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Rachel Robson

Rachel Robson from Salford Physics

Rachel's career story gives a glimpse of one of many possible paths after graduating with a degree in Physics from the University of Salford


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Operational Analyst

After completing a degree in Physics with Space Technology in June 2000, I joined DERA (now DSTL) as an Operational Analyst. My time with DSTL primarily involved providing support to the Royal Navy's Maritime Warfare Centre in the underwater warfare section alongside serving Naval Officers. While my day-to-day tasks involved computer modelling of naval systems I also had the opportunity to participate in a range of naval trials – both in this country and abroad. This provided some interesting experiences – such as whale watching on a naval frigate, learning how to right a lifeboat, and learning how to drink water while wearing a gas mask and NBC suit.

Maritime Operational Consultancy

In 2002, I moved from DSTL to a small consultancy firm, Newman and Spurr, who provided operational analysis, simulation, software solutions and training expertise primarily to the defence sector. Here, I continued working on Maritime Operational Analysis – as well as gaining experience of training simulations and wargaming. My breadth of operation analysis techniques widen, having:

• taken part in forecast manning levels of the armed forces using historical data;
• participated in balance of investment studies for the Future Surface Combatant and modelled possible future scenarios, and;
• specified user requirements for bespoke modelling software.

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Senior Defence Analysis Consultant

Currently, I work as a Senior Defence Analysis Consultant for Thales Consulting & Engineering – which I joined in October 2005. My primary role is working within the Battlespace Transformation Centre – a pan Thales multinational group to support the transformation of customer's operational requirements. The changes in battles space – with the advent of network-enabled capability and unmanned vehicles deployment, in all domains and through life capability management – require a focus on Concept Development and Experimentation prior to equipment entering theatre or, in some cases, prior to contracting. Most support provided is at the pre-contract stage of projects and can range from unmanned air vehicles to Joint Military Air Traffic Services to System of Systems integration of the Future Rapid Effects System.

My main project during this time has been to lead a series of Operational Analysis studies that evaluate the through-life implications of a modular future surface combatant. The studies have centred on the development and evolution of a Global Fleet Model – to assess the impact of modular equipment across all Defence Lines of Development (including Training, Logistics and Doctrine). This has required whole-life costing assessment of possible options, examining potential UAV uses for surface combatants, through life scenario development and the evaluation of future manning and logistics methodologies. This work has also spun off work into other areas – with a model developed being adapted to examine search and rescue helicopter operations.


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