The latest British military fast landing craft demonstrator has been developed and built by QinetiQ using HBM‘s eDAQ data acquisition system as part of the testing and analysis regime. The Partial Air Cushion Supported CATamaran (PACSCAT) Innovative Solution Demonstrator Craft (ISDC) vessel is intended for use in a variety of military roles and may be suitable for commercial applications.
The PACSCAT ISDC is based on a hovercraft design with twin hulls. Air is blown in between the two catamaran hulls to give lift which reduces drag, increases speed and allows greater beaching capabilities. HBM’s equipment was used as part of an on-board instrumentation system to monitor operational performance in real time.
Ewan Browell, QinetiQ Trials Manager says, “We had used HBM’s equipment in the past on a trimaran project which worked extremely well and we felt that HBM’s equipment would be able to withstand the harsh operational conditions that the craft would encounter.”
To meet the military specifications the craft faced a large number of design constraints since high speed and high payload capacity were needed to ensure maximum military capability in conjunction with low draught and wash characteristics to avoid detection by any enemy. In addition the craft has to be capable of docking in the welldock of supporting Royal Navy ships, such as HMS Albion.
Browell used HBM’s Glyphworks for the initial analysis. He says, “The interface is a visual piece of software and that makes it very easy and instinctive to work with.” Once the initial analysis was complete, Browell was able to easily export the results into Excel which could then be distributed for additional comments. Browell adds, “This is a really effective way of working as I can get the initial analysis done quickly while the rest of the team can work on the results in software that is familiar to them.”
The aluminum PACSCAT, which is classified by Lloyd’s Register, has an overall length of 29.7 m and a beam of 7.7 m. Its operational draft is 1.2 m with a range of 250 nautical miles at 25 knots. The craft is designed to carry a variety of military loads for differing operational requirements. These can vary from five Viking all-terrain vehicles, or 2 to 4 4×4 MAN trucks, to a single Hippo beach armored recovery vehicle, or a single Challenger 2 main battle tank.
The craft is propelled by two MJP 750 water jets each driven by an MTU 400016vM90 engine. Two Yanmar 6LYA engines provide power to the two Witt duplex fans that lift the vessel when in action. The hull was tested for effectiveness against the UK MoD Fast Landing Craft operational requirements.
Instrumentation has been fitted throughout the craft to determine performance and help optimize future vessel design. HBM’s eDAQ data acquisition unit is stowed in the starboard store below the wheelhouse and accessed in the crew room on the port side where the user can monitor real-time information during trials via the GUI.
The eDAQ on-board instrumentation system records 49 strain gauges, two hull pressure transducers, three tri-axial accelerometers and two shaft torque transducers. Browell adds, “The equipment has been very good.” One particular aspect was the support provided by HBM. “They were very easy to work with and the products have been really good for the application,” notes Browell.
Chris Ross, chief naval architect at QinetiQ comments, “The PACSCAT is the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication in developing a new type of fast and functional landing craft. It has generated interest among customers looking to develop partial air cushion concepts into their future vessels.”