Back in January, we – alongside our partners within Team PEGASUS – announced that the UK MoD had signed a ten-year, £80m industry partnership which would enhance the UK’s ability to provide its military platforms and systems with the data needed to keep them safe and effective.
As part of Team Pegasus, we will work in partnership with the MoD on a transformation project known as SOCIETAS, providing specialist mission data and electronic warfare skills solutions.
And two such individuals providing that support are mission data programmers Ben and Jack; the two youngest members of Inzpire’s Technical and Strategic Services Operational Business Unit.
We caught up with Ben and Jack to learn a little more about their roles within SOCIETAS, and how the project is enabling them to support the evolution of UK defence capability while developing their own personal skills.
Ben: I began working for Inzpire in November 2022 as a mission data programmer. I then completed the Electronic Warfare (EW) for Electronic Warfare Operational Support (EWOS) course, before entering the Joint Electronic Warfare Operational Centre (JEWOSC) on the 1st of February 2023 at the start of the SOCIETAS contract.
Jack: I joined Inzpire in 2021 as a 25-year-old post-graduate. I was working in a research role, specialising in international relations and conducting miscellaneous research assignments for the company. I was then given the opportunity to transfer to Project SOCIETAS. Like Ben, I completed the EW for EWOS course, and I now serve as a mission data programmer in the Maritime Equipment Support (MES) section of the Joint Electronic Warfare Operational Support Centre.
Ben: My role is within the JEWOSC’s testing team. My colleagues and I are responsible for evaluating all mission data software that comes through the building to ensure everything is up to standard and works correctly, before it is distributed across platforms around the world.
Jack: I work within the MES, alongside the Royal Navy serving the surface and submarine fleets. MES provides the fleet with an information advantage by ensuring that shipborne sensors correctly identify radar contacts. The task involves collecting data from multiple sources and databases, processing the data to read correctly with the decision-making systems within the ship’s sensor suites and disseminating that information to the fleet after regular production runs.
Jack works alongside experts supporting Type 22 and 45 Frigates, Queen Elizabeth II aircraft carrier and the Submarine Fleet. UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023 LPhot Matt Bradley.
Ben: My role within the JEWOSC varies day-to-day, as the testing team works with all the other teams within the centre.
I often attend meetings with various other defence personnel to organise mission data products or give opinions on certain areas where testing will be involved.
I also collaborate a lot with people outside of the JEWOSC. With other members of Inzpire’s technical and strategic services (TSS) team being stationed at various RAF bases, I work with other TSS members to assist with their projects and assist with enquiries, to help with further collaboration with RAF bases outside of the JEWOSC.
Jack: The job is challenging and requires me to have a high level of analytical ability concerning abstract information paired with an understanding of international situations, the operational requirements of the fleet, and the naval domain in general as understood by the UK, our allies and NATO. It’s an exciting role, and there is always something to be done as UK vessels operate across the entirety of the world’s oceans; the process of updating the database is never-ending!
Like myself, all SOCIETAS personnel are directly attached to their military department and are expected to perform all the tasks their service colleagues perform. This integration means myself and my civilian colleagues are supported by a highly professional team that is always willing to guide and support our journeys to becoming a suitably qualified and experienced person – or ‘SQEP’ – in the EW field.
Ben: Testing is an extremely important function within the mission data cycle – it’s the last line of checks before any products are sent to defence customers to use on the front line.
Although Project SOCIETAS is still very new within the JEWOSC, we have produced solid long-term plans to improve the mission data cycle and to develop the test team itself in order to support the evolution of the wider defence industry.
Jack: EW is a critical and rapidly expanding sector of the defence industry and focuses on the utilisation of the electro-magnetic spectrum for military purposes. Its importance is ever-increasing due to the digitisation of warfare in general and the proliferation of advanced weapons systems to every corner of the globe.
Project SOCIETAS represents an evolution in UK defence thinking, through an implementation of the Whole Force concept where the armed forces, civil servants and industry partners - such as Inzpire - are considered to be part of a coherent whole.
Project SOCIETAS, and Team PEGASUS, represents an evolution in UK defence thinking.
Ben: Entering the JEWOSC for the first time was quite daunting as there’s a wide range of RAF, army and navy personnel who work there alongside civil servants and other defence contractors who all play key parts within the building.
As I mentioned earlier, the testing team works with every other team within the building, but I quickly found that everyone I met was extremely accommodating and happy to help me out with any questions or queries that I might have had. The accommodating nature was prevalent throughout the building and has made my role and job infinitely easier!
So, luckily for me, my future looks exciting. Although arranging meetings and plans with various customers and other defence personnel can lead to me being very busy, I’m incredibly happy that I have the opportunity to help the testing team and the JEWOSC as a whole develop and evolve!
Jack: Working with SOCIETAS gives me a sense of being part of the next development in the defence industry with all the future opportunities this entails.
SOCIETAS also allows me many opportunities for personal development: learning the equipment that our work supports, learning additional skills such as foreign languages, gaining academic qualifications, improving my computer skills to name a few.
As SOCIETAS encourages people to ‘come as they are’ and use the skills they acquired during their previous experiences, a lot of flexibility is afforded for personal and professional development, more than you might typically be given in a similar opportunity. So, I know that I am acquiring skills useful for a lifetime.
This collaboration will see QinetiQ, Inzpire, and Naimuri work with the University of Lincoln to maximise capabilities in artificial intelligence
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