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Test vehicles are used in the context of the development of new combat vehicles, new types of combat vehicle concepts and the development of new types of assembly technologies.

Due to the high complexity of tank technology, test vehicles are used to estimate the remaining risk and the development effort that is still required until it is ready for series production.

Because of the costs, the first step will be to carry out the relevant investigations either in a simulation or on test benches. If a mobile test bench is required for the investigations, it will be decided to build test vehicles. This is generally the case for the investigation of components that determine fire power and mobility. In contrast, studies in the field of protection / survivability tend to be carried out under static boundary conditions. Test vehicles are usually only necessary here for special tasks.

In terms of classification, a distinction can be made between technology test vehicles and total system test vehicles. Technology test vehicles often have no fixed reference to a specific tank project or a development project and are primarily used for early investigations at the component level. Fundamental proof of functionality and examinations of the components under combat vehicle-specific operating conditions are in the foreground of the considerations. In the further course of development, the initial proof of function should also be followed by first proof of performance. Such technology test vehicles can also be used for comparative studies of different technologies such. B. in terms of volume, weight, energy consumption and reliability.

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Possible classification of the different types of test vehicles (graphic: author)

In contrast, overall system test vehicles or demonstrators for new and innovative concepts should provide initial findings with regard to the tactical-operational suitability or the functionality of functional chains including the examination of interfaces within the system. In individual cases, a 1: 1 wooden model is built prior to the construction of a first overall system test vehicle, which is used primarily to design the combat area and carry out stowage studies. As a rule, comprehensive system compatibility studies are carried out or z. B. Considered issues of electromagnetic compatibility. In the further course of the development, questions of the reliability and the service life of individual assemblies or of the entire system can be investigated with test vehicles as a whole.

Technology test vehicle for fundamental investigations (examples)

Triaxial stabilized tower
One of the first technology test vehicles in Germany was the construction of the functional model of a three-axis stabilized turret (T 3) with a 105 mm tank cannon on a modified chassis of the Leopard 1 battle tank (MBT), which was developed from 1964. By implementing an additional degree of freedom around the roll axis, tilt compensation should be made possible if necessary in order to improve the probability of hitting.

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