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Motorsport technology goes into combat zone.

A small motorsport engineering firm says it has solved the problem of how to stop armoured vehicles overheating in the harsh desert environment of Afghanistan.

Northampton-based NAR Group has designed what it claims is an innovative engine cooling system for BAE Systems' Panther vehicle, which can be rolled out to thousands of armoured vehicles to stop them from overheating in hot and dusty terrain.

Harsh desert environments produce very fine dust that can get trapped in the Panther's radiator, causing the vehicle to overheat.

The cooling system is based on technology the 22-strong engineering firm has produced for companies such as Aston Martin in the motorsports sector.

After a series of successful tests in Britain, the cooling system will initially be integrated into 67 Panther vehicles customised to theatre entry standard (TES) for the army.

It is hoped the system will be fitted across the remaining 334 Panther Command and Liaison vehicles, which are 4x4 light armoured vehicles for the British fleet.

The cooling system units will be sent to Afghanistan and integrated into the fleet from June.

They could eventually be implemented into all multi-role light vehicles (MLV) around the world.


Rob Goodwin, managing director of NAR Group, said: "We have made something that copes in the harsh conditions.

"We are certainly going to advertise the fact that, within military circles, we have a solution to this issue."

BAE Systems is nearing the end of testing the cooling system on a Panther TES vehicle at Bovington, Dorset.

Craig Brown, mechanical team leader at BAE Systems Global Combat Systems, said: "The work we are doing at Dorset is proving to us that we have a distinct, innovative advantage with this.

"It's the first time we have really gone down a motorsport route, looking to the sector to resolve a problem."

How it works

The cooling system has a uniquely designed aluminium cooling fin, called a dimpled wave fin. It cools the vehicle but also lets all the sand particles and fine grit pass through the radiator to the other side. In addition, a quick release mesh guard system traps and collects the dust and bigger particles to stop them damaging the vehicle's components.

The cooling system is hall the weight of previous systems. Its design also means it can be removed, cleaned and refitted in around 20 minutes, as opposed to the usual time of three hours.

Rob Goodwin, managing director of NAR Group, said: "It's the technology of the fin, which makes the big difference. It has made the Panther a very effective fighting support vehicle."

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Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Date:Mar 31, 2010
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