QinetiQ signs 5 million aircrew research contract

QinetiQ has signed a £5 million four year contract with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to undertake research to improve military aircrew performance and protection. Working with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and academia, QinetiQ will undertake ten research projects.

With world class scientific, engineering, physiology, psychology and medical experts, combined with unique facilities, including centrifuge, hypobaric and climatic chambers, QinetiQ is able to provide a capability to deliver research to the MOD. The research enables the MOD to make better decisions on equipment procurement, training and understanding of technology for the future.

The contract will involve the delivery of ten research projects, drawing on QinetiQ’s test and evaluation expertise, including:

  • Understanding the risks associated with inhaling high concentrations of oxygen while in the G environment associated with modern jets
  • Better understand the potential risk of long term effects of repeated high-altitude flying
  • Optimising the balance between necessary hearing protection and maintaining an awareness of important audible cues
  • Test and evaluation of current and future aircraft and helicopter seat technology to ensure suitable protection to aircrew and passengers
  • Assessing materials designed to protect aircrew against lasers to quantify unwanted side-effects such as impaired vision
  • Development of a better understanding the causes and effects of fatigue on aircrew and developing military aircrew tailored solutions such as scheduling tools to help reduce risk
  • Mitigating the risk of spatial disorientation in flight by recording incidents and interpreting findings for use in pilot training
  • Conducting evaluation and computer modelling to understand the role of helmet and helmet mounted equipment in muscle fatigue and injury, and offering evidence based advice to reduce the risk
  • Testing and evaluating operational clothing to find the optimum balance between comfort during missions and protection against the elements in survival situations
  • Development of an ejection injury criterion to improve ejection safety for fast jet aircrew

Gaz Borland, Managing Director for QinetiQ’s Air business said, “This contract builds on our established reputation of being experts in human performance, especially in the air world. Working with academia and SMEs we will be able to help the MOD on the best ways to protect and improve the working environment of aircrew, whether this be through technology or medical research. We will be able to maintain the UK’s capability in aerospace medicine whether in military or civil industry.”

Notes for Editors:

  • A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its world class knowledge, research and innovation to provide high-end technical expertise and advice, to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ's unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments as well as other international customers in targeted sectors.
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