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Formtech Composites and BAE Systems Design Composite Light Assault Bridge

13 September 2011

Formtech Composites and BAE Systems are working on a joint project to design, develop and produce a fully composite Light Assault Bridge as a Technology Demonstrator for Britain's MoD.

Formtech Managing Director, Mark Preston, called the five month project “a potential gamechanger" in the direction defence design strategy could be headed, and believes it to be well suited to showcase the versatility of composites in the field of defence.

According to Formtech, the partnership provides a unique opportunity for them to advance the UK Motorsport to Defence initiative and capitalise on their Formula One and America's Cup experience. Preston said "Outside of the worlds of Motorsport and yacht racing there is skepticism whether composites can always deliver - particularly on weight and cost. This project is the first step in fully pushing the boundaries in terms of what composites can be really applied

to".

Formtech say they have an ambition to help provide diverse manufacturing solutions for the defence sector and they believe they are well situated to contribute to this new direction. Chief Designer, Martin Oughton, said "Formtech's strategy of composite design revolves around combining semi-automated processing methods and creative engineering- particularly in the areas of braiding and filament winding - to create a really unique, fully composite structure that achieves our three main targets; light weight, low cost and high quality".

Formtech believes that composites will provide a real competitive advantage for the UK in general and across the defence industry in particular. “The Demonstrator”, Preston concludes, “is just the right opportunity to shift design methodology away from a historical ‘Black Aluminum’ mindset towards techniques used for projects which require cutting edge innovation, like F1”. Formtech believes the full benefits of composites only arise when composite design methodologies are used from concept to realisation of a project.