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DEE - Future Plans in the Defence Sector

DEE : 15 October, 2007  (New Product)
UK Midlands-based Development Engineering & Enterprise Limited plans to be at the forefront of the next generation of emergent SMEs serving the defence, specialist vehicle and automotive engineering sector. Its push comes as some analysts are predicting that the business cycle may be beginning to turn to offer improving opportunities for new, innovative and advanced technology companies.
'We have been watching very closely as the world's major defence prime contractors and major manufacturers continue to consolidate and expand both their share and domination of the key sectors of the market. Behind that however, a new generation of talented SMEs is emerging to fill a technology and innovation vacuum. Small, private and micro-cap companies, such as Development Engineering & Enterprise, can offer diversified and rounded programme support with an agility and flexibility which larger organisations cannot emulate. We are already demonstrating that bringing together engineers with established mature experience can offer highly viable operational solutions on a rapid response and cost effective basis', says DEE's founder and owner, Neil McAdam.

DEE's core skills are borne out of a project leadership background working within the larger, increasingly merged and rationalised organisations. 'The larger players are free to concentrate on the major volume build contracts – and associated systems integration business. That leaves a gap for the more responsive and innovative solution provider – and that is an attractive option for procurement organisations with special needs – or even urgent operational requirements', asserts McAdam.

In engineering services terms, DEE already provides integrated through-life programme support from initial concept design, through prototype build and testing, to production engineering, planning, manufacture and logistics. It supplements its own resources through a network of external specialists, partners and subcontractors – an established and now frequently favoured industry practice, providing flexibility within strict cost control.

DEE unveiled its WeeViL 2 (Wheeled Vehicle Light) all new, light, air-portable rapid intervention, assault and reconnaissance vehicle at the UK's Defence Vehicle Dynamics Show earlier this year. Developed at its own risk, the programme is testament to the company's ambition and ability – to support requirements from basic concept to delivered, viable, operational solution.

DEE showed a single seat ‘proof of concept' programme in 2006, for which it utilised a modified COTS off-road racecar. WeeViL 2 however, is DEE's own platform, specifically designed for military applications, whilst retaining a high degree of standard COTS componentry.

The latest two-seat, side-by-side (SBS) configuration offers significantly increased accommodation and payload, improved handling and performance – and the inclusion of a diesel engine, inline with preference for single battlefield fuel.

The new vehicle incorporates a completely revised powertrain. Engine power is now provided by a 0.8 litre, 3-cylinder common rail direct injection diesel engine, turbocharged and inter-cooled to produce 41-brake horsepower and a robust 100 Nm of torque. Final drive is delivered by independent shafts, from front and rear differentials via a continuous 4-wheel drive fully variable hydrostatic transmission.

The chassis is incorporated within a tubular space frame design, which is cross-braced and stiffened to provide exceptional strength. The base configuration is designed for a 2-seater crew, sitting side by side. A single seat and other optional layouts will be available. Bucket seats with 3-point racing harnesses are fitted for crew security and safety.

Overall dimensions have been designed to fulfil specific operational requirements of air-portability. WeeViL 2 is 2880mm in length, 1600mm wide and 2170mm in height. Wheelbase is 2170mm and ground clearance, 300mm. Independent double wishbone suspension, front and rear, provide 300mm of wheel travel. Disc brakes are fitted all round.

The all-up package is designed at 1200kg gross vehicle weight – with an unladen weight of just 650kg, to optimise stowage and payload. WeeViL 2 also has a towing capacity of 600kg. Stowage, equipment and fuel capacity can be specified to suit specific operational requirements.

The base vehicle concept includes 1000 litres of modular stowage and both 30-litre and 60-litre fuel Tanks are available, depending on required range. The standard electrical system is 12-volt – with a 24-volt supplementary supply available as an option.

DEE has recently established its own development and engineering facilities in the Midlands and is planning to start initial production by the end of this year.
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