In light of the success of international maritime exercise Formidable Shield 2017, which took place at the QinetiQ managed Outer Hebrides Ranges, we thought we’d look back on another fantastic trial which also took place on one of the Scottish Ranges we manage, MOD West Freugh.
Hosting the first UK demonstration of a system to capture returning capsules as they parachute in
In August 2016, when leading parachute designer and manufacturer Airborne Systems wanted to demonstrate its innovative satellite retrieval system to organisations including Lockheed Martin, NASA and the European Space Agency, aviation services provider PDG Helicopters chose the MOD West Freugh Range that we operate under the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA).
Facilities operated by QinetiQ for the UK Ministry of Defence under the LTPA are often used to support commercial projects for third party customers. In this case, PDG Helicopters needed professional Range services so its client could demonstrate innovative new technology to invited guests including Lockheed Martin, NASA, the ESA and UK Space Agency.
A world leader in Entry, Descent and Landing Systems, Airborne Systems invented 3rd Generation Mid-Air Retrieval technology, which is now being evaluated for various space and military applications including rocket booster recovery and satellites.
“Airborne Systems and PDG hope to integrate MAR with the UK National Space Technology Programme, making mid-air retrieval of returning boosters, engines and other payloads a mainstay of the UK programme,” says Kurt Hempe, Airborne Systems. “MAR is an old idea whose time has come – and the West Freugh Range enabled us to successfully demonstrate our enhanced technique in the UK.”
“This project needed a rapid turnaround,” says Kenny Kirkpatrick, Group Leader, MOD West Freugh. “This included helping to provide QinetiQ’s Air Hazardous Activity Scrutiny Panel (AHASP) with all the information it needed, and helping to ensure we had the various competencies required to support the activity. We drew on resources and capability central to the LTPA.”“QinetiQ provided an excellent service. Doing this demonstration on a properly managed and maintained Range was absolutely the right call.”
Unusual aerial activity
“This demonstration was a great reflection on QinetiQ as a company and what it does best, and in particular as the business continues to transform itself. QinetiQ delivered what we needed: they got it right.”
Challenges and Solutions
For more information contact: customercontact@QinetiQ.com