The increased use of remotely piloted aircraft systems requires specialised expertise and experience to manage customer requirements quickly, efficiently and safely
Nothing is constant; individuals and organisations must adapt to be successful.
From iron-sight to insight, transferable skills are part of the Inzpire DNA.
During a military career, individuals’ focus is understandably on their primary roles and secondary duties, with each member of a military team driven to achieve a common goal whether that be tactical, operational or strategic. An individuals’ strengths and skills and the transferability of those strengths and skills are really only identified and appreciated in the period leading up to them leaving the armed forces which for many means a return to their resume for the first time in years, perhaps decades.
For me personally, retiring from the Royal Air Force after 18 years was a challenge. Like so many others to have stepped away from the military, questions of doubt and apprehension began to loom. Resettlement was a rollercoaster ride; emotions cresting with nervousness before the screaming rush of excitement as the date grew ever closer. The resettlement workshops covered everything pertaining to life on the ‘outside’ but they also allowed the opportunity to discuss the $64,000 question; what is a transferrable skill set?
The learning curve when transitioning from a military career is steep however the ropes have already been set and the skills have already been learned and established; it’s simply a process of transfer via translation.
Inzpire’s success in supporting defence has been built upon the foundation of its people, the majority of whom are veterans like myself. The raw talent and transferable skills that create military leaders has been harnessed to turn Inzpire in to a critical conduit to all three services with a broad range of international customers – several of whom are from non-military industries.
A pillar of Inzpire, and a fantastic example of the cross-transferable nature of skills learned and honed in the military is the business’s Technical and Strategic Services (TSS) Division. Their expertise is divided between technical services, and strategic information and data services. From concept development and equipment capability development to assessment via integrated test, evaluation and acceptance programmes, TSS are experts in requirements and programme management, execution and analysis. To many the line between requirements and programme management is difficult to see however subtle yet fundamental differences exist.
Requirements management begins with the identification and analysis of a customer need (requirement) and possible solutions. The process requires the close monitoring of changes; research and development feedback informing project direction and rhythm for example, which ultimately leads to a capability that meets the initial identification process – in short, have we proposed a solution that meets the requirements?
Programme management involves the management of a group of projects brigaded together to achieve an overall objective. Each project has a deliverable (identified during requirements / solution development) that meets a customer's needs. A programme manager ensures the coherence of the underpinning projects and provides overall direction. Projects within a programme can be managed by multiple project managers and they are all bound by defined cost, quality, schedule and scope mandates. Programme and project managers ensure adherence to these mandates.
Over the last decade, TSS has continued to work alongside the MOD to enhance and maintain cutting edge capability development and through-life support; requirements and programme management our forte. Invariably involving trials planning, execution and analysis TSS has enhanced a wide range of aircraft and weapons programmes including rotary, fixed-wing and remotely piloted aircraft.
Inzpire's TSS Division has delivered programme and requirements management for the UK Typhoon, Lightning F-35B and a number of ISR platforms.
However, recently the team has started to widen their focus, looking at how capabilities can be transferred in to civilian environments by adapting their skills and expertise to support the science community, civilian agencies, the commercial sector and emerging areas of aviation. Whilst our expertise is born out of extensive military experience, the concept-to-operating capability journey – taking an idea, developing it, and bringing it to fruition - is not limited to defence. The process required to develop innovative ideas and to break ground in previously unknown areas is fundamentally the same, regardless of the application.
The increased use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) requires specialised expertise and experience to manage drone-based customer requirements quickly, efficiently and safely – TSS can offer this level of niche support. Research has shown that organisations and institutions across the world are revisiting conventional flying operations. As RPAS concepts and doctrine are realised the expense and associated risk of manually piloting aircraft is now much harder to debate. Water and chemical management, agricultural assessment, oil and gas monitoring and terrain mapping are just some examples of where the vast utility and low operating costs of remotely piloted aircraft can bring benefits. In turn, the drone industry is matching demand with an ever expanding range of air vehicles and sensors. This swell in support for smaller remotely piloted air vehicles and underslung loads has been underpinned by climate awareness and the opportunity to reduce airborne emissions. Using lessons identified from years of successful military concept delivery and trials management experience, Inzpire’s TSS team can offer critical support to RPAS research and development, test and evaluation and concept of employment projects regardless of the sector - our direct programme management solutions and consultancy services can be adapted to meet any customers’ requirements.
Agilcultural assessment is just one discipline where the utility and low cost of RPAS are bringing benefits
The TSS team has all the skills required to assist with non-military innovation, concepts and doctrine development. With its staff-force coming from different backgrounds, a synergy of military experience, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) expertise and dedicated programme management, means TSS is perfectly positioned to pioneer the application of concept delivery in a range of civilian industries.
The world continues to journey through a paradigm shift in social norms, collective awareness and cultural change – all supported by huge advances in science and technology. Through creative thinking and the innovative applications of STEM, Inzpire is proud to be part of the revolution. It is through innovation we can we really make a difference for the world today and for generations to come.
Ben Lunnon-Wood works within TSS as an RPAS mission specialist.
He has 18 years' aviation experience including over 2300 flying hours, predominantly in the close air support role including time as a Tornado weapons system officer. He completed multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and supported operations in Syria prior to retiring from the Royal Air Force in April 2020.
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