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SDE breaks cover to show capability and develop international markets By Julian Nettlefold


SDE-DSCF1767mrDSEi Debut – Excel 15-18 September 2015 – Stand S4-268, UK Pavilion

11 Aug 15. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold visited System Design Evaluation Ltd (SDE) at its Hertfordshire, UK Headquarters for an exclusive pre-DSEI brief.

SDE (System Design Evaluation Ltd), a small British independent defence technology company, which provides technical expertise covering platforms, munitions and weapon systems across the land, sea and air domains, will make its debut appearance at the DSEi exhibition in London in September.  SDE will showcase its mature capability in areas including assessment, design engineering, research, development and modelling, safety and trials management and procurement.

Founded in 1986, it is a wholly owned subsidiary of Radec Engineering Limited, a privately owned company registered in the UK.  SDE’s core business is the provision of impartial assessment, design, development and safety management of platforms, munitions and weapon systems.

The company’s participation in DSEi is part of a wider growth and development strategy to build on its highly successful 30-year track record through entry into wider international markets and the formation of new alliances and partnerships.  Historically, SDE has delivered its services capability through a relatively small and select group of prime contractors, project teams, government agencies and industry partners.

“Can you give an overview of SDE’s activities?” The Editor asked Ian Beaton.

”Over the years, SDE has established and brought together an unique team of people, many of whom are acknowledged leading experts in their individual fields – some at an international level.  We have also developed a proven set of advanced and sophisticated systems, tools, methodologies and processes which support what we do.  This gives us the ability to respond to a very wide range of programmes and specific requirements, with a multi-disciplined team of exactly the right people with the right knowledge and experience.  Now is the time for us to offer that capability to a wider audience.” SDE Managing Director, Ian Beaton said.

“How many staff do you employ?”

“The company is around 50 strong and operates a mix of full time staff and associates who may be brought in to support particular programmes and projects. We operate with a multi-discipline core team of highly qualified specialists, supplemented by a network of engineers, scientists, analysts and contractors.”

“Can you give examples of your customer base?”

“We are a LIST-X and ISO-9001 Company with 16% of our business being outside the UK. We deal with Projects involving all three services, Land Sea and Air, with Naval business being 24% of our business, 8% Air with the remainder being Land, Police and Security work. We have a large contract with BAE Systems on the Type 26, 45 and CVF ships and work with them on the 4.5 inch Naval Gun Programme. We have a broad and loyal customer base which ranges from working in support of major defence primes to tasks provided directly to Government procurement and research organisations. UK’s DE&S is our largest customer with whom we work on a number of projects across all of our business areas.”

“Can you give more detail on your land systems activities?”

“We have developed a particular expertise in the Counter IED and explosive ordnance areas and to that end we are involved in supporting DE&S with subject matter experts to the Talisman mid-life upgrade Programme. We also have a particular expertise in weapons and ballistics and to that end we are involved in evaluation and testing of the CTAI 40mm canon for DE&S and ammunition development for an international customer. We are also actively involved in modelling and testing of a fuze system for another client. We were involved in an infantry load assessment for Program SWEAT with SAIC in the USA, but unfortunately this failed to attract further funding. We are also involved in a UK research programme exploring the benefits of passing data from soldier to soldier via data and power enabled small arms.   SDE has the capability to work on projects from small arms thru 40mm up to 155mm. We have been a member of Niteworks for three years.”

Currently, the company’s operations fall generally into four areas of business – defence systems and services; trials management; safety and environmental management – and design and modelling.

Defence Systems & Services

SDE provides advice and technical expertise across the soldier systems and Weapons, Ordnance, Munitions and Explosives (WOME) domains.  It has a particular understanding of systems engineering processes and the CADMID cycle (Concept, Assessment, Development, Manufacturing, In-service, Disposal).  It provides a wide range of scientific and technical advice on weapons, munitions and energetic materials, augmented by a comprehensive modelling and trials capability.  This includes Integrated Test, Evaluation and Acceptance (ITEA).  SDE has a vast experience in the quantitative assessment and analysis of the effect of new capability on the performance and effectiveness of the individual soldier, section, platoon and company of both mounted and dismounted troops.

Trials Management

The company offers a comprehensive trials service which includes planning and management, plus analysis of data and reporting.  Agreements are in place with a number of UK and overseas trials and evaluation facilities and the company is also authorised to conduct firing trials on UK MoD land and ranges.  In addition, trials can be conducted utilising SDE’s suite of comprehensive and fully portable trials instrumentation and equipment.  SDE’s trials team have extensive experience of undertaking trials across the complete range from simple technical trials through to complex measures of performance and measures of effectiveness programmes.

Safety and Environmental Management

Safety and environmental management is one of SDE’s strongest areas of expertise.  The company has undertaken a significant number of munitions Safety Case Reports (SCRs) for UK MoD for equipment, systems and platforms in use with all three services.  SDE has formulated many of the standards and developed the safety and environmental management processes and procedures which are in common use and it also provides Independent Safety Auditor (ISA) support.

Design & Modelling

SDE has significant experience in advanced engineering applications including Computer Aided Design (CAD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Kinematic and Hydrocode Modelling, Ballistics and System Performance, to support a wide range of research, design, development and procurement programmes.  SDE offers a selection of numerical modelling and simulation services to support the development of mission-critical systems for defence customers.

The company has developed a considerable portfolio of expertise in the application of Hydrocode modelling techniques for analysis of ultra-high-speed events. Using ANSYS Autodyn, SDE engineers can simulate a variety of highly-complex physical phenomenon, including projectile penetration, blast wave formation & structural interactions, and sympathetic reaction of energetic materials.

SDE also offers similar design and modelling services and expertise to customers in other sectors including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing and oil and gas.

During DSEi, SDE will hold specific focus days which will major on defined key areas of activity and expertise, supported in each case by the firm’s sector team leaders.  We look forward to finding out more about the Company.


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