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ABSL & QinetiQ Win MOD Portable Power Systems Development Programme

20th June 2006

Photograph of ABSL & QinetiQ Win MOD Portable Power Systems Development Programme

The MOD has just awarded ABSL Power Solutions Ltd (ABSL) and QinetiQ Ltd (QinetiQ) a contract to mature technology for the next generation of portable power systems. The contract, worth up to 5 million was awarded for up to three years, follows an open competition under the UK MOD's Technology in the Supplier Base (Output 6) research programme and will be managed within the Dismounted Close Combat Integrated Project Team (DCC IPT).

The Portable Power Systems research, placed as a Prime contract with ABSL, will involve the ABSL/QinetiQ team in the evaluation of a broad range of candidate technology solutions. Following a structured down-selection, the project team will mature two portable power systems to a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL7). A further technology option for proof of concept at a lower Technology Readiness Level (TRL3) will also be investigated.

The TRL7 technologies will inform two emerging equipment requirements. The first for a man-portable infantry power supply that should deliver dramatic improvements in energy density to support future modern soldier system requirements for the UK MOD. The second is for a large, high power system to meet the envisaged requirements for other equipment.

The ABSL/QinetiQ partnership brings together a team with knowledge, experience and intellectual capital in military power sources. This experience has been accumulated through ABSL's work in support of the global market for Military Power systems (including the FIST Assessment Phase and the delivery of the Bowman Power solution) while QinetiQ has an extensive portfolio of technology, platform experience and intellectual property, developed during its long history in the defence industry.

"The strategic investment the MOD is making in this area will ensure the UK's leading global position in Portable Power technology. It demonstrates the UK's recognition of the importance of portable power and its role within the soldier system," explained John Cowley, ABSL's Managing Director. Tom Liddell, ABSL's Business Development Manager for Soldier Modernisation added: "ABSL Power Solutions and QinetiQ form a formidable team for the development of robust military portable power systems and the team's success in winning this contract is testament to our capability within this market."

"With the growing reliance on an array of electronic capabilities both on and off the battlefield, the need for efficient, high performance yet highly portable power supplies has never been more critical for the modern soldier," added Andrew Sleigh, MD of QinetiQ's defence business. "By working with ABSL and ourselves, the MOD has access to a real understanding of technologies and requirements, along with an ability and track record of integrating appropriate technologies into existing programmes."

The use of MOD's Technology in the Supplier Base (output 6) programme provides an ideal research Incubator for Industry, Academia, and Defence Procurement Agency's IPTs to mature technologies in a way which improves exploitation potential.

This is a significant contract in the delivery of future military capability when it comes to portable power and promotes the team to a key strategic position within this global market.

ABSL Power Solutions Limited (formerly AEA Technology Battery Systems Limited)

"ABSL Power Solutions Limited" (ABSL) (formerly AEA Technology Battery Systems Limited) was incorporated in October 2005 following a change in ownership.

Under our new ownership ABSL Power Solutions (ABSL) will be able to develop the business, including the improvement and enhancement of the products and services we offer our customers; as well as investment in R&D, new technologies and products; and the development of new target markets.

ABSL designs, develops and manufactures advanced portable power systems for the markets where performance and reliability are critical. ABSL offers a unique holistic approach to power integration by combining intelligent rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries with innovative charging solutions, power management architecture, mission planning and asset management tools. ABSL's unique appreciation of the complete power system alongside its integrated logistic support, enables it to deliver technology to meet the increasing demands of the digital battlefield within important constraints such as weight and cost.

ABSL provides portable power solutions for a range of defence programmes including dismounted soldier systems, tactical communications systems. Applications encompass handheld and manpack radios, rugged portable computers and data terminals, encryption devices, remote operated vehicles (ROVs), thermal weapon sights, helmet-mounted/head-up tactical displays, and GPS navigation systems.

ABSL's experience includes work as portable power systems supplier to General Dynamics for the Bowman Battlefield Communications and the Dutch Marines New Integrated Marines Communications and Information System (NIMCIS) programme as well as supporting the UK MOD's Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) assessment phase trials.

Qinetiq Group Plc

QinetiQ (pronounced ki net ik as in 'kinetic energy') is a leading international defence and security technology company that was formed in July 2001 from the UK Government's Defence Evaluation & Research Agency (DERA). Today, QinetiQ has over 11,400 employees, who deliver technology‑based services and exploit QinetiQ's strengths in technology research by selling systems solutions, products, managed services and licences to government and commercial customers in a spectrum of defence, security and other commercial markets.

In February 2006, QinetiQ Group plc was listed on the London Stock Exchange (main market). The MOD and Carlyle remain the largest shareholders (19.2 per cent and 10.4 per cent respectively). In the year to 31 March 2006, QinetiQ delivered a 37.6 per cent rise in underlying operating profit to 90.7m on turnover which rose by 22.9 per cent to 1,051.7m.

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Background to Output 6 Research
Output 6 Technology in the Supplier Base is one of seven research outputs within MOD's Science and Technology Programme. The programme supports up to 70m of applied research per year, the bulk of which is let by competition. Output 6 bids must demonstrate a high degree of innovation roadmapped to emerging capability need sin acquisition projects.


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