Foxhound’s Blast Proves
Effective on the Battlefield
The Foxhound, Britain’s new small but mighty weapon in Afghanistan, has impressed the top brass so much that an additional 51 new vehicles have been ordered.
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence recently announced the 46 million pound deal to add to its existing fleet of armored vehicles said to replace the Snatch Land Rover which was reportedly nicknamed the “mobile coffin” on the field of battle.
Deployed earlier this year, more than 300 Foxhounds are helping to safeguard lives in war-torn Afghanistan.
The success behind Foxhound and Formaplex, the company that currently builds pods for this lifesaver, is as incredible as the parts behind it.
Glass epoxy prepreg technology is currently being used in Formula 1 racing cars and the aerospace industry, but the concept of the Foxhound, taking only 40 months to develop, was partly designed by Formaplex and Formula 1 engineers for General Dynamics Land Systems, the maker of the Foxhound.
What makes the glass epoxy prepreg material attractive as a military personnel carrier is its robust and lightweight nature making it possible for the Foxhound to reach driving speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour (almost 80 miles per hour).
For TaeguTec, the challenge to machine a difficult material was something the toolmaker could not turn down without giving it a fighting try.
As a market leading tool manufacturer, TaeguTec has always taken great pride in developing tools that can handle all kinds of materials including composites, a sector where evolving inventions are constantly demanding newer, better and stronger tools.
The epoxy prepreg material coupled with the V-shape designed hull used in the Foxhound is exactly what every soldier on the battlefield has been demanding for the protection of themselves and their brothers and sisters at arms.
The British Army’s new Foxhound armored patrol vehicle’s use of epoxy material offers lightweight, blast proof strength making it ideal for a vehicle to travel where others only dream of going.
But developing tools to machine this composite material did not come easy because of its top secret nature.
First of all, time was of the essence, Formaplex had to produce two vehicle pods per day. Next, TaeguTec had to overcome severe tool abrasion and delamination at the same time.
The answer for the drilling part of the equation was TaeguTec’s development of its SHD solid carbide drills. The trick was a special geometry that included a flat on the drill, and a very hard carbide grade and coating layer making machining cool under pressure.
The end result was that drilling took 10 seconds with thread milling taking less than 15 seconds per hole. All this was accomplished at speeds of 100 meters per minute and a feed rate of 0.07 millimeters per revolution. At this speed and force, the TaeguTec SHD solid carbide drill’s tool life was enhanced to 4 meters per drill.
The milling part of the challenge was handled by TaeguTec’s development of an 80 millimeter diameter face mill that offered a 1.5 millimeter cutting depth per pass for a total depth of up to 6 millimeters.
For Formaplex, to live up to its deal to produce Foxhound vehicles as fast as possible and at a reasonable cost, TaeguTec made sure that the tool life of its PCD tipped inserts for face milling reached speeds of up to 250 millimeters per minute.
Adding to its appeal, the British military was impressed that the Foxhound could be upgraded with new, off-the-shelf or made-to-order equipment, keeping it uniform and operable with other vehicles and technologies, hence preventing it from becoming obsolete.