QinetiQ’s force protection engineering team took just 10 weeks to establish and deliver a method of testing over-roofing structures for protection of UK forces against indirect fire mortar and rocket attacks in Iraq – currently a daily occurrence in camps across the country.
A number of potential protective systems had to be tested against the blast, fragmentation and ballistic penetrative capabilities of dynamically fired rockets and mortars so an intensive series of technically challenging trials were planned and executed. These used QinetiQ’s long test track facility at Pendine and were undertaken by the force protection engineering team from QinetiQ Land Division, working in conjunction with its Test and Evaluation Capability Services Division.
“Special test sleds were designed to secure rockets to the track that allowed them to spin at several thousand RPM, arming them in flight – something that had never been attempted before,” explained Angus Williams, head of QinetiQ’s force protection engineering team. “The launch point on the track was also adjusted to achieve an impact velocity of 300 metres per second, replicating real events in theatre. The joint team worked together extremely well to overcome the technical challenges and tight timescales, including the development of a method of dynamically firing the armed rockets down the track reliably, consistently and safely.”
Major Bob Sheldon, HQ Engineer in Chief and military subject matter expert for the project, added: “I was delighted by the success of the trial and the dedicated effort put in by QinetiQ to providing increased levels of protection for British Service personnel in camps in Iraq.”
The trial was completed successfully within the timescales and the recommendations are being incorporated into the design. QinetiQ’s initial success has also led to significant interest from the US, Canada and Israel amongst others and a second phase of trialling is being planned.