General Dynamics and the Specialist Vehicle (SV) industry team have successfully completed cold-weather trials on the Mobile Test Rig (MTR), achieving another key derisking test in advance of the prototype stage and ensuring the vehicle’s operational capability for the coldest of theatres. These trials follow testing of the cooling system under full load for assured operation in extremes of heat and mean that SV will have an operating envelope spanning 80°C, ensuring the British Army can operate globally with this equipment in the future. The testing, which included starting and running the vehicle’s engine at -32°C, was carried out in a special military coldclimatic chamber at the Instituto Tecnológico ‘La Marañosa’ (ITM) near Madrid between the 1st and 12th April this year.
This latest trial follows 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, during which the MTR towed a total of 92 tonnes train weight over 300km as part of a gruelling Accelerated Life Testing (ALT) schedule designed to replicate predefined battlefield missions and conditions. 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.
“This cold weather trial is a key part of the overall testing we put the MTR through to ensure SV will operate efficiently and effectively no matter what climatic conditions it faces in the future,” commented Kevin Connell, vice president, Vehicle Programmes at General Dynamics UK. “The Ministry of Defence and General Dynamics have thought ahead in designing SV to be as capable in freezing temperatures as it will be in the hot temperatures the British Army is operating in today. As the British Army’s core Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) capability for the next 30 to 40 years, it needs to be prepared for anything and it will be.”
How the cold weather test was done
Before the MTR was placed in the cold climatic chamber, trial preparation was undertaken during which the power pack was removed, the temperate climate oils replaced with approved oils of a lower viscosity and the remaining diesel drained and replaced with winter fuel. Main engine and pre-heater exhaust extraction, along with additional specialised instrumentation, were fitted and tested and then the power pack was replaced.
Once in the chamber the MTR underwent a 72 hour “cold soak” period to achieve the mandated -32°C required for the initial test. The MTR’s pre-heater system and flame start were operated after which the main engine was successfully started within the required time with no detrimental effects to the battery voltage or cranking speed. The final stage of the trial involved starting the main engine at -19°C without preparation, and then once again using the flame start device but without the pre-heater system at -32°C.
The MTR power pack was run until the main engine, transmission and coolant achieved minimum operating temperature at which point the chamber doors were opened and the MTR was driven out of the chamber.
Source: General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD)
Date: Jun 19, 2013