MOD Pendine is located on the southwest coast of Wales, a 20 minute drive from the town of Carmarthen. The range is situated in Pendine itself and has a land area of 20.5km² which consists of several different areas, each with individual capabilities. The 9km of shoreline has been used in the past for aircraft landing training sorties, while the large Sea Danger Area stretches over approximately 18km². It also has an Air Danger Area which extends up to 23,000ft. The section of coastline is known for its high tidal range of up to 8m.
These natural features, coupled with today’s infrastructure and expertise, mean that the site continues to provide a key MOD facility for test, evaluation and training support activities.
The Range is divided into three geographical sections; West, Central and East. The facilities in the different areas vary considerably, but most consist of prepared, safe areas with permanent buildings and power supplies. Staff and equipment are moved between the ranges as required by the schedule of work. Pendine’s Long Test Track (LTT) facility, suitable for high-speed dynamic trials, is unique in the UK.
The Test Tracks
The Long Test Track (LTT) is 1500 metres long and consists of two parallel, narrow gauge, lengths of precisely aligned railway track. It is fully instrumented to enable complex photographic and telemetry data systems to comprehensively monitor trials.
Other tracks include the Short Test Track (STT) at just over 200 metres long and another general purpose track consisting of a 400-metre, standard British Rail track that terminates at a solid concrete butt.
QinetiQ's work at MOD Pendine
Pendine Range is operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MOD under what is known as the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA). It provides defence Test and Evaluation (T&E), and training support services, helping to ensure that the equipment used by our Armed Forces is fit for purpose, safe and meets contracted requirements and that military personnel have adequate training for the job they do.
QinetiQ is one of the world’s leading defence technology and security companies. In today’s world, the challenges faced by governments to detect, identify and respond to both defence and homeland security threats requires the most advanced technical capabilities science can offer… that is our business.
QinetiQ provides Test and Evaluation (T&E) and Training Support services to MOD under a 25-year contract – the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA). Many of these services are centrally funded, ensuring maximum value for money for the MOD customer. The LTPA contract, signed in 2003, is an innovative partnering approach to managing the MOD’s strategic T&E capability.
MOD Pendine is the UK home of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) European Regional Test Centre for Small Arms Ammunition (SAA).
After the NATO Ottawa Conference in 1951 it was recognised that there was a need to standardise the ammunition and equipment used by NATO forces.
It was agreed that two Regional Test Centres (RTC) would be established – one initially at the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia in North America and one in Europe.
The RTC in the USA is now located at the Lake City Ammunition Plant in Missouri and the European RTC and the test centre it was transferred to Pendine with the closure of Cold Meece.