General Dynamics (GD) has concluded cold-weather testing of the mobile test rig (MTR) of the UK Army's specialist vehicle (SV) in a special military cold climatic chamber at the Instituto Tecnológico 'La Marañosa' near Madrid, Spain.
Carried out in collaboration with the SV industry team, the successful trials involved starting and running the vehicle's engine at -32°C, in an effort to confirm its operational capability in coldest theatres.
General Dynamics UK Vehicle Programmes vice-president Kevin Connell said the latest trials formed part of an overall testing programme aimed at ensuring the vehicle's effective operation in all climatic conditions.
''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,'' Connell said.
Prior to testing, the MTR was filled with winter fuel in place of diesel and temperate oils were replaced by those of a lower viscosity, was subsequently made to undergo a 72-hour cold soak period to reach the mandated -32°C temperature.
The main engine was then started within the required time without any significant impact on the battery voltage or cranking speed.
During the final stage, the engine was started twice, first at -19°C without preparation, and once again using the flame start device without the pre-heater system at -32°C.
The cold weather testing of MTR, which follows cooling system test under full load for its capabilities in extremes of heat, validates the SV's operating envelope of 80°C.
MTR has also demonstrated its ability to tow a train of vehicles with a total weight of 92t over 300km during a series of operational and tactical (O&T) mobility trials conducted at the company's facility in Austria in November 2012.
SV represents tracked segment of the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD) future rapid effect system (FRES) programme, which aims to deliver a fleet of more than 4,000 armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) to the UK Army.
GD secured SV contract in March 2010 for delivery of up to 580 units of Scout and common base platform variants of its Austrian-Spanish cooperation development (ASCOD) vehicle, followed by a £500m award for demonstration of seven prototype vehicles in July the same year.
Image: The specialist vehicle's MTR during O&T mobility trials in Austria. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.