Awing and inspiring children with a range of technology is at the centre of the Defence Technology Agency's biggest outreach event.
More than 5,000 school children attend the biennial Wings Over Wairarapa Air Festival and it’s a chance for DTA to excite and educate small and big kids alike.
While the event is an air show featuring military and vintage aircraft, there are displays, including DTA’s marquee that attracts a lot of attention.
This year, one of the main attractions was the Army’s Virtual Battle Space, (VBS) which is a simulation programme used for training personnel in ground operations. DTA developed an interface to get friendly-force tracks from VBS into SitaWare Frontline, the Command-and-Control system which is part of the Network Enabled Army Programme. The public got to experience driving a light armoured vehicle (LAV) and navigating across terrain using Frontline software. Outside the tent, a LAV was parked up for enthusiasts to see the real thing.
From ground operations to the skies, DTA also had the first true unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in New Zealand on display. The UAV named Kahu was developed back in 2006 as an endurance airframe for the New Zealand Army, and her purpose was to enable experimentation with medium endurance tactical surveillance systems. The magic of Kahu’s autopilot system is its ease of use, with an independent system to monitor the flight and bring the aircraft back or deploy the parachute if needed.
DTA’s Air Warfare Section was also on display, featuring aerial countermeasures such as flares and infrared technologies. Eventgoers were treated to optical technologies used for reconnaissance, surveillance and weapon guidance, which are used for protecting our aircraft and helicopters.
The New Zealand Defence Force and Defence Technology Agency regularly attend the event and were proud to share some of their capabilities with the public, at the Hood Aerodrome in Masterton.