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Marshall SV Gold at UK MoD?s Grand Challenge

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Marshall Land Systems
: 20 August, 2008  (Company News)
Team Stellar has beaten off six other competitors in the wind and rain on Salisbury Plain to win Gold at the MoD’s Grand Challenge.
A unanimous decision by the judges resulted in the team being awarded the RJ Mitchell Trophy named after the designer of the Spitfire which earned legendary status for its decisive role in the Battle of Britain.

Team Stellarís system, SATURN, consisted of an integrated system with one high flying and one mini UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), and a UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) with a control station fusing data from visual, thermal and radar sensors - gave them the competition edge.

Team Stellar comprises Stellar Consulting, Marshall Specialist Vehicles (MSV), Blue Bear Systems, Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems, TRW Conekt and Cranfield University

The MOD Grand Challenge is a competition launched by the UK MoD to allow small, medium and large companies, universities and research and development houses to demonstrate their capability to design and deliver vehicles which carry out reconnaissance tasks autonomously. These tasks had to be done in a hazardous area without requiring soldiers to be sent in harmís way.

MSV provided the Ground Vehicle, one of the key elements of the Saturn offering, which was required to enter hazardous areas, autonomously navigate its way around and identify likely hazards and threats to friendly forces. The competition was carried out in adverse weather conditions on Salisbury Plain, a factor which was instrumental in reducing the number of competitors that completed the challenge.

In designing and delivering the vehicle, MSV had to deploy their core skills including; system configuration, vehicle dynamics, all terrain mobility and robust, rugged engineering. Integration of sensor and other electronics, as well as software for management and logic systems, were key skills provided by MSV. These attributes had to be integrated with semi autonomous navigation. This required project management and system design skills to bring the whole project to a successful conclusion.

Peter Callaghan, CEO of MSV said ďMSV through its technology and capability centre Marshall System Design Group (MSDG) set out to use state of the art capability in the most agile way to achieve this difficult target in a really cost effective way. This is a system that can be rapidly taken forward into an operational environment. Our whole aim was to show that partnership, agility and quality can be brought to a rapid cost effective solution in operational circumstances. I would like to congratulate the whole of Team Stellar, especially the three key people in MSDG, and thank the MoD for running a really interesting and challenging competition.Ē

Out of twenty-three teams who originally applied to the competition, seven qualified for the final held over the last three days at Copehill Down, a village on Salisbury Plain specially built by the military for urban warfare training. Vehicles designed and created by the teams included futuristic-looking flying saucers, buggies and mini-helicopters
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