Since 2008 the company’s engineers have given more than 15,000 hours of engineering time and expertise and provided access to the cutting edge technologies normally used to develop specialist defence equipment ranging from the Astute submarine to the Typhoon jet fighter .
The work is part of a £1.5million value in kind technology partnership between BAE Systems and UK Sport, the UK’s high performance sports agency, where engineering skills and technology solutions are channelled directly into the areas of elite sports development where it is needed the most, helping athletes to make those all important marginal gains in training and competition.
Since the five-year partnership was launched in 2008, BAE Systems’ engineers have provided expertise to enhance training and equipment, covering events from taekwondo to speed skating and wheelchair racing to sailing.
The biggest successes have included:
• Bob Skeleton: The creation of Arthur, the bob skeleton sled that propelled Amy Williams to Britain’s first individual gold medal in three decades at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games
• Cycling: Using battlefield identification technology to introduce a sophisticated laser timing system at the Manchester Velodrome; allowing up to 30 riders to race each other simultaneously, while coaches track their second-by-second performance in real time
• Disability athletics: Wheelchair racers Shelly Woods and David Weir have spent time in a BAE Systems wind tunnel, normally reserved for testing Eurofighter Typhoons, to examine the aerodynamic flow to highlight their optimal racing position
• Sailing: Using predictive modelling software originally designed for future Unmanned Air Vehicles to help the Royal Yachting Association to improve the accuracy of weather pattern forecasting in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour
Owen Evans, BAE Systems Project Manager said: “The nature of our business requires us to be at the forefront of technology; designing, developing and supporting some of the world’s most complex and challenging engineering projects such as the new generation combat aircraft and nuclear powered submarines. We are proud to be able to pass on some of this expert knowledge to British athletes, to help give them a technology boost and potentially crucial performance advantage.”
Scott Drawer, UK Sport’s Head of Research and Innovation added: “In our mission to support British athletes to be among the most feared when they reach the start line, we have to leave no stone unturned in our quest for success.
“The support we receive via BAE Systems, and our other innovation partners, is key to giving our athletes the edge, both in training and competition; turning our relatively small team at UK Sport into a wider cast of thousands of the UK’s best creative thinkers in science, engineering and technology.”
BAE Systems and UK Sport have their next goal in sight; following detailed ‘human factors’ analysis, they are working with UK Athletics to investigate the design of the racing wheelchair.
About UK Sport
UK Sport is the nation’s high-performance sports agency. Its mission is to work in partnership to lead sport in the UK to world class success. Primarily this means working with our partner sporting organisations to deliver medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. But it also gives us responsibility for activities best delivered at a UK level, such as: bidding for and staging major sporting events in this country; increasing our sporting activity and influence overseas; and promoting sporting conduct, ethics and diversity in society. UK Sport is funded by a mix of Government Exchequer and Lottery income, as well as private investment through Team 2012. More @ www.uksport.gov.uk.