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How HP played a key role in RAF air crew support in Libya

Cliff Saran

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has praised HP over its Advanced Mission Planning Aid (AMPA) system, most recently used to support aircrew in Libya.

The AMPA system was originally developed in 1995 to help RAF Harrier crews plan missions, but over the years it has been modified to take on new user requirements.

“The code written by the HP team has a direct impact with the guys in the cockpit,” said Tim Olivey, who works as user liaison between the MoD and HP’s air command account.

The system, which combines software, desktop and mobile hardware, and a replicated database, is used across the RAF’s fixed-wing and helicopter fleet, as well as Army and Royal Navy aircraft. The AMPA system uses the Defence Information Infrastructure to enable users to share missions between terminals.

It overlays 3D imagery and mapping, taken from the Aeronautical Information Documents Unit (AIDU) based at RAF Northolt, to digital air maps.

Air crew access the AMPA system via desktop PCs, laptops and Panasonic Toughbook tablet devices. “We are also working closely with the MoD on how tablets can be used in the future,” said Olivey.

As part of the user liaison team, Olivey is in constant contact with users. "Every week I am out with users – feeding back with users and finding out any likely improvements,” he said.

The Nato mission in Libya used the 3D capabilities in AMPA to improve pilots’ visualisation to prepare them for multiple battlefield scenarios.

 “I would like to thank Hewlett-Packard for the tremendous support it provided the UK in the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 to protect Libyan civilians,” said Peter Luff, minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology. “Hewlett-Packard responded very quickly to increased demands for support of the AMPA.  Specifically, at very short notice, it established an enhanced technical helpdesk to support deployed operations, and accelerated the release of a capability update required to support Tornado on operations.”


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