now has a new communication module on it. Sitting on top of the exhalation valve cover the new module provides greatly improved speech clarity. There are also other new product/directions from Scott coming later in the year - we will keep you posted when we can.

There was also a superabundance of new UGVs too. Dok-ING dominated the upper end with their engineering vehicle which has been adapted for CBRN use and is apparently 'perfect' for forensics as it allows the operator to lift the whole car, or small building, onto the back of a low loader for removal to the lab. Slightly further down the scale were the Estonian company MILREM with their catchily titled 'UGV Type 1.' Hitting a massive 50kmh and being able to carry a payload of <600kg it is not a small beast, they showed it at the stand with a .50cal but they have a CBRN variant in the works. Chemring were showing off their latest version of their ground penetrating radar (GPR) on a mid-size UGV, in this case QinetiQ's Talon. The device is more usually seen on the larger Husky, but this smaller version, called R-Visor offers the ability to get into far smaller places. Irish mid-range UGV manufacturer, Remda, have expanded their offering enormously. Previously they were best known for the Irish Army's Hobo platform, but in the past three years have increased their portfolio to include Reacher, Riddler, R-Evolve and the micro UGV 'Remote Disruptor Platform' [I know it begins with R lads, but the last one needs a better name]. Despite getting the bums rush from the Harris stand when more important people turned up (tradeshows!), they were showing their robotics offerings, and perhaps most interesting of all their haptic feedback controller. As opposed to the usual paddle/mushroom controllers this stick provides feedback to the user so that he knows when he has banged into something or is about to crush something with the manipulator.

I also managed to have a chat with the good people at Oerlikon/Rheinmetall about their laser air defence system that I mentioned in the Day #1 new story. This works by tracking a shell or mortar and heating it up with a laser, specifically their 100kw high-energy laser (HEL) gun. Currently the system works by heating up the shell until the HE fill inside it cooks off and explodes. So far so good. What happens when instead of a HE fill there is either a bulk or submunition chem or bio fill? Bio would seemingly have the worst of it, but what about chem? Since the burster charge will have a chem fill around it the heat is not likely to make it explode like it's HE cousins. Could we see the agent vapourise mid flight, crack the casing, have a damaging effect on other elements? Sadly the Oerlikon representative, while fascinated, did not know the answer. Unsurprisingly they have not been asked by any Ministry of Defence for any testing on this, and they had concerns over whether they would legally be able to do it and where! Fascinating subject and one that will need to be answered as HEL air defence becomes more popular.

Finally, and we have mentioned this before in the News, there was the AUADS consortium, which has the ability to take down those pesky UAVs that film your nuclear power plant, scientific research institute or religious cult - full story here

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