22 Januari 2016
Thales's Hawkei protected vehicle (photo : Aus DoD)
QinetiQ Australia has commenced the second phase of full scale fatigue testing on the Hawkei vehicle at Thales Australia’s manufacturing facility in Bendigo, Victoria.
The eight week test program involves attaching a Hawkei production-level chassis to a 5 x 8m test rig for a series of tests to validate the predicted life of the structure and to demonstrate several improvements made since QinetiQ did the first phase of fatigue tests on the prototype in 2010.
George McGuire, General Manager Land and Maritime of QinetiQ Australia, said: “During the tests, we push the Hawkei to its absolute limits. We artificially recreate the various stresses the Hawkei might be under in the field by placing a combination of loads on the chassis, which are activated by computer-operated hydraulics powered by 100 litres of oil per minute. It is a very significant undertaking that requires a depth of technical expertise and practical implementation experience.”
Peter Goodwin, Director Operations at Thales Australia, said: “Both phases of this project have involved a high degree of teamwork and commitment between Thales and QinetiQ using a mix of personnel, equipment and facilities. QinetiQ is one of many suppliers that have played a significant role in shaping the Hawkei and contributing to its success. These full scale fatigue tests will ensure the Hawkei performs for the Australian Army over a long period of time during different stages of operation throughout its service life.”
The Commonwealth Government of Australia signed a $1.3 billion contract with Thales in October 2015 for delivery of 1,100 vehicles and over 1,000 trailers to the Australian Army. The three and a half year production phase is scheduled to begin from mid-2017, with first deliveries expected towards the end of that year.
For more than 15 years, QinetiQ has provided fatigue and damage tolerance assessment services to various commercial and Government customers in Australia, building on existing test and evaluation expertise found in the wider QinetiQ Group. In addition to Thales’s Hawkei, QinetiQ Australia has conducted military aircraft full scale fatigue tests and full scale component tests for civil aircraft such as the flaps on the 787 Dreamliner.