Military Airfield Testing Introduces December Lab Equipment Gallery
Dynatest A/S, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, delivered a heavy vehicle simulator to the U.S. Army in September. The Danish-American company also has a department in Gainesville, Florida, and develops, manufactures, and services equipment and software for testing and evaluating pavement on roads and runways.
“When the giant C17 military aircraft lands, enormous forces hit the ground,” Dynatest CEO Jesper Rantala said. “This requires a runway built for that purpose. When it comes to U.S. defense equipment, nothing is left to chance. Everything is thoroughly tested. This also applies to the pavement on the runways that the defense has at its disposal.”
Jesper Rantala became CEO of Dynatest in 2019 when the company became part of the Danish technology group Eltronic Group.
The heavy vehicle simulator has been nicknamed Titan, which emphasizes that it is the largest of its kind. The machine is 150 feet long and weighs 125 tons, and Dynatest engineers spent two years developing, producing and delivering it. Now, it is up and running at the military base in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the U.S. Army Development Department, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) will be using it in their research.
Jeb Tingle is senior scientific technical manager at the U.S. Army ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structural Laboratory. Tingle said, “The heavy vehicle simulator, Titan, built in partnership with Dynatest, is a critical research tool to evaluate new materials, design methods and construction techniques to optimize transportation infrastructure facilities. It has been a long process to get us where we are today, and with this new capability added to the ERDC toolkit, we will be able to discover, develop and deliver solutions to the Warfighter and nation much more quickly.
“We are also proud to claim that the Titan has the ability to apply a dynamic impact load to simulate impact loadings from aircraft touchdown and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft,” he continued. “No other heavy vehicle simulator is capable of performing these critical tests. The Titan also has some first-of-their-kind features to help ERDC support military transportation needs.”
The Pendulum Wheel
With a wheel that goes back and forth, the task of the heavy vehicle simulator is to imitate the forces of a military aircraft and thereby test the strength of the runway.
“It is not possible to determine whether a runway is worn out just by looking at the surface,” Rantala explained. “The pavement consists of several layers, all of which must be in good condition to ensure that the load-bearing capacity is strong enough. With the heavy vehicle simulator, you can test how 20 years of use affects the pavement in just three months. It provides an accurate and realistic picture of the condition of the runway, and in this way, you get the opportunity to develop better runways.”
“There is no doubt that we are ‘nerds’ in our field. We have a strong focus on improving details and further developing our equipment.”—Jasper Rantala