Digital transformation is helping the military, defence & aerospace sectors to improve security, safety, and productivity, as well as tackling some of the biggest challenges like infrastructure efficiency, energy management, and natural resource reduction.
Even today, it is not uncommon to find military facilities using manual or legacy technical processes to track and monitor high-value assets such as vehicles, weapons, munitions, vital equipment, personnel, and critical medical supplies despite there being far more precise and cost-effective digital solutions. With manual asset-tracking using spreadsheets, the risk of costly errors increases and it’s impossible to maintain location accuracy at any given point in time. In fact, the only way to gain real insights and control is to deploy an automated asset tracking system.
SALUS - The asset tracking solution from Astute Electronics
Existing asset tracking solutions are failing to deliver key market drivers: cost, power, accuracy, and flexibility. SALUS is a technologically ground-breaking solution suitable for military and defence where it’s imperative to monitor equipment, devices - even people - across a wide area like bases and facilities to understand their movements and behaviour.
What is SALUS?
SALUS stands for Serviceable Asset Location & Utilisation System which in everyday terms means it can track and report on the location, status, and condition of assets both indoors and outdoors on the same network. Since its radio signals pass quickly and securely across great distances, there’s the possibility to track assets across a very large site covering different areas and buildings across a military facility.
How does the technology work?
SALUS securely monitors the location of devices (tags) in a radio network defined by fixed positioning beacons (anchors). When each tag moves through the radio network, its distance to each anchor is measured. By triangulating measurements from three anchors, it is possible to determine the tag location in space. All the devices are robust and use low-power replaceable or rechargeable batteries (which can last up to 3yrs), requiring very little maintenance or installation overheads.
Figure 1: SALUS System Overview
Figure 2. Wearable tag (other forms are available) and anchors Figure 3. Tag and gateway
Measurable efficiency benefits in military, aerospace and defence
Aerospace and Defence operations are renowned for their precision and focus, however the sheer volume of high value assets across a huge facility means that traditional tracking solutions are impossible to scale. Aerospace companies and airlines work on a huge scale, where aircrafts are regularly moved, parts and tools are often needed and contractors unfamiliar with sites must locate assets quickly and efficiently.
There are vast numbers of vehicles. In the UK land forces alone, there were 4,071 combat vehicles on 1st April 2020, consisting of 990 Armoured Personnel Carriers, 1,906 Protected Mobility Vehicles, 1,175 Armoured Fighting Vehicles.
There's clearly a case for asset monitoring. Astute’s SALUS has a wide range of applications as it can connect to a variety of different sensor technologies for measuring movement, temperature, altitude, moisture, and numerous other applications. For example, in addition to location tracking, SALUS could be configured to detect perimeter breaches and content tampering, providing an alert when an asset is damaged through shock or impact.
Other benefits in addition to rapid asset location:
Extending the life of assets: Asset managers know the importance of keeping an asset in the running condition. When you know what’s going on with an asset you can make a reasonable decision to save expenses and extend the life of an asset.
Maintenance expenses: Over maintenance not only wastes money but can also decrease the lifespan of an asset; under-maintenance can prompt diminished efficiency. Asset tracking can help the organisation make predictive maintenance decisions when assets show the very early signs of underperformance.