Qioptiq (Stand S8-110), an Excelitas Technologies Company and a primary supplier of the most advanced optical equipment and systems to the defence and aerospace sectors, is also active in supporting British service men and women through sponsorship of sport and other endeavours.
One such is the extraordinary Ice Maiden expedition in which five women, all serving in the British Army or Army Reserve, are aiming to become the first all-female team to ski coast to coast across Antarctica in November 2017. No team of women, from any nation, has completed this formidable challenge.
It is the ultimate opportunity to show that women have the mental strength and physical endurance to operate in the most hostile environment on earth. The Ice Maiden team will cover 1,700km using muscle power alone, pulling sledges and battling temperatures of -50°C and wind speeds of more than 60mph during their three-month journey. Unsupported, and with only two resupply points along the route, they will carry all the supplies and equipment needed to survive for up to 600km at a time. The Ice Maiden team will follow in the footsteps of Felicity Aston’s record-breaking solo Antarctic crossing in 2012. The aim is:
● To inspire a new era of female expeditionary spirit, encouraging women and girls of all ages to take up a challenge, get active and get outdoors;
● To promote an active lifestyle, female teamwork and leadership to companies, schools and youth groups throughout the UK;
● To provide winter survival skills and qualifications to a number of women throughout the training process, inspiring them to lead their own expeditions in future;
● To collect medical data that shows how the female body copes with extreme endurance in polar environments.
Qioptiq is a Gold member of Team Army, which recognises that sport is critical to the welfare and morale of the British forces.