BAE Systems has begun work on a new test rig designed to reduce cost, risk and timescales on the MoD's most important programmes for the British Army.
The £4.5m Turret Test Rig (TTR) will mimic field testing of turrets for FRES Scout and Warrior upgrade by subjecting them to “shake, rattle and roll” tests under extremes of temperature. It will be able to take a turret through a 20-year life-span in 12-18 months. The facility is closely modelled on BAE Systems’ Mission Equipment Vibration Table (MEVT) in Minneapolis, built for the US FCS programme; unique until now.
Systems modelling and analysis manager, Vince Whelan, has relocated from Minneapolis where he worked on the MEVT to commission and use the new facility. He says: “The TTR will replace a large proportion of field trials with testing under tightly-controlled conditions. 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.
“Having the TTR where the design team is based will help us pinpoint — and therefore solve — the source of any problems much more quickly and easily, so that we and the MoD can have confidence in meeting their demanding reliability targets.”
The rig was ordered four months ago, with the facility expected to be commissioned in September this year and sit alongside the Systems Integration Facility — already being heavily used for work on FRES and Warrior upgrade.
BAE Systems FRES director, Mike Duckworth, explains the continued investment in Leicester: “As armoured vehicles become more complex, the value and the battle-winning advantage lies more and more with their sophisticated electronic systems. We are investing in Leicester as part of our business transformation to create a centre of excellence for these new technologies so that we can develop, integrate and bring them into service as efficiently as possible.”