Fast Boat Innovations at DSEi London 2011
DSEi 2011 – The Defence & Security International Exhibition held at ExCel London from 13th to 16th September is recognised internationally as a leading exhibition for land, sea and air applications of defence and security products, technology and services.
The objectives set for DSEi by the organisers Clarion Events were, ‘more visitors from more countries and more for them to see’. It was clear from the mix of stands and international attendees that DSEi 2011 attracted professionals from around the world.
As DSEi is an integrated exhibition there were numerous electronics and communication systems on display that share technology between land, air and sea operations. This overview highlights innovative equipment and new systems that are relevant to military and law enforcement RIB & High Speed Craft operations worldwide.
Fastcraft and Hovercraft
Craft on display included, BAE Systems Halmatic RIBs, XSMG interceptors and Zodiac inflatables. The changing role of fast marine craft includes analysing which ship or helicopter tasks could be shared by the next generation of extreme high speed craft. Hovercraft are a crossover transport platform and exhibitors ranged from Griffon military and paramilitary hovercraft to the small and multi-tasking HovPod that is designed to run over water, ice, snow, sand, mud and grass.
Marine Suspension Seating
Suspension seats for RIBs and High Speed Craft included the specialist ranges from Ullman and Scott Seats. A number of armoured vehicle seating specialists that have experience in the vibration caused by off road driving and the shock effects of blast mitigating seating are now looking at crossing over into the high speed marine sector. Military vehicle suspension seating on display at DSEi has similarities with wheelhouse seating for displacement and semi-displacement craft but they find the size and weight constraints of fast open boats a challenge.
Lightweight Ballistic Protection
It is a changing world and professional RIB and High Speed Craft boat builders now need to offer ballistic protection in their proposals. New tenders for boats with ballistic specifications are not just for the military. In many parts of the world police, border agencies, customs and homeland security craft need ballistic protection for new builds and retro-fit. Naval vessel armour is used to provide personnel protection onboard, especially in critical areas. Lightweight solutions on display included rubberised materials and high performance polyethylene.
Unmanned Surface Craft
The ultimate form of shock mitigation is to take the man off of the boat. Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) at DSEi ranged from small drones and target boats to complex high performance craft. UK company ASV displayed USVs that can be used for Mine counter Measures (MCM), Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) and Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW). The Piranha is a 16 metre (53 feet) unmanned surface craft built from Arovex carbon fibre with a range of over 2000 nautical miles.
Boarding Gear & Asset Protection
Boarding poles and ladders are now standard tools for special forces, navies and police forces around the world. Systems on display at DSEi were lighter and stronger with numerous innovations. Vessel arrest systems were demonstrated to protect ships, harbours and ports from intrusion and attack. Propeller entanglement systems on display included static and pneumatic launched variations.
Protecting Boat Crews & Passengers
Personal equipment on display at DSEi included new drysuits and technical solutions for warmth in cold climates and cooling in hot climates. Specialist lifejackets included fire retardant materials and combination systems for body armour. Helmets for boat crews ranged from full ballistic helmets to the multi-purpose Gecko marine helmet. Glove selection for boat operators has always been a balance between waterproofing, warmth and the ability to handle navigation, electronics and equipment. As boat operations get faster simple solutions such as fog-free goggles and glasses are essential.
DSEi 2011 showcased many companies from around the world that are focussed on improving equipment for all aspects of marine operations.
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