BAE Systems has begun building work on a new test rig designed to reduce the cost and timescales on two Ministry of Defence programmes for the army.
The £4.5m Turret Test Rig (TTR) will mimic the field testing of turrets for Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) Scout and Warrior vehicles by subjecting them to tests under extremes of temperatures. The tests are expected to take a turret through a 20-year lifespan in 12-18 months.
According to the company, the facility is closely modelled on its Mission Equipment Vibration Table (MEVT) in Minneapolis, built for the US Future Combat System (FCS) programme.
The vibration created by tracked vehicles makes attaining good reliability very challenging, particularly for electronic components. Testing in the field is necessary but also time consuming, expensive and inefficient.
‘The TTR will replace a large proportion of field trials with testing under tightly controlled conditions,’ said Vince Whelan, systems modelling and analysis manager. ‘We will be able to begin these trials much earlier in the development process so that field trials become a matter of verification rather than investigation. We will also be able to test and iron out any snags in suppliers’ equipment earlier.’
The rig was ordered four months ago and the facility is expected to be commissioned in September this year. It will sit alongside the Systems Integration Facility, which is already being used extensively for work on FRES and Warrior upgrades.