January 24, 2008 QinetiQ has put 12 types of MAN military logistic trucks through simulated hell and back as part of an 18-month evaluation contract. Over three separate six week phases, the 12 models of the new supply vehicles destined for the U.K. Ministry of Defense have been subjected to temperatures ranging from 49°C to -46°C, through dry, hot, wet and humid conditions that simulated desert, tropical and Arctic environments.
The first phase simulated hot conditions, with solar levels for a typical day cycle reaching 1120 watts per square meter. The second phase was tropical, and involved relative humidity levels of 80%. The final, Arctic, phase simulated temperatures of -46°C for the specially prepared winterized vehicles, and a chilly -32°C for the standard fleet.
Each of the phases involved regular checks of every piece of equipment on the vehicles, including engine starts, heating and cooling systems, brakes, wipers and ancillary items like winches, pumps and cranes. Further testing for the winterized variant is planned for early 2008.
The MAN support vehicles will be the logistic workhorse for the military, and are considerably more advanced than their predecessors. The trucks are fitted with more comfortable cabs, air conditioning and the latest in diagnostic and fault finding systems. They can also be fitted with an armor pack to protect crew from small arms fire and mine blasts. The contract between MOD and MAN is worth £1.3 billion, (US$2.5 billion), and includes over 7000 vehicles in 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8 wheel variants. The trucks will be used by the Army, Royal Marines and RAF, and are expected to be in service for at least 20 years. They’re designed to carry around 400 defined loads and will replace a diverse fleet of carriers, some of which date back to the 1970s.
Lord Drayson, the then Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support, when announcing delivery of the first 161 vehicles back in August 2007 said: "These trucks will give our front line forces a much improved vehicle for moving vital supplies such as ammunition, food and water while on operations. They will be able to operate across rough terrain, in extreme environments of hot and cold, and can drive ashore from landing craft."
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