- Systems Engineer
KDC are now recruiting for one of our biggest clients within the Defence industry! This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced Systems Engineer to join their team in London. So, if you are looking for your next challenge and have a proven background with radar systems, this could be the role you have been waiting for! The Ideal candidate will have experience in handling complex engineering projects using a variety of sensors as inputs, defining the network interconnections and the appropriate systems to meet the customer requirements, and signing off the requirements against the final system design. They will be focussed on delivering projects on time and to specification and have a track record of doing so. They should also be familiar with all aspects of the systems engineering lifecycle and be capable of demonstrating that capability. Job details: Definition and delivery of Systems solutions for the Security Solutions business Technical support to Business development, including generating information to support bids, technical presentations to customers, generation of product specifications and attendance at customer meetings. Provide technical design solutions to support proposed system changes and bids ensuring appropriate compliance with customer, business and legislative requirements including safety. Adopt a consistent approach to systems engineering activities throughout the design life cycle. Take an active involvement in new product design, providing system level input from product definition through to release into production. Maintain and support legacy/delivered systems including visits to customer sites and installations where necessary. Monitor and, where possible, introduce up to date technology into our clients system designs. Travel within the UK and overseas is required and is considered a frequent feature of this role. This could be required at short notice. It may also involve deployments of up to 4 weeks at a time. Assist in the development and specification of software features where required to meet system requirements. Key Features: Knowledge of product development, engineering change management, systems engineering and quality systems and their practical application. Knowledge Multi Sensor system design and performance analysis Proven experience of integration and demonstration of equipment and subsequent acceptance by customer / end users Proven experience of sensor integration into varied platforms Proven technical skills, relating to effective systems engineering, practical application of quality assurance and configuration control, as well as appropriate document generation. Proven experience of working on multiple complex engineering programmes for both internal development (PV) and customer projects Good Knowledge of the Use of DOORS and Jira to track compliance to requirements and ensure accurate traceable completion of projects. Knowledge Radar, RF devices, Communications systems, Networking, or electro-optical camera solutions would be an advantage. Skills and Qualifications: · Degree level qualification in Engineering / Mathematics / Science subject (or equivalent relevant experience)Read more
- Aircraft Certifying Staff - Technician - CAT B2
Aircraft Certifying Staff - Technician - CAT B2 KDC are now recruiting for one of the largest clients in the urban air mobility sector. This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced Aircraft Certifying Technician CAT B2 with an EASA Part 66 Licence CAT B2 to join their team in Germany. If you are looking for a compelling new opportunity and have experience in working with AOG situations, then this could be the role for you. Our Client Our client is an industry leader in the development of electrical air taxis that take off and land vertically (eVTOL). They plan to offer an air taxi service that can save people time by flying them directly to their destination. The Role This position has surfaced as our client is looking for an experienced certifying staff member to support the installation and establishment of a new and ambitious Part-145 Maintenance Organisation. You will be supporting the Flight test team from a technical perspective as well as supporting other internal teams in completing the claim for flexibility. You will be responsible for maintaining the avionic and electrical systems as well as inserting A/C and component data into AMOS and then using the data to support the evaluation of maintenance tasks. After completing all set-up phases, you will have a position within the Part-145 Organisation. Role Requirements Holding an EASA Part-66 License CAT B2 English fluent (written and spoken) EWIS training (not older than 12 months preferred) Human Factors training (not older than 12 months preferred) Experienced with AOG-Situations / Onsite Maintenance activities and customer dialogue Experience as Certifying Staff CAT B2 for more than 3 years Preferred experience Experience with and passion for continuous improvement and reporting Working in an international environment for more than 1 year Experience with the maintenance software "AMOS" is beneficial Trained in first aid Instructed on high voltage systems is beneficial This role includes a full relocation package as well as competitive salary and benefits. If you want to be part of the exciting journey our client is taking in pioneering the air taxi industry and feel you have the right qualities to aid them in this ambitious undertaking, please do not hesitate to apply.Read more
- Senior Focal Plane Systems Engineer
Senior Focal Plane Systems Engineer KDC are currently seeking an Head of Software for one of the Top 3 European Space Companies and around 2,800 employees work on the some the most important Space programs of our time in Germany and other EU countries. In this position you shall become the technically responsible Systems Engineer for the Focal Plane Systems of one of our Earth Observation or Science projects. Your tasks Elaboration, development and accommodation of technical baseline solutions on the basis of customer requirements and budgets. Technical coordination of a multidiscipline engineering team with the focus on an the following output: Focal Plane Architecture Definition and Justification Interface Concepts and Definition Development Logic Definition Coordination of related performance analysis Select and define the system design and to reflect it into the relevant technical design, requirement and performance documentation. Ensure design integrity, perform requirements analysis and design integration as answer to customer specifications. Ensure proper flow-down and allocation of lower level subs-system requirements and budgets and maintain them up to date during the program lifetime. Lead the engineering team effort for design trade-offs between disciplines such as thermal, structural, mechanical, optical, electrical, etc. Lead Focal Plane system level integration and verification effort with focus on electro-optical characterization. Definition and realization of electro-optical verification set-ups. Evaluation of electro-optical data generated by supplier at OHB laboratory. Contribute to OHB technology development process in the context of focal planes and detector technology. Support technical discussion with the customer. Provide and coordinate support to subcontractors selection and control. Your Qualifications University (TU) or polytechnic degree in Physics or Engineering. Organized and structured task approach, experience in technical co-ordination of a multidisciplinary international engineering team. 5 years experience as Systems Engineer or Design Responsible for scientific focal plane assemblies and associated technology, ideally for space applications. Ideally, experience in the development logic of space projects, as well as significant H / W experience in the phases C and D including electro-optical characterization. Experience in engineering economics. Organized and structured task approach, experience in technical coordination of a multidisciplinary engineering team. Team work, good conceptual, analytical and organizational skills. Good communication and negotiation skills. Fluency in spoken and written English, German skills requested over the medium-term. The client offers a full relocation package where needed with a generous benefits package. If you’re interested in the role please contact me by applying or calling me on +44 01202 596374.Read more
- Programme Manager
KDC Resource are now recruiting for a new Programme Manager to join one of our busiest clients based in the Dorset area. If you are looking for your next challenge within the Aerospace and Defence sector this could be the next role for you! The lucky candidate will have the chance to lead the management and coordination of all activities related to the fulfilment of assigned customer orders for our client from the time a program is handed over by the sales department until programme closure. In this position, you will be required to lead an Integrated Project Team (IPT) structure and have primary responsibility to maintain the programme performance and adherence to contractual obligations in respect to delivery, quality, cost, and weight criteria. Key Responsibilities: Lead program task and team meetings in an efficient manner. Follow up on open items with each individual prior to their due date. Agree and maintain OEM submittal requirements and due dates. Estimate resources and participants required to achieve project goals. Where required, negotiate with department managers for the support of required personnel. Identify and manage project dependencies and critical path and continually manage project expectations with team members and other stakeholders. Identify and resolve issues and conflicts within the project team and when not solved in team meetings escalate to the Head of Programmes. Define priorities within the project and agree on delegation of tasks and responsibilities to appropriate personnel with clear accountability within the program team. Supervise all BFE activities, including the timely placement and receipt of BFE orders, required for CDR, test and production seats. Ensure IFE test equipment is loaded with correct software level and is functioning properly to test the required system within contract specifications. Skills and Experience: 5+ years’ relevant project management or equivalent experience. Aircraft interior experience desirable. Experience in Managing Project Profit & Loss Education. Degree educated in Engineering, Science, Business, or a related field. Desirably holding a formal PM Qualification. PRINCE 2 Practitioner, AGILE Practitioner Skills and competencies Strong, proven customer relations skills are required. Must possess strong negotiation skills and the ability to positively influence customer decisions, while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. Results orientated with a proven track record of meeting commitments. Strong problem-solving skills with the ability to exercise mature judgment are required. Ability to multi-task and operate in a fast-paced, high pressure environment. Excellent organization skills are essential. Must have excellent internal and external communication and presentation skills. Ability to take initiative and work with minimum supervision.Read more
- Safety and Reliability Engineer
Wetzikon Z H
Safety and Reliability Engineer KDC are looking for a Safety and Reliability Engineer, and we are working with: A helicopter company based in Wetzikon, Switzerland that is developing a number of cutting-edge rotorcraft. They are rapidly growing their engineering teams and are looking for an experienced Safety and Reliability Engineer who will perform and conduct safety activities and programs in a timely and cost effective way, being the point of contact for any safety topics within the design organisation. What you’ll need: The right to work in Switzerland – Swiss nationals, EU nationals or other permit. A degree (Bsc or Msc) in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering or equivalent 5 years’ experience in aviation industry, experience in rotorcraft industry Familiar with Reliability Analysis/Prediction tools and Safety Analysis software tools Knowledge of SAE ARP4761 and ARP4754A methodologies. Knowledge of aerospace regulations (e.g. FAR 27/CS-27, FAR 29/CS-29, AC 27-1B, AC 23.1309-1E, AMC 25.1309) You will be: Planning and conducting safety activities according to the safety programs. Preparing the hazard and safety assessments, parts classification, safety programs and methodologies. Preparing, supporting, and managing the Rotors, Transmissions and Flight Controls FMEA and lead the Design Assessment process. Supporting the parts classification and critical parts identification and justification. Acting as a point of contact for safety topics for the product within the Design Organisation. Implementing safety methodologies. Supporting the Airworthiness Review Board and Maintenance Review Board. Liaising with the engineering design departments, airworthiness department and customer support. Liaising with suppliers. You will have a chance to contribute to the safety of futuristic aviation projects, develop new skills and build your expertise with cutting edge technologies. Our client also offers a competitive salary and benefits package. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can be part of this exciting project, then please click apply.Read more
- Head of Software
Head of Software KDC are currently seeking an Head of Software for one of the Top 3 European Space Companies and around 2,800 employees work on the some the most important Space programs of our time in Germany and other EU countries. Your tasks Strategic and operational management and control of the entire “Software” division and participation in cross-divisional initiatives Technical and organizational development of the area in line with the corporate strategy and corporate goals Support of the board in strategic planning as well as in the planning of company goals and participation in cross-departmental improvement programs to increase efficiency Close cooperation with the other department heads, especially on cross-departmental issues Responsibility for the entire personnel capacity of the area including the filling of direct subordinate management positions as well as other key positions in the projects Reduction of the company risk, e.g. to avoid single sources Further development of directly subordinate employees as well as active support of the department heads in the further development of their employees in the context of personnel development Control and regular evaluation of the work results, schedules, costs, quality and effectiveness of the divisional activities, as well as the creation and implementation of improvement measures and KPIs Contact person, motivator and sparring partner for managers, employees and project managers Ensuring a cross-project transfer of knowledge, e.g. securing the further participation of SE architects in SE activities and through regular exchange with the project managers Responsibility for the optimization of existing processes, introduction of new processes, tools and technologies as well as participation in internal and external audits Advice on very important, critical or difficult decisions for the projects as well as support in the preparation of offers Important contact internally for the other area and project managers as well as externally for customers and suppliers Establish and maintain important relationships with customers, suppliers, decision makers and other industry executives Observation of competitor offers, industry trends and new technologies as well as analysis and derivation of appropriate measures Your qualifications Successfully completed technical studies in the relevant area Many years of professional experience in space travel Several years of experience in leading and motivating managers and employees Excellent communication skills Strong entrepreneurial mindset, a high degree of result orientation and cost awareness Very good knowledge of employee and organizational development as well as knowledge management Interest in new topics and innovations Integrity and fairness, a self-confident and winning demeanour as well as a strong ability to convince and be enthusiastic Very good knowledge of the customer, competitor and supplier landscape as well as the internal business model Very good written and spoken German and English The client offers a full relocation package where needed with a generous benefits package. If you’re interested in the role please contact me by applying or calling me on +44 01202 596374.Read more
- Battery Pack Aseembly Technician
Battery Pack Assembly Technician KDC are looking for a Battery pack assembly technician, and we are working with: Leading German eVTOL companies to deliver the world’s future transportation. They have been established for more than a decade and are rapidly expanding their Engineering team due to their recent success. We are looking for a Battery Pack Assembly Technician to organise materials and assemble battery system integrating electronic components from work instructions and assembly drawings. What you’ll need: 2+ years related experience in battery/aerospace parts assembly or another technical field Proficient in using electrical test equipment and basic inspection tools (caliper, height gauge) Strong knowledge of Lithium-Ion battery hardware Highschool degree Prototyping experience High voltage experience You will have the chance to: Contribute to the future of aviation. Build up projects from scratch. Take part in New learning opportunities giving you the chance to grow. Work in modern workspaces with flexible work times and a great team spirit environment. Additional information: Fast-growing high-tech environment High-profile investors and partners Competitive salary packages If you are interested in finding out more about how you can help change the future transportation in aviation, then please click apply.Read more
- Senior Aerodynamics Airframe Engineer
Aerodynamics engineer KDC are looking for a Aerodynamics Engineer, and we are working with: Leading German eVTOL companies to deliver the world’s future transportation. They have been established for more than a decade and are rapidly expanding their Engineering team due to their recent success. We are looking for an aerodynamics engineer with experience in aerodynamics simulations, who has knowledge of the Multiphysics simulations, CFD and analysis methods. You’ll work closely with a highly motivated team alongside, flight control experts, aerodynamics and structural designers to assist in the development process. What you’ll need: Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering degree. Minimum 4 years’ experience with aircraft aerodynamics and flight mechanics. Experience in rotorcraft and aircraft simulations with STAR-CCM+. Proficient knowledge of data reduction and processing methods. Proficient with scripting languages (e.g., Python). You will have the chance to: Contribute to the future of aviation. Build up projects from scratch. Take part in New learning opportunities giving you the chance to grow. Work in modern workspaces with flexible work times and a great team spirit environment. Additional information: Fast-growing high-tech environment. Supreme network of investors and partners. Competitive salary packages. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can help change the future transportation in aviation, then please click apply.Read more
Aerospace and Defence
KDC Resource has been operating in the aerospace and defence sector since 2002. We work with the world’s leading defence and civil aerospace companies to source and place high quality permanent and contract talent. We understand organisations like these need the finest engineering talent in order to help them develop some of the most sophisticated technologies in the world. We are currently engaged in finding leading technical talent for projects – among others – that are linked to the national defence of the United Kingdom. Our specialist team have successfully supported our clients find leading talent for roles across: Part 21 J, Certification, Cabin Interiors, Design, Avionics Design, Structures, Electrical Design, Compliance Verification Engineer (CVE), Head of Design, Airworthiness and EASA. KDC Resource is actively working on similar roles requiring industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels. Scroll down to learn more. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
The private Space sector is relatively young. The decommissioning of the Space Shuttle Programme was an opportunity for private businesses to support NASA with its operations both in orbit and beyond. Elsewhere in the world organisations are pioneering new satellite technologies, unmanned probes and innovative new ways to combat space junk. KDC Resource are proud to be working with a number of these organisations providing highly skilled technical talent into Flight Dynamics, AOCS, Earth Observation, GNSS, Mission Operations, Ground Segment and Payload. Our specialist recruitment consultants are actively searching for industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels including Systems Engineers, Payload Engineers, AOCS Engineers, Product Assurance Engineers, RF Engineers and Control Engineers. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
Emerging and Disruptive Technologies
The world is always changing and that brings new opportunities and new innovations. At KDC Resource, our emerging and disruptive technologies team works with organisations that upset the status quo. Whether that’s how we travel or how we use technology to revolutionise mundane tasks. We have recruited for roles across the eVTOL, Urban Mobility, Electric Vehicle, Drone, Energy, Battery Technology, Autonomous Systems and Composite Structure markets. Including roles such as Battery Systems Engineers, Flight Control Law Engineers, AI Software Developers, Prototype Engineers, Autonomous System Engineers, and Safety and Reliability Engineers. Our specialist recruitment consultants are actively searching for industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common and businesses of all sizes are struggling to muster a meaningful defence. There are genuine concerns that critical infrastructure could be targeted by hackers or by enemy states in event of a conflict. Which is why finding the best cyber security and technology specialists takes experts. We are proud to work with some of the market leaders in this vital industry to find top tier candidates to fulfil cybersecurity roles at every level. Roles we recruit for include: Penetration Testers, Ethical Hackers, Security Analysts, Cyber Security Architects, Software Engineers, Technical Project Managers, AI Engineers, Sales Managers and Cyber Account Executives. Our specialist recruitment consultants are actively searching for industry leading professionals to fulfil roles at all levels. Or if you’d like to partner with KDC to support your talent search then click here to learn more.View jobs
What people are saying
Whether you’re looking for a contract or permanent position, we’re here to support you in your search. Upload your CV today, and a member of the team will be in touch.
What we do
We work with industry leaders in aerospace, defence, space, emerging and disruptive technology and cyber security to source the best technical and engineering talent on the market.
We train our specialist recruitment consultants to find the right mix of skills, experience, and personality to ensure the perfect candidate and client placement.
Over 150,000 candidates trust us to manage and fulfil their career aspirations.
We’re committed to giving candidates and clients the best possible recruitment experience. That’s why KDC Resource is accredited by the REC & AUG and certified to BS EN ISO 9001 standard.
The Applications of eVTOL Aircraft Beyond Passenger Transport
While the most widely-known use of eVTOLs is in passenger transport, this is not the only application in development. Using eVTOLs for roles in agriculture, logistics, and emergency medical services will involve the same fundamental concepts as passenger aircraft, but are arguably more realistic and achievable visions based on current regulations and technology. Focusing on these areas will not only provide companies with revenue to fund passenger projects but will also provide them with valuable test scenarios and data to make their other aircraft safer and more efficient. eVTOL in Agriculture Generally speaking, industrial agriculture has remained unchanged for too long. Most farmers still use manual (albeit technologically-aided) planting and harvesting methods, although this is shifting to a more autonomous and tech-based model. Robotic systems and GPS technology allow for more precise crop monitoring and less reliance on blanket fertilisation methods. But this is also where eVTOL technology comes in. Guardian Agriculture is one such company that is focusing on the relevance of eVTOLs in crop farming. Its eVTOLs are fully autonomous and use data collected during routine checks to protect crops from various threats. This includes everything from moisture and fertilizer monitoring to crop dusting and has the potential to vastly increase overall farm efficiency. Guardian Agriculture’s business model is simple: it plans to shift many of the time-consuming and error-prone procedures to a fully autonomous, drone-based process. For example, crop dusting typically involves dumping pesticides across a whole field, which is both time- and resource-intensive. By using eVTOL technology, farmers can specifically target crop areas suffering from pest problems, while leaving the rest of the field untouched. The VoloDrone will be able to offer similar applications, although Volocopter plans to make it flexible across different industries. It can carry payloads of up to 200kg at a range of 40km, which is suitable for logistics, construction, and agriculture purposes, to name but a few. eVTOL in Logistics The application of eVTOL technology in logistics should be immediately obvious. We have discussed this in more detail in a previous post, but eVTOL technology is currently being trialled by companies including UPS, the Royal Mail, and Amazon. While it might not completely replace land-based logistics, it will help with deliveries to remote locations in much less time than a van or lorry. Google’s Swift drone is perhaps worth mentioning due to its slightly different business model. It is specifically designed for short-range, light-payload deliveries, and will likely see applications in food and convenience industries. In April 2020, the Swift drone delivered packages of food and medicine to residents in lockdown in Virginia, USA. The test period saw more than 1,000 flights in two weeks and highlights the benefit of eVTOL technology in aiding vulnerable people. In the future, we might also see this model adopted in disaster relief situations. Another notable logistics eVTOL is the Nuuva V300 from Pipistrel. Rather than a small, short-range drone, the Nuuva V300 can carry payloads of up to 300kg with a range of up to 300km. The company plans to offer a solution to traditional cargo aircraft that is simpler and more energy efficient. The Nuuva V300 is a hybrid-electric eVTOL, and part of its appeal is that it uses existing technology. While not the most optimal technology for this purpose, the benefit is that it is lower risk than novel technology, which means it is already certified and Pipistrel is aware of its failings. This helps to reduce overall production and operating costs and means it can get its aircraft on the market sooner. Using eVTOL technology in logistics has numerous benefits. It allows for cheap and lightweight cargo to be shipped more quickly and efficiently and will reduce road traffic. Bobby Healy, of Irish-based Mana.aero, claims that in five years his company plans to replace half of road-based deliveries in a city of 20 million people. The Future of Aerial Logistics eVTOL technology will have an impact beyond passenger transport; that much is obvious. However, to successfully carve out a market share, eVTOL companies will have to offer something different from land-based models. After all, much of the technology behind eVTOLs (better battery technology, autonomy, and clean engines) is finding its way into land-based vehicles, too. But eVTOLs do have some advantages over land-based vehicles. They can reach more remote destinations, do not have to worry about traffic, and have the potential to be faster. Providing regulation moves ahead and companies can appropriately scale to meet demand, aerial logistics promises to be a game-changing phenomenon.
How Creating a GNSS Will Grow the UK’s Space Sector
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are any satellite network that provides global coverage. They are useful for everything from civilian GPS to military purposes. The UK government announced in the middle of 2020 that it was buying a company called OneWeb out of administration to make use of its GNSS. But why did the government do this and why are GNSS so useful? What is GNSS? GNSS (also known as Space-Based Positioning and Timing Programme) are constellations of satellites that provide positioning and timing data to on-Earth receivers. The receivers then use this information to determine location. Perhaps the most obvious example is GPS systems used in sat navs. GNSS performance involves four main criteria: 1. Accuracy: The measurable difference between the receiver’s measured and real position and speed. 2. Continuity: The system’s ability to function uninterrupted. 3. Integrity: The user’s confidence in the system and the system’s ability to declare anomalies. 4. Availability: The percentage of time that the system fulfils its other criteria. Previously, the UK used the EU’s Galileo GNSS, an encrypted military positioning system. This is one of the most commonly used systems in the world, and the UK was instrumental in its development. Of course, due to Brexit, the UK is no longer allowed to use the network. While there was no real need in the past for the UK to have its own GNSS, it is not an unreasonable form of technology for a nuclear power to have. The UK currently uses an M-code GPS network for its military purposes. This provides greater encryption and anti-jamming than civilian networks but is not as accurate as the Galileo system. The UK government has founded the Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme to explore avenues for building and integrating a self-owned GNSS into its military and energy networks, its mobile communications, and its transport systems. While there is no officially announced budget, the early government funding totalled £90m. Companies Involved in SBPNTP There are several other companies involved in the programme along with OneWeb. OneWeb’s planned network is 650 satellites, although it only launched 74 before entering administration. It is a Low Earth Orbit constellation, which offers greater accuracy and stronger signals than Medium Earth Orbit networks. This not only provides better indoor coverage but also makes the signal less prone to jamming. However, the OneWeb network does come with some downsides. Currently, the network is not able to provide an accurate enough signal for GNSS, although this can be adjusted in the future. Similarly, the network will require significant upgrades to make it suitable for military operations, including better encryption. In short, it could be viewed as the wrong network for the UK government, but it does offer an acceptable starting point on which the government can build its GNSS. Another company involved in the programme is DDK Positioning. It uses the American Iridium Satellite Constellation for its GNSS, although it operates independently from Iridium. DDK’s network is significantly more accurate than standard networks; it provides accuracy of less than 5cm compared to the typical 10m. Its input will likely involve sharing its technology to make the government’s network as accurate as possible. Telespazio, owned in part by Leonardo, is a Rome-based spaceflight services company that helps to support and operate GNSS. Its input will likely focus on providing infrastructure and satellite implementation for the UK’s network. The government announced it would leverage technologies from Airbus as part of its network. Airbus manufactures GNSS receivers; its LEOPARD receiver is specifically designed for LOE satellites, so we will likely see some form of this technology in the UK’s network. The LEOPARD unit utilises technology from Airbus’s standard design, the LION 1000, but with different signal capabilities for LOE. Finally, Spain-based GMV is involved in a production capacity. It manufactures a range of components for GNSS networks, from receiving and monitoring technology to testing and validation facilities. GMV will likely be integral to the UK’s GNSS network due to its vast experience in production and design. Little information exists on the full setup of the UK’s network and how OneWeb will integrate into it. Specifically, as mentioned, OneWeb’s satellites are not designed with GNSS functionality in mind, meaning the project will involve a significant overhaul of their hardware. A probable scenario is that the OneWeb network will not be a GNSS in itself. Instead, it will receive and relay signals from MEO satellites back to Earth. Building a network in this way will reduce cost and development time while also providing greater resilience. Impact on the UK Space Sector Building a UK-based GNSS will have various benefits for the country. Rather than relying on foreign networks, the UK will have full control over its own satellites, even if it does utilise a secondary MEO constellation. Perhaps more importantly, it will create a new segment in the space sector, adding more jobs and specialisations. Similarly, it will improve the UK’s position in the global space industry. The push towards space has certainly ramped up in recent years, and along with the construction of our first spaceports and our investment in microsat technology, creating a UK-based GNSS seems like the next logical step. How this network pans out, though, remains to be seen. The government has kept the details relatively quiet for now, although it is possible to extrapolate some information based on the companies and technology involved. As the UK was instrumental in the EU’s Galileo network, it at least has some existing information and experience to fall back on.
The Evolution of Radar Systems: A Cornerstone of Modern Technology
Radar systems have a wide range of military and civilian applications; everything from early warning systems to meteorology has found a use for this technology. As radar accuracy improves and technology becomes more compact, we will likely see even greater applications than we currently have. We thought we would take this opportunity to look back over the history of radar to see how far it has come and to see what the future holds for this fundamental branch of technology. A Brief History of Radar We can trace the origin of radar back to the late 19th century when German physicist Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves. In these experiments, he found that electromagnetic waves could be reflected off and transmitted through different materials, a phenomenon utilised by Guglielmo Marconi and Charles Samuel Franklin in their experiments on short-wave radio. In 1904, German physicist Christian Hulsmeyer demonstrated the application of radio waves for detecting objects. He used it to help avoid collisions between ships and, while not technically radar, his experiments were fundamental to the development of later technology. During the interwar years, radar found a home in meteorology. British meteorologist Robert Watson Watt used it to detect thunderstorms and pioneered the use of oscilloscopes to show radio signals. By 1935, Watt was involved (along with Arnold Wilkins) in developing radio technology to detect the distance of aircraft. On June 17th, 1935, the first use of radio detection and ranging was officially recorded in Britain. The five years leading up to the start of WW2 saw eight nations creating their own versions of radar technology. It was widely believed that the ability to detect enemy planes and ships would soon be useful, as the major world powers at the time were aware of the looming threat of war. It is not unreasonable to say that radar was one of the most important forms of technology during WW2. The Battle of the Beams - early competitive espionage and research between the UK and Germany - led to a swift and significant jump in the precision, range, and accuracy of radar technology. The UK, with financial backing from the USA, produced a magnetron that was a thousand times more powerful than the USA’s current technology and gave the Allies a significant advantage over Axis powers. The immediate post-war years saw the invention of more sophisticated radar systems, including the Pulse-Doppler radar and phased-array, which allowed for more accurate readings and quicker repositioning of systems. The Cold War era saw further advances in systems, particularly in the USA and USSR due to the threat of nuclear war. Alongside military applications, radar saw increasing use in the civilian world. In 1952, the US Civil Aeronautics Administration introduced radar for plane departure and arrival. By 1960, all planes needed to carry a transponder with its specific identification information. Similarly, meteorology saw a boost from military radar technology. Beginning in 1980, Doppler radars became standard for weather pattern prediction. Combined with modern computer algorithms, these radar networks can predict weather occurrences with surprising accuracy. In the last 60 years or so, radar technology has boomed. It can now be found in police speed guns, astronomy, healthcare, security, construction, and more. While physical technology has improved, its increasing range of applications is also thanks to improvements in computer technology that allow us to do more with the basic radio signals. The Present - Hensoldt Radars While Hensoldt is not the only contemporary manufacturer of radar technology, it is certainly a good example of where we currently stand. Originally part of the Airbus defence division, it is now part-owned by the German Federal Ministry of Defence. Hensoldt produces a range of different radar technologies, including military and civilian air traffic control, IFF secondary radar, and passive radar. Its air traffic control radar produces 3D images of detected aircraft across short-, medium-, and long-range frequencies. Its IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) radar can differentiate between friendly and enemy signals with extreme accuracy, which improves the overall combat effectiveness of both aircraft and detection platforms. In 2018, Hensoldt was able to detect two F-35 jets (known to be invisible to radar) for 150km using its TwInvis technology. This development only serves to highlight the rapid development in radar technology; when the F-35 first flew in 2006, it was officially undetectable by radar. Hensoldt also develops airborne radars that are in use on a range of manned and unmanned aircraft. Its Detect and Avoid system is designed for collision avoidance on drones, and will likely be scaled up into other unmanned projects in the future. But its technology has both offensive and defensive applications. The company developed the SPEXER radar family specifically for security applications. It uses pulsed radar and Active Electronically Scanned Array technology to detect air, ground, and sea targets, and is primarily used for perimeter and border security. The Future - Leonardo UK and the Tempest As we discussed in a previous article, the Tempest promises to be the UK’s answer to next-generation warfare. Of course, this requires next-generation technology, particularly radar. Leonardo UK is part of Team Tempest and is tasked with developing radar detection systems suitable for such an advanced aircraft. Specifically, Leonardo’s detection systems are four times as accurate as current technology and only 1/10th of the size. Its smaller size means less energy consumption, but, more importantly, that it can be integrated into a wider array of applications. To detect and identify enemy signals, the Tempest’s sensors will need counter evasion measures along with the ability to be updated as these threats change. This is one of the most fundamental advances in radar technology found on the project, as it will require a level of flexibility and sophistication we currently do not have. As the Tempest will have both manned and unmanned options along with drone swarming technology, its radar setup will be a crucial aspect of its overall functionality. While this is arguably true of any aircraft, it will be vitally important when flying such a large (and expensive) aircraft without human intervention. Leonardo recently bought a 25% stake in Hensoldt, making it the second-largest stakeholder in the company. It is very likely, then, that we will see adapted forms of Hensoldt’s technology integrated into the Tempest’s array. The companies collaborated on the Eurofighter Typhoon project, so this is not necessarily a new relationship. The Fundamental Uses of Radar The influence of radar on modern technology cannot be overstated. Its use in detection platforms, whether for planes, weather, or planets, provides us with incredible accuracy and the ability to manage everything from military threats to freak weather patterns. As a result, its benefit to human civilization should be obvious. While we can probably make accurate predictions about the next 10 years of radar technology, it is likely we will see advances that currently seem almost impossible. Radar’s use in eVTOL technology and other UAV applications will likely see another major advance in technology that will change its use in other areas too.
UPS Purchase Highlights the Viability of Drone Delivery
At the beginning of April, UPS announced it was buying its first eVTOL delivery vehicles from Beta Technologies. While this is not a new idea, it marks the first real effort by a delivery company to make this theoretical practice a viable reality. But what does the deal look like and how are other delivery companies leveraging the same technology? The UPS Deal UPS announced it would buy 10 aircraft from Beta Technologies, and that the first delivery is expected by 2024. By the end of the order, UPS may have up to 150 eVTOL vehicles in its fleet along with Beta Technologies’ charging platform. However, no information has been released about the latter part of the deal. From a logistics perspective, utilising drone technology has the potential to create a much more efficient delivery model. While a single eVTOL aircraft may carry fewer parcels than a single delivery van, it will be able to serve more remote locations at a faster rate. Current electric UPS vans have a cargo capacity of 23 metres cubed, while Beta’s ALIA-250 has a cargo capacity of 640kg. The ALIA-250 has a range of 250 nautical miles, a wingspan of 15 metres and is powered by a direct-drive electric motor. It uses a multicopter design for its vertical lift and a rear propellor for its horizontal movement. Importantly for UPS, the aircraft has zero operating emissions, meaning it will be much better for the environment than their current fleet of delivery vehicles. As part of the deal, UPS plans to embed a member of staff in the Beta team, which will theoretically help shift the eVTOL’s design specifically to a logistics market. While Beta may continue to develop other forms of its ALIA-250 design, this implies there will be a specific model for UPS. eVTOL in Delivery Services UPS is not the only delivery company to leverage eVTOL technology to its advantage. It will come as no surprise that Amazon, the world’s most valuable brand, has its own drone delivery service. Known as Amazon Prime Air, it registered its first autonomous package delivery flight back in 2016. In August 2020, the service received FAA certification, putting it a step closer to commercial rollout. The company will soon begin more wide-scale commercial testing with its recently-announced drone model. It will be able to deliver parcels weighing 5 pounds or less within 30 minutes. Similarly, drone delivery company Wing, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, also recently received FAA approval. Its model is a short-range one, claiming to deliver packages such as coffee and medication within a 6-mile radius in 6 minutes. Wing will essentially operate as a drone delivery outsourcing company for local businesses and residents, whereas Amazon’s PrimeAir is specifically for Amazon. On this side of the Atlantic, the Royal Mail is also testing a drone delivery service. Rather than speeding up delivery across the country, it is focusing on improving delivery to remote locations across the UK. At the end of 2020, it pioneered its first test flight to a lighthouse on the remote Isle of Mull. The Royal Mail has partnered with DronePrep and what3words to ensure speedy and efficient delivery to remote locations. The recipient uses the DronePrep app to scan their property for the best landing location and then uses the integrated what4words function to label this site. Currently, the drone will be released from the local Royal Mail delivery van and will fly autonomously, although this may change in the future. The Future of Drone Logistics Currently, drone delivery systems will be something of a gimmick for most users. For something like Amazon, the ability to receive a package within 30 minutes is a matter of convenience, not necessity. However, Wing’s plan to outsource their services to businesses such as pharmacies has a more obvious and real-world application. However, the overall benefits for the logistics industry are already obvious and will be game-changing. Even something as simple as delivering parcels to remote locations more efficiently will revolutionise the mail service and will allow postal workers to overhaul their routes. Similarly, the environmental benefits will be positive. Providing drones are charged using renewable energy, it has the potential to take a large number of delivery vans off the road. While services will need more aircraft than delivery vehicles, services will become faster and more efficient. This is only the start of the eVTOL revolution in the logistics industry. With big names like UPS and Royal Mail getting on board, it is clear that drone technology will enable a much-needed shift in logistics.