Thousands of young people get hands on with Army engineering

Army engineering was centre stage for thousands of young visitors to the Big Bang UK Young
Scientists and Engineers Fair at the NEC, Birmingham.

A dive tank, surveillance drone technology, a parachute-dropped forward command post and virtual
reality map making were just some of the diverse aspects of Army technology and engineering
demonstrated by soldiers at this year’s event. Big Bang is the UK’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people.

Army divers from the Royal Engineers, submerged in a 5-metre-high tank, played noughts and crosses and scissors, paper, stone on the dive tank’s glass with schoolchildren visiting from across
the UK. Many also stopped to take “selfies” with the divers as they showcased their unique training
and skills.

When not submerged underwater, the divers from 21 Engineer Regiment talked to the young people who were fascinated to learn about their jobs and role in the Army.

A team of soldiers from 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) used drones to stage an interactive virtual reality ‘geo capability’ display allowing young visitors to create their own maps and control a
surveillance drone, located high up in the NEC roof, which zoomed in to give a view of all areas of the
show. 

STEM skills are vital to today’s Army and its success on operations at home and abroad. Major Paul Baker

Officer Commanding the Army’s Youth STEM Engagement Team, Major Paul Baker, said, “STEM skills are vital to today’s Army and its success on operations at home and abroad. Today’s officers and soldiers must be technically-minded and able to think clearly under pressure and in all
conditions."

“The capabilities, kit and equipment displayed at Big Bang 2019 show just how technologically advanced today’s Army is and why STEM skills are more important than ever in our officers and soldiers.”

A Gazelle helicopter was also on display, with a team of Airtroopers from the Army Air Corps. With a top speed of 311 kilometres per hour and 12 metres in length, this has proved to be an incredibly reliable observation and reconnaissance helicopter for many years. It offers unparalleled visibility from the cockpit, which school children were able to climb inside.

Also demonstrating their airborne credentials were a team of parachute-trained Signallers from the Royal Signals, the Army’s communication specialists, who set up a forward command post where the
visitors tried their hand at hacking the code in a digital cyber challenge.

Young visitors to the Big Bang also tested their fitness on the Royal Army Physical Training Corps’ Wattbike challenge. Physical Training Instructors were on hand to explain the importance and health
benefits of personal fitness and how they keep today’s soldiers ‘fit to fight’.

An eleven-metre-high climbing tower proved a big draw for children and teenagers who tested their physical mettle under the watchful eye of soldiers. Those reaching the top had the best vantage point
of the whole show to take selfies.

Soldiers from the Royal Logistic Corps demonstrated how they drop supplies and vehicles from the sky via parachute and how STEM is vital in calculating the weight of supplies, the altitude from which
it needs to be dropped and the speed of the aircraft.

Completing the Army’s line-up of cutting edge engineering technology and equipment was a Husky tactical command and support vehicle. Designed for a range of missions, including transporting food, water and ammunition, the Husky is a highly mobile and flexible load carrying vehicle with a maximum speed of 112 kilometres per hour.