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MAJOR GENERAL CAREW WILKS

04 Apr 12. DVD 2012 is shaping up to be one of the highlights of the year for those of us involved in equipment and support for the UK’s Land Forces. Bringing together the acquisition community with military personnel and industry, the event will take place on 20-21 June at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire and will include informal discussions, briefings and demonstrations.

As well as showcasing how we are supporting operations in Afghanistan, DVD 2012 will particularly recognise the growing benefits of a systems approach in the Land environment, with the main theme being systems integration and the development of a Land Open Systems Architecture (LOSA). LOSA seeks to develop and encourage systems integration and interoperability so we can have coherent military units for peace time training and for operations, now and into the future.

It may sound dry, but systems engineering and integration are, put simply, the basis for future platform success. Military units such as an infantry platoon or a combat logistic patrol consists of three basic platforms: soldiers, vehicles and headquarters or bases. LOSA’s development will encourage systems included on these platforms to be multi-role and compatible with those from different companies – making our equipment more efficient, in terms of both cost and usability.

To enable this, the MOD is producing a generic architecture for each platform. These are open standards which standardise the interfaces to the infrastructure, power and data and, in the case of headquarters or bases, water, waste and fuel. They will be available to anyone wishing to build a sub-system that will connect to the infrastructure. This means that sub-systems can be quickly and easily added, changed or updated as needed.

DVD 2012 provides an opportunity to capture and share the unique knowledge and skills in this area of work through demonstration of varying capabilities and how they fit together. Practical demonstrations by exhibitors will bring this subject to life and will build on the work of soldier, vehicle and base architectures. A mock Forward Operating Base will be displayed, offering a good example of where systems like toilets, kitchens, accommodation provided by different manufacturers can link to the power, data, water, waste and fuel infrastructure through the use of open standards. There will also be a representational operations room where we can bring together and display a wide variety of data from across the exhibition. Visitors will be able to see what the various participant systems are doing, how they are performing and we hope this will include imagery and streaming video.

Such exhibitions will allow us to highlight the challenges we face in today’s world. Our platforms and systems need to be able to cope with these – or be easily adapted to cope with them. To take Afghanistan as an example – a single road trip of just a few miles could involve a vehicle using roads, wadis and other difficult terrain, all of which needs to be taken account of in platform and system development. In parallel to this, we need to increase the use of communication and situational awareness across the battlefield. I hope DVD 2012 will challenge and encourage all stakeholders to meet the higher demands that an open systems approach brings.

DVD is a well-established opportunity to bring together MOD and industry to focus on equipment capabilities in the Land sector. It’s an excellent forum to exchange ideas, review new technologies and promote innovation in both defence and industry. The scale of DVD 2012 highlights the huge volume of manufacturers that exist to support our platforms in-service. It will showcase a cross-section of this industrial capability and allow us to highlight the success that the MOD has achieved in recent years in taking the best on offer into operational deployment.

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