We have made some recent enhancements online, you may need to clear your cookies to download Technical factsheets or call +44 (0)1403 792300

Technical Blog

Motion control in defence applications

In the defence industry, equipment and systems must perform under some of the most demanding conditions. Military hardware needs to function reliably despite extreme temperatures, high vibration, and harsh environmental elements. Motion control technology plays a vital role in ensuring that defence applications work as expected, providing the precision, reliability, and flexibility required. Here we look at how this technology is used in defence applications and why it’s so important.

Understanding motion control systems

Motion control is used to drive the movement of various systems, from radar tracking and weapons aiming to robotic arms and unmanned vehicles. Key components include actuators, motors, encoders and controllers, which work together to deliver accurate and reliable movement.

Some of the applications where motion control systems are used include:

  1. Weapons systems: actuators and controllers to aim and stabilise weapons. These systems must be robust enough to operate in combat conditions.
  2. Radar and tracking systems: encoders and controllers to detect and track targets. Precision is crucial.
  3. Unmanned systems: to control navigation, sensor alignment and robotic arm operation. The technology allows for complex tasks to be completed without risking human lives, making it ideal for risky missions.
  4. Surveillance and reconnaissance: motion control to pan, tilt and zoom systems including cameras. This flexibility allows for comprehensive monitoring.
  5. Naval applications: for stabilising ship-mounted systems such as antennas and weapon platforms. These components must endure the challenging conditions of the sea, including saltwater corrosion and constant movement.

Specifying motion control components or systems for defence applications

When specifying a component or system there are some factors to keep in mind. These are:

  • Extreme environments: defence systems often operate in harsh conditions, including extreme temperatures, high vibration and exposure to the elements. Motion control components must be robust and durable.
  • High precision: tight tolerances and reliable performance must be maintained to ensure high precision and accuracy.
  • Rapid response: systems must be responsive and capable of high-speed operation to meet critical response times.

Examples of defence applications developed by Heason

At Heason, we've developed various motion control solutions for defence applications. Here are a few examples:

  • Rotary azimuth actuator used to control the rotation of sighting/optics pods on tanks, providing precise targeting.
  • High-power frameless brush motors and harsh environment servo drives designed for X & S band radars on naval vessels, ensuring stability and accuracy.
  • Azimuth drive for military tracking equipment, offering precise movement and ensuring reliable performance.
  • Frameless torque motors for pan and tilt optics, providing smooth and controlled motion, ideal for surveillance and reconnaissance.

As technology advances, motion control will continue to be at the forefront of innovation in the defence industry. If you’d like to know more about the range of components we offer from our supply partners, and how our design and manufacturing teams can engineer these products into customer-specific motion control solutions, please contact us. We’re keen to discuss your specific needs and find the right motion control solution for your project.

Article published on: 02/05/2024

Article last updated on: 02/05/2024