How engagement with the British Army delivers a battlefield advantage.

How engagement with the British Army delivers a battlefield advantage.

As regular contributors to the Army Engineer Association’s publication, we are proud to share news of the collaborative approach we took throughout 2020 to develop user-focused, interoperable and rapidly available solutions, despite difficult circumstances. Discussion and challenge are important to us and help us to develop better products and services for our customers in the UK and around the world.

Pearson Engineering Ltd, a long-serving provider to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, is leading the way when it comes to engagement with their domestic customer, the British Army.

Based in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England, Pearson Engineering has contributed significantly to U.S military operations in recent years via the Assault Breacher Vehicle and Stryker Engineering Support Vehicle programmes, as well as through the supply of a large quantity of innovative Counter-IED and Counter-Mine rollers.

Having supported a number of militaries through recent conflict with their highly adaptable range of interchangeable engineering attachments, the company is now engaged with the British Army to develop their latest thinking. It’s an initiative that is set to benefit militaries in the United States and throughout NATO as they turn their attention to the next most demanding conflict scenarios. With battlefields predicted to become ever more congested, cluttered, contested and connected, Pearson Engineering are investing heavily in Research & Development to provide evolved solutions to mobility and counter mobility on the battlefield. With a focus on agility, speed and enhanced adaptability, Pearson Engineering’s new developments will provide Commanders with the opportunity to create confusion in the enemy’s mind and allow rapid exploitation of advantage on the battlefield.

The company has recently been involved in two capability development working groups to discuss product developments with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – a light cavalry regiment, and with Project STREETFIGHTER, an initiative led by the British Army’s Royal Tank Regiment which seeks to enhance armoured vehicle capabilities through experimentation providing  new technologies and technical solutions. In short, the project puts the end-user at the start of capability development.

The demonstrations have proven successful in supporting two-way communications, providing Pearson Engineering with a forum to better understand their customers’ requirements and anticipated challenges whilst also sharing the latest technologies and thinking which can help to unlock challenges for Armoured units and prepare for Urgent Operational Requirements. It’s an approach to engagement between the military and industry which is not often seen, but which gets essential capability into the hands of the warfighter more quickly. Through rapid prototyping, discussion and demonstration, Pearson Engineering can quickly share ideas, gain informal feedback and progress. This provides the company with greater focus and ensures that the products that come to market meet the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s fight. In turn, militaries around the world will be able to take advantage of solutions which are user-focused, compatible with modern military thinking, entirely supportable and rapidly available.

As well as supporting product development, this type of engagement has been hugely beneficial for Pearson Engineering’s personnel. Many companies that operate in the defence industry employ retired military personnel to bridge the gap between the civilian world and the Armed Forces, but Pearson Engineering have taken this a step further. With regular interaction, such as this, comes a deeper understanding of how operations are planned and executed for a wider range of employees, further supporting the company’s ability to provide mission critical capability when it is needed and an understanding of end-user needs.

In further support of engagement between defence and industry, Pearson Engineering held a unique interactive discussion group with the subject of armoured mobility in June 2020. Having recognised that COVID-19 would decrease engagement and prevent useful conversations, Pearson Engineering sponsored ‘The Threat to Mobility’ webinar which sought to keep the conversation going, sharing insight between expert military personnel and industry at large. The event, which was chaired by Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges (a former CG USAEUR), attracted 300 registrants from 14 countries and its success has led to a subsequent event which will take place later this year.

Whilst this type of engagement delivers undoubtable benefits for product development and military capability, another important and significant outcome has also begun to emerge. With a reputation as champions of putting the end-user first and bringing military expertise within the company, Pearson Engineering is now recognised in the UK as a supportive employer of serving and veteran Defence personnel. Their contribution includes support to Reservists within the company to undertake military training with full pay, hosting study days for local Army units, support to British Military charities with both time and funds, skills development activities for Veterans and various recruitment initiatives. The company was recognised for their efforts in July 2020 with a prestigious Gold Award from the UK Ministry of Defence under its employer recognition scheme.

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