Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

RN Engineering Challenge brings youngsters designs to life

28 March 2019
Youngsters from across the UK gathered at HMS Sultan in order to compete in The Royal Navy Engineering Challenge - Exercise Downbird Recovery.

Held in partnership with University Technical Colleges (UTCs), Eaton Ltd, Babcock and BAE Systems, the Challenge aimed to inspire young people to engage further with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

They had to design and build two remote-controlled vehicles, a land-based recovery vehicle capable of carrying a stranded helicopter and a ship that can transport it to safety.

Over 70 teams competed in the Challenge, with several of the teams enjoying the opportunity to experience 24 hours of Naval life, including a night on board HMS Bristol.

Prizes were awarded across 10 different categories between groups aged 14-16, 16-18 and for apprentices from industry aged 18-24 with the RAF team from RAF Cosford, the ‘Bomber Buoys’ declared overall winners for their design.

It’s been really good, very fun and the tanks have been great to play with. I even managed to do doughnuts with the boat earlier and it’s great to see everyone coming to watch you.

HMS Brady team member Danny Sutton

Key Stage 4 students from the WMG Academy, Coventry scooped up three of the prizes on offer with their team ‘HMS Brady’ and the Acadamy also accomplished further success as their team ‘HMS Greensock’ also claimed the Winners trophy in the Key Stage 5 competition.

HMS Brady team member Danny Sutton, 16 said: “It’s been really good, very fun and the tanks have been great to play with. I even managed to do doughnuts with the boat earlier and it’s great to see everyone coming to watch you.”

“Loads of months of creation have all come down to one day. Some parts of the design were quite fun and other were quite stressful, but overall it’s been ok and definitely taught me about using CAD and the importance of prototypes.”

The Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, The Rt Hon Lord Baker of Dorking said: “I’m delighted to see so many students from University Technical Colleges (UTCs) taking part in this year’s Royal Navy Engineering Challenge.

"Through this competition, the Royal Navy offer UTC students a unique experience and the opportunity to apply the technical knowledge and practical skills they learn every day at their UTC.

"The work the Royal Navy does to inspire young engineers has never been more important as this country’s need for talent and skills has never been greater."

The Navy’s head of training and lead STEM co-ordinator, Commodore Andy Cree, said: “Today marked another hugely enjoyable milestone in the Royal Navy’s annual challenge and my congratulations go to all those who completed it.

"Our most complex challenge to date brought together elements of additive manufacture and robotics in real-world conditions and it was fascinating to see over 70 teams across 3 age groups competing to solve the same problem, with shared learning all round.”

Prize Winners


Best Newcomer:

Team Mia

London Design & Engineering UTC



Portsmouth UTC

Best Manufacture:

HMS Brady

WMG Academy


Onshore Pirates

Reading UTC

Presentation Key Stage 4:

HMS Brady

WMG Academy

Presentation Key Stage 5:

OCR Islanders

Scarborough UTC

Winner - Key Stage 4:

HMS Brady

WMG Academy

Winner – Key Stage 5:

HMS Greensock

WMG Academy

Winner -Apprentices:

Titchfield Troopers

Eaton Ltd

Overall Winner:

Bomber Buoys

Royal Air Force

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.