BAE Systems fighter jet technology used to improve horse transportation

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Technology developed by BAE Systems for using inside fighter jets has been adapted to ensure British equestrian teams can transport horses to competitions in comfort.

BAE Systems has worked with UK Sport to develop a bespoke travel environment for horses called Equus-Sense, with the aim of improving the performance of horses that can be adversely affected by the symptoms of long haul air travel.

To achieve this, it has adapted the sensor technologies used by fighter pilots to manage cockpit conditions and air quality, normally found in Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.

Sound, temperature, vibration, humidity, dust levels and oxygen can be managed by trainers using the system, which has been built for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

London International Horse Show
(Steve Parsons/PA)

In combat aircraft, these sensors are used to provide essential performance assistance to defence equipment and pilots.

“When it comes to elite sport, marginal gains can help leverage a real competitive advantage – and that preparation begins before competitors reach their competition,” said Henry White, UK Sport partnership lead at BAE Systems.

“We develop aircraft and equipment monitoring technology which helps ensure our fighter pilots are as comfortable as possible to enable them to realise their incredible skills, and there is no reason why horses cannot benefit from this.

“Applying such technology to horse transportation had its challenges, but our expert engineers have developed such a system allowing the equestrian competitors to benefit and help gain an advantage.”

BAE said that the technology could prove useful to other sporting organisations in future.

“This has been a valuable project that has improved elite horse transport,” said John McEwen, director of equine sports science and medicine for the BEF’s world class programme.

“This is an area that can have a major performance effect and we are grateful to BAE Systems for their scientific support.”

Chris Price