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Millbrook, based in Bedfordshire, UK, makes a significant contribution to the quality and performance of military vehicles worldwide. Its specialist expertise is focussed in two distinct areas: test programmes to help armed services and their suppliers ensure that their vehicles and systems work as the specification requires; and design and build work to upgrade new or existing vehicles, evaluate vehicle capability and investigate in-service failures. Complementing these is driver and service training and a hospitality business that allows customers to use selected areas of Millbrook’s remarkable facilities for demonstrations and exhibitions.
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05 Apr 10. Creation, the UK vehicle design and engineering firm behind a series of successful, imaginative military vehicle platforms, radical new concept ancillary equipment and innovative technology, has revealed that future development work across its Zephyr protected vehicle programme will be focused primarily on overseas markets. It has recently completed its planned pre-production batch of the Zephyr 7.5 tonne GVW 4×4 protected platform and the vehicle is now being used as a demonstrator and for additional trials. The first three-axle variant – an 11 tonne 6×4 cargo or shelter carrier – is on schedule for completion mid-2010 – but no decision has been made on whether the company may attend or show at UK events such as DVD in June. Creation founder and Managing Director, Bill Davis says, ”The latest Zephyr SRV is performing extremely well and is as close to production intent as we can get it. We are now putting on test miles on highway, on different terrains and surfaces – and trialing equipment installations and packaging. The vehicle also now provides us another fully developed demonstrator with which to highlight some very deliberate design features – and dispel a few myths”.
Creation’s Zephyr programme started originally in 2008 as a ground-up light platform concept, designed to offer Legacy Fleet Upgrade (LFU) or asset management options. It is not ‘derived’ or developed from any other in-service platform. It does however, incorporate a number of recognised world market proprietary components – for instance in the powertrain – which are compatible with common inventory and ILS support in some major military fleets. The Zephyr LFU concept prototype featured a completely new chassis – with entry-level underbelly blast protection. It deliberately used the body pick-up points common with specific in-service bodies and top structures, in order to demonstrate a potential range of upgrade, inter-changeability, life extension and protection solutions for existing or legacy fleets. The later development Zephyr SRV (Specific Requirements Vehicle) 4×4 protected platform was launched in mid-2009, initially at DVD and later internationally, at DSEi – and has since been the centre of confirmed and specific interest in a number of overseas markets. The vehicle development programme is running on schedule – but Creation will shortly drop the SRV acronym as part of a wider review of future plans. Importantly, all design rights and IPR for the Zephyr programme are owned by Creation – a factor which has already attracted serious interest from countries which would favour local assembly or in-country manufacture under licence. The Zephyr design features independently suspended wheel stations at the corners (rather than beam axles), the sacrifice of which is part of the designed-in blast mitigation system. The advanced composites crew survival cell – which now also carries Creation’s radical new blast seat design – has already successfully undergone a range of tests including an underbelly blast. The company is now engaged in further analysis, engineering research, modelling and simulation work to take the survivability