A contract has been signed between BAE Systems, part of the Eurofighter Consortium, and SINTEF IKT valued at 7.4 million Norwegian kroner.
SINTEF will continue developing its PARAT technology and tailor it for aircraft cockpit environments thus improving communication abilities for pilots and reducing fatigue on long missions. The contract provides invaluable access to a high technology R&D area and industrial market for Norwegian industry.
The unique combined hearing protector and communications system PARAT has originally been developed by SINTEF and became a commercial product by SINTEF spin-off Nacre AS in Trondheim.
"Any fighter cockpit has a noise environment creating challenges for communication. SINTEF IKT has developed a technology for communication in rough environments, and with this contract we want to find out if this technology can be adjusted to a fighter environment" says Director David Hamilton of EADS, responsible for Eurofighter in Norway. Hamilton himself is a former fighter pilot from the Royal Air Force.
Communicating in Rough Environments
The technology from SINTEF IKT and Nacre AS combines intelligent hearing protection/noise reduction and communication. Nacre AS markets the unique earplug under the product name QUIETPRO in the global defence and security market.
So far QUIETPRO has been sold to customers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, UK, USA and Canada.
The earplug is equipped with a miniaturised computer chip that sorts out and eliminates the damaging part of the noise. This limits the danger for hearing damage. In addition, the earplug has an inner microphone. This records the users voice and distributes it to the surroundings via radio or wired systems.
"We now have the opportunity to adapt the PARAT technology to the noise environment in a fighter aircraft, log noise exposure of the pilots, make adjustments to existing radio systems and the voice recognition system of the fighter" says Research Director Odd K. Pettersen at SINTEF IKT who sees in the field of aerospace an enormous market chance for the product.
SINTEF IKT has substantial competence in developing algorithms for voice systems, signal processing and acoustics.
International High-technology Research
The Eurofighter contract gives SINTEF a unique opportunity to continue its research and development activities within noise and communication technologies.
"Within this international co-operation we now have the chance to develop the PARAT technology further. This feasibility study can be the door opener to capture other business areas beyond Eurofighter", says Pettersen.
About Eurofighter and Norway
The Norwegian Department of Defence and Eurofighter signed an Industrial Participation Agreement in March 2003 for 160 million Norwegian kroner (NOK), which was already in the same year increased by 25.6 million NOK by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
In the revised national budget in spring 2005 further 100 million NOK were allocated for new projects, and this contract with SINTEF is a result of this increased funding.
In line with these on-going successful co-operation activities between Eurofighter and Norwegian industry, Eurofighter has developed a comprehensive approach to industrial co-operation within the areas of Norwegian defence industry strategic interest. This approach would provide for co-operation over the next decades and has been formally described in the Request for Information (RFI) Response issued by Eurofighter for the future Norwegian fighter aircraft programme.
Eurofighter is the world's most advanced multi/swing-role fighter aircraft and is being produced by the aerospace industries in Germany, Italy, Spain and UK. The Eurofighter is in full production with aircraft already in service.
Eurofighter will form the backbone of NATO air forces for 30+ years. Until today, contracts for 638 aircraft have been secured, including an export contract with Austria. Further near-term export opportunities include Greece and Turkey, with Saudi-Arabia having already selected the Eurofighter aircraft.
The Norwegian parliament is scheduled to decide on which fighter Norway will choose during 2008.
(Press Release from Eurofighter)
For further information:
David Hamilton, Eurofighter, +49 160 908 34 258