Williams Advanced Engineering is working with the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) to develop innovative battlefield shelter protection for troops using Formula One-derived technology and processes created in-house at Williams to create composite 3D structures that can be deployed in theatre.
Williams Advanced Engineering has developed composite technologies and processes enabling the creation of strong, protective but lightweight structures and the company sees huge potential in implementing them in the DASA ‘Take Cover’ competition, which calls for innovative approaches to battlefield protective structures. This is the company’s first submission and successful bid to DASA. Williams believes that its proposal will enable the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to become a leader in implementing advanced composite materials across all of its operational activities, using a British-born innovation.
Williams’ composite technology allows innovative approaches to the use of fibre-reinforced polymer and unlocks the use of composites for modular structures, allowing for the integration of varying levels of protection depending on the requirement.
Current temporary structures used on the battlefield traditionally use materials such as corrugated iron, sandbags and mechanical fasteners. Typically, this will lead to difficulties surrounding transportation and on-the-ground deployment, due to the weight and volume of parts needed. Furthermore, the mechanical properties, such as the specific strength, of corrugated iron are in many ways significantly lower than an equivalent piece made of continual glass fibre-reinforced polymer. This demonstrates that structures used on the battlefield can be improved through the introduction of more advanced materials, which will also reduce the number of parts and volume of components. That the material properties of composite technologies offer significant mass advantage over traditional materials such as steels and other alloys is widely-known, but issues surrounding production tooling, ease of handling and cost have constrained composites to low-volume high-performance applications.
This was the driving factor behind Williams Advanced Engineering innovating a new composites technology to revolutionise applications where rapid manufacture, ease of assembly and low cost are essential. With an extensive history of composite innovation in motorsport, aerospace and automotive sectors, Williams was perfectly-placed to develop this technology.
For more information on the DASA ‘Take Cover’ competition please see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-competition-take-cover.