Navy VIP day at the University of Portsmouth

The Navy VIP day at the University of Portsmouth saw students from the School of Creative Technologies pitch their products to personnel from all three Services along with representatives from defence companies.

A smartphone app to modernise the way trainee sailors learn the Royal Navy flags and signals was just one new product put forward by University students to Flag Officer Sea Training. Four students – Will Nelson, Peter Panayi, Chris Scholes and Jack Taylor – demonstrated their smartphone app designed to revolutionise Royal Navy flag recognition training. Rather than the current paper cards used to teach trainees at HMS Collingwood, the students devised four quizzes – letters, such as alpha, numbers, signals and pennants and substitutes. The app covers 68 flags and students can learn the meaning of each flag or signal, as well as compete with their peers to get the most points in a quiz.

Students also demonstrated a second smartphone app designed to teach drummers at the Royal Marines School of Music. Gilles Kurt, Charlie Felicien, Mary Wetherall and Gareth Grigg came up with an app to introduce new bandsmen to drum rudiments and to aid experienced drummers in their development. The School of Music will be able to take the app to cadet units to show them how to drum properly.

The partnership with the University sees the Royal Navy request a number of specific projects which the students then work on from September to April or May each year. Students work closely with the Royal Navy’s Synthetic Senior Rate Petty Officer Neil Sutton to ensure their work meets RN requirements.

Three groups of students were tasked with video production; Five media students produced an up-to-date health and safety video for HMS Bristol, moored at HMS Excellent; Four students produced a video to help the RN Trauma Risk Management Team train personnel to deal with the aftermath of a terror attack, and three students produced a training video to be used with the firearms simulator, known as the Dismounted Close Combat Trainer.

The projects are not all about team work. Three students had individual tasks to produce 3D models of RFA Mounts Bay, the Type 26 Global Combat Ship and the RFA’s new MARS tankers. Each model had to be to scale and the completed videos will be used for training personnel before they join the ships.

“The Navy provides us with great projects and realistic clients and we really value that,” said Head of School of Creative Technologies, Dr Steve Hand, who added the five-year partnership had seen 40 projects put forward to the Royal Navy, with 20 students going on to directly gain employment as a result of their work.

FOST Rear Admiral John Clink told the students, “We are very proud of our relationship with the University of Portsmouth.

“Technology is absolutely at the forefront of what we do in the Royal Navy.

“We have to use technology and innovation to keep our battle-winning edge. We have seen some great ideas and there is absolutely a place for these synthetics.”

The RN and university have agreed a three-year deal to continue with the annual projects.

Text courtesy of the Navy News, feature image of a 3D model of HMS Mersey produced by a student for the Royal Navy Sea Training school.

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