Military precision lasers
Military precision lasers

July 31, 2012– London,UK (Techreleased) –Military precision lasers normally used to identify friend or foe on the battlefield have played a key role in the British Cycling Team’s success in international competition in recent years.

BAE Systems, the UK’s leading defence, aerospace and security company, has helped the British Cycling Team to find increased levels of speed, strength and endurance by installing a sophisticated performance monitoring system at the Manchester Velodrome, the base of the British Team’s training.

The laser timing technology derived from a battlefield identification system offered an entirely new approach to performance monitoring in cycling, improving on a previous break-beam system which was unable to differentiate between individual cyclists racing around the track at the same time.

The new system allows up to 30 riders to race each other simultaneously while coaches track each individual cyclist’s second-by-second performance in real time. The laser works by reading a personalized code from a retro reflective tag attached to each bike, which can capture individual timings with millisecond accuracy.

The system is one of several developments coming out of BAE Systems’ £1.5 million Technology Partnership with UK Sport, which sees high-tech defence technology and thinking applied to the areas of sports development where it is needed the most.

Dave Brailsford, Performance Director at British Cycling said: “This technology was a major step forward in training for us and helped to provide more accurate data to hone our performance ahead of the Olympics. Cycling is a sport that relies a lot on technology. The bikes are part of it, but the day-to-day training is just as technical, and it is therefore important that it can be analysed and measured objectively.”

Kelvin Davies, BAE Systems Project Leader of the UK Sport Technology Partnership said: “The new performance system demonstrates the essential role of engineering in helping our athletes to achieve those fractional improvements, which are often key to sporting success and we are very proud to have had the opportunity to harness our skills to support British athletes.”

Dr Scott Drawer, Head of Research and Innovation for UK Sport, said: “It is fantastic to be able to tap into BAE Systems’ expertise in innovation to support us in delivering bespoke performance solutions to our athletes. This particular project is a fantastic example of how knowledge and experience from the defence and security sector can be applied to elite sport to help to give our athletes an edge in their preparation and training.”

Since 2008, BAE Systems has already helped around 20 elite sports teams and 140 individual athletes and their coaches, including the taekwondo, track cycling, skeleton bobsled, sailing, short track speed skating, athletics, canoeing (slalom and sprint), badminton, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair racing, swimming, modern pentathlon and shooting teams.

The defence and security company continues to provide expertise in structural and mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, mathematical modelling and simulation and materials science to some of Britain’s major medal winning sports.

About the Technology Partnership
BAE Systems and UK Sport have formed a technology relationship worth £1.5 million in kind to support British athletes in preparing for sporting success at the Olympics, Paralympics, World and European Championships. The relationship gives the British sporting world access to leading-edge technologies as well as considerable engineering knowledge and expertise. The two organisations have worked together since 2007.