BMT Defence Services, a subsidiary of BMT Group, has supported the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) TALISMAN programme in the fight against mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

The MOD’s defence equipment and support (DE&S) managed the TALISMAN programme, a fast-track urgent operational requirement (UOR) programme.

"TALISMAN is already in action in Afghanistan, boosting our operational capability there and saving lives," says Steve Walters, a principal systems engineer at BMT Defence Services in Weymouth and a member of the BMT TALISMAN team.

He continued: "At BMT we’re very proud of our role in meeting the programme’s tough deadlines and delivering this essential capability to theatre."

The British Army uses the TALISMAN suite of vehicles to clear routes and areas of IEDs and mines, and to quickly create new routes around minefields. Operating independently or alongside other bomb disposal systems, each TALISMAN system comprises of: Mastiff protected patrol vehicles; Buffalo mine-protected vehicles with rummaging arm; JCB high-mobility engineer excavators; T-Hawk micro air vehicles and Talon tracked remote-control vehicles.

BMT and its TALISMAN programme partners reported to the Manoeuvre Support Team (MST), based at Abbey Wood, Bristol, and part of DE&S. BMT worked alongside Force Protection International, General Dynamics, Honeywell, JCB, Kongsberg, NP Aerospace, QinetiQ, Selex Galileo and Thales to successfully deliver the TALISMAN capability into the theatre of operation.

BMT defined the TALISMAN system requirements and managed the trials, testing and acceptance process. This included support to punishing desert trials and factory visits to accept vehicles off the production line.

To overcome some early issues with interference, BMT also arranged a number of interoperability trials at short notice.

Steve Walters said: "We carried out a large amount of complex development work to demanding timescales. We had a strong sense of purpose though – we successfully optimised all systems and we even enjoyed it all."

Lt Col Adrian Parker, who is the requirements manager on the TALISMAN programme, is pleased with the process and the result. He says: "The TALISMAN team demonstrated great adaptability and enthusiasm for getting the job done, thank you."

BMT has continued its TALISMAN involvement with additional requirement definition and trials management work for MST, which is linked to DE&S’s purchase of extra vehicles. It is also assisting DE&S with other UORs.

Steve Walters says: "BMT has built up an extensive network of contacts in DE&S, the trials community and with the testing houses. We’ve traditionally been associated with the maritime market but, as the TALISMAN programme has demonstrated, we have a strong team ethic along with valuable UOR experience and are developing a significant presence in land capability technical support."