Specialist Vehicle pulls more than its weight in trials for British Army
Specialist Vehicle (SV) is already pulling more than its weight as the core of the British Army’s future Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) programme. The Mobile Test Rig (MTR) for the SV programme, which was rolled out by General Dynamics in June, has towed a total of 92 tonnes train weight over 300km providing early confidence in SV’s ability to deliver the full-load power-pack performance required to meet the vehicle’s anticipated growth path over the next 30 years.
The MTR’s Gross Vehicle Weight was 30 tonnes for the test. The additional 62-tonne load was provided by three towed vehicles, including two military AFVs – an ULAN PT5 at 28 tonnes and a SK105 Light tank with 105mm cannon at 18 tonnes – and a truck ballasted to 16 tonnes. This test, one of several, used the three vehicles as a rolling dynamometer with the brake retarders energised on the towed vehicles, to provide the drawbar load on the MTR required to achieve maximum power and torque.
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Conducted at the General Dynamics European Land Systems facility in Austria, this testing demonstrated two key characteristics of the SV design: that the automotive systems – tracks, wheels, suspension, engine, gearbox and cooling group – can deliver the performance to support the programme’s growth path over the next 30 years; and that this SV platform, in its Recovery variant, will be capable of towing all other current British Army vehicles – a key role in the programme’s Recce Block 1.
This stress testing also provides early evidence of the SV’s ability to cope with environmental operating extremes. This is of particular importance for assured operation in high ambient temperatures, the ability to climb steep gradients and the ability to operate in a combined condition of high ambient temperatures at high altitude.
The MTR will also undertake an extensive series of operational and tactical (O&T) mobility trials to demonstrate the ability of the vehicle’s automotive systems to meet the demanding mobility requirements of the SV programme. O&T trials will be conducted at a series of increasing gross vehicle weights to show the platform’s inherent growth capability up to the mandated maximum GVW of 42 tonnes, providing early confidence in the programme of SV’s capability to deliver through-life growth.
Once the O&T trials phase is concluded at the end of 2012, the MTR will be shipped to test facilities in Seville, Spain, where the vehicle will be put through a gruelling Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) schedule designed to replicate pre-defined battlefield missions. On completion of the ALT activities, MTR will have covered a total of 10,000km and will have provided crucial reliability and performance data to inform the design and manufacture of the six prototype SV platforms.
The MTR programme of trials has been designed to provide proof-of-design and de-risking in advance of the main trials programme, which will feature the six Recce Block 1 prototype vehicles (3 Scout, PMRS, Repair and Recovery). This rigorous and demanding trials-and-acceptance programme will ensure that users will benefit from the key advantages of the SV’s common base-platform approach, including a lower cost of ownership and smaller logistics footprint thanks to the commonality of its components across the fleet and the reliability that will allow the Army to use SV far from its base for extended periods of time.
Source : General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD)