Qinetiq blows hot and cold


has completed a series of rigorous environmental trials on 12 types of MAN military logistic trucks in its test chambers at MoD Boscombe Down.

The work was carried out as part of an independent 18-month evaluation contract for the new supply vehicles fleet for the MoD’s General Support Vehicles IPT.

The vehicles were subjected to temperatures between -46°C and 49°C over three six-week phases. They were tested in a temperature control chamber measuring 24.5m x 25m x 5.4m high with a 6.75m high recess for aircraft fins, in which the temperature can be controlled between 70 and -70°C. Humidity in the chamber can also be controlled to produce humidity levels of 0% to 100% humidity in temperatures of 40°C and solar arrays are used to recreate the effect of the sun.

In the first testing stage, desert hot and dry conditions were simulated with temperatures of up to 49°C with solar levels for a typical day cycle reaching 1120 watts per metre square. Tropical hot and wet conditions were simulated in the second phase, with temperatures at around 40°C and relative humidity levels of 80 per cent. In the final stage, temperatures were reduced to -46°C for the vehicles designed for use in winter and -32°C for the standard fleet.

During each phase of the evaluation, all pieces of equipment on each of the vehicles were tested to ensure they functioned consistently in all conditions. This included engine starts, crew heating and cooling systems, and ancillary items such as winches and pumps.

Qinetiq’s environment chambers can also be used to evaluate large equipment such as large commercial road and rail vehicles, as well as to simulate the conditions experienced by aircraft.

According to Qinetiq, the new trucks have been fitted with more comfortable cabs, air conditioning and the latest diagnostic and fault-finding systems. Armour packs can also be fitted onto the trucks to protect crews from small arms fire and mine blasts.