Putting a missile through its paces

In order to test the TRIGAT anti-tank missile to its full capacity, by the British, French, German, Dutch and Belgium armies, a target had to be developed that would put the missile through its paces. The solution proposed and engineered by personnel from the Inventory Trials and Development Unit (ITDU) at the Warminster Training Corps, was a 2.5m by 4.5m target that could be propelled at up to 60km/h over a distance of 300m.

The target consists of a hessian covered aluminium frame, mounted on rollers. In order for the target to be used for night trials, the centre supports a large heat pad, allowing it to be tracked by infrared imaging. Tensioned steel cables linked between two 10m high uprights, provide `rails’, 300m apart, for the target rollers. A six pole 5.5kW AC Vector motor, supplied by Eurotherm Drives, is connected to the target frame by 6mm nylon cord loop, and provides a top speed of 60km/h (at 1000rpm) to the target.

The target is controlled from a distance, using a Eurotherm Drives 620 Vector inverter and switch gear, housed within an IP54 cubical. Operated via a UHF radio linked remote operator station, it allows the target to be controlled, at four speeds, from a distance of up to 2km.

The medium range TRIGAT could replace the MILAN missile, which was first produced during the 1970s. No commercial contract has been drawn up yet as the trial’s success depends on the effectiveness of the mechanical target and its controller exploring the full potential of the missile.