Delivered in Detroit, MI, USA, this course will provide students with the technical knowledge and understanding of weapon systems and military vehicles to make them effective in their specification, design, development and assessment.

This course is delivered by Cranfield University in the United States of America, and can therefore only accept applications from current residents of the United States of America and/or applicants who do not require a Visa to enter the USA for the purposes of education.


  • Start dateJune
  • DurationMSc: Up to five years part-time; PgDip/PgCert: Up to three years part-time
  • DeliveryWritten exam (50%) and course work (50%)
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typePart-time
  • CampusExternal

Who is it for?

The course provides education and training at postgraduate level for those who expect to fill technically-demanding appointments concerned with the design, development, procurement and operation of vehicles.

For those who are new to defence or those who plan to come out of military service or are retiring soon and would like to join the defence industry, this course offers the underpinning knowledge and education to enhance their suitability for employability. In the same way it increases a better understanding of those who are working in the industry to improve their quality of work.

The majority of the students attending the course are sponsored by GVSC, USA and GDLS, USA. In addition, staff from YPG, Yuma and other local organisations have attended individual courses.

The Associates from DoD such as GVSC, APG, YPG, CRTC and Industry from the USA have either joined the programme or have attended individual classes. Recently, Associates from the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) have started to attend our classes. Any course listed as part of this programme can also be offered (non-accredited) at customer premises as part of Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Each course is delivered to a class of 20 attendees.

Why this course?

This is the only MSc in the USA which offers a master’s degree in Military Vehicles and Weapon Engineering.

The course is designed to offer equally a broad and in-depth coverage of technologies used in the design, development, test and evaluation of weapon systems and military vehicles. Special attention will be given to recent advances in defence technology; and to educating students in the analysis and evaluation of systems against changes and developments in the threat. The course also offers a critical depth to undertake engineering analysis or the evaluation of relevant sub systems.

Each individual course is designed and offered as a standalone course which allows and benefits an individual to understand the fundamental technology required to efficiently perform the relevant job responsibilities.

Course details


The MSc of this course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology



The taught element consists of 10 core and four optional modules covering major aspects of defence technology, providing a balanced and broad coverage of key aspects, issues and constraints associated with the design, development, performance and integration of weapon and vehicle systems.

Each standard module consists of a one-week (five days) course of lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. Earning the appropriate credits can lead to the following academic awards: PgCert – any combination of modules (building a total of 60 credits) / PgDip – all modules (120 credits) / MSc – all modules (120 credits) plus project (80 credits).

Course delivery

Written exam (50%) and course work (50%)

Individual project

In addition to the taught part of the course, students can opt either to undertake an individual project or participate in a group design project. The aim of the project phase is to enable students to develop expertise in engineering research, design or development. The project phase requires a thesis to be submitted and is worth 80 credit points.


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Fighting Vehicle Design

Module Leader
  • Professor Amer Hameed

    To give a fundamental understanding of technologies involved in the fighting vehicle design.


    Topics covered by the course:

    • AFV design characteristics, attack of armour and IEDs, terminal ballistics
    • AFV transmissions and steering, armour materials and structure, terramechanics, wheeled vehicle drivelines, suspension and ride, tracked
      vehicle running gear design, mobility, weapon fire control and stabilisation system, AFV power requirement, gun and cannon installation
    • HUMS, AFV engines, surveillance systems, signature reduction techniques, defensive aid systems, power sources and energy management, electric transmission systems, EMP, EMC and software issues, vehicle systems integration, hybrid options, AFV packaging and armour distribution
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion the student should be able to:

  • Recognise and identify the key design and development features of  armoured fighting vehicles
  • Formulate the inter relationships and trade offs between the wide ranging vehicle system technologies involved
  • Better understand the technological possibilities and constraints presented by these technologies for future vehicles
  • Put their own knowledge into context, and thereby deliver added value to future design solutions

Finite Element Methods in Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Shaun Forth

    To introduce the fundamental skills and knowledge required to perform a computational heat transfer, structural or impact analysis using an industry standard finite element or hydrocode package and to be able to critically assess such an analysis in terms of modelling and numerical error

    • Trusses: element and global geometries.
    • Mathematical Foundations: overview of finite-elements in one dimension, weighted residuals, Galerkin method and weak form, shape and weight functions, one-dimensional elements, time-dependent problems, applications to heat transfer and mechanics.
    • Two-dimensional Problems: review of 2D heat transfer and mechanics, 2D elements, linear and quadratic, rectangular and triangular elements, practical - 2D heat flow.
    • Three-dimensional Problems: review of 3D mechanics, 3D elements, grid generation, solution singularities, modelling failure, practical – 3D mechanics.
    • Hydrocodes: background, Lagrangian and Eulerian approaches, time-integration, artificial viscosity, methods for material contact and large deformations, overview of material and explosive modelling, applications, practical – impact problem.
    • Material Modelling: stress-strain relations, equations of state, case studies.
    • Dynamic Problems: finite element methods to determine natural frequencies.
    • Introduction to Design Optimisation: the design cycle, design as an optimisation process, objective and constraints, gradient-based versus heuristic methods, multi-objective problems.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to: 

  • Perform a computational analysis of a simple problem in structures, heat transfer, or impact using an industry standard finite element or hydrocode  package.        
  • Critically assess their analysis by using knowledge of the underlying mathematical model and numerical algorithm as well as their engineering judgment.
  • Produce a clear and concise report detailing their analysis.

Systems Engineering & Assured Performance

Module Leader
  • Rick Adcock
    To make students aware of the vital issues that must be addressed within a systems engineering context if the military user is to have the necessary assurance of receiving equipment that satisfies the capability and dependability requirements that were specified.

    Topics covered by the course:

    • Introduction to Systems Engineering (SE) and Assured Performance (AP) core concepts and processes, systems approach to complex problems, SE lifecycle processes: requirements; architecture, integration & verification; validation and acceptance; Architecture Frameworks
    • Dependability, design for system level Availability, Reliability, and Resilience; Human Systems Integration, dependability assurance.  Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) and contacting for support.SE lifecycle planning, US defence acquisition and acceptance context.
    • The course concludes with a case study based exercise covering lifecycle planning, trade off and through life considerations..
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion the student should be able to:

  • Understand the concepts of systems thinking in a defence context
  • Define and critically evaluate the role of systems engineering lifecycle processes in the delivery of defence capability
  • Define and critically evaluate the role of through life processes in assuring the dependability and operational effectiveness of defence capability
  • Select the correct lifecycle approach to defence projects, and apply appropriate systems engineering and assured performance techniques across the lifecycle
  • Understand how the systems engineering approach to defence is integrated into US acquisition practice

Modelling, Simulation and Control


    The module provides an introduction to mathematical modelling, control and the simulation environment Matlab/Simulink.

    • Application of Newton’s Laws of Motion to the modelling of dynamics systems and the formation of transfer function and state space models. 
    • Dynamic response, effect of damping, natural frequency and time constant in both the time and frequency domains.
    • Concepts of control, block and simulation diagrams, introduction to control system design and performance specification. 
    • Introduction to Matlab and Simulink for simulating dynamic systems.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Recognise the implications of the assumptions made in forming a model of an engineering system.
  • Demonstrate how to perform modelling and simulation studies using Matlab and Simulink.
  • Judge the results of a simulation as to whether they and the model used are useful in relation to experimental results or engineering experience.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of control systems and how they may be modelled and designed.
  • Develop further your skill and knowledge of modelling and simulation in an engineering context.

Indicative Reading

  • Thomson, W. T., Theory of Vibration with Application, Prentice Hall, 4th Edition, 1993.
  • Rao, S. S., Mechanical Vibrations, Addison-Wesley, Third Edition, 1995.
  • Meriam, J. L. and Kraige, L. G., Engineering Mechanics (Vol 2) Dynamics, John Wiley and Sons, Third Edition, 1993.
  • Moon, F. C., Applied Dynamics with Application to Multibody and Mechantronic Systems, John Wiley and Sons, 1998.
  • Dutton, K., Thompson, S. and Barraclough, B., The Art of Control Engineering, Addison-Wesley, 1997.
  • Franklin, G. F., Powell, J. D and Emami-Naeini, Feedback Control of Dynamics Systems, Addison-Wesley, Second Edition, 1991.
  • Dorf, R. C., Modern Control Systems, Addison-Wesley, Eighth Edition, 1998.
  • Issermann, R., Mechatronics System Fundamentals, Springer-Verlag, London, 2003.
  • Software manuals for the latest versions of Matlab, Simulink and other useful resources are available for downloading from the Mathworks web site or via the Matlab help facility.

Weapon System Technology

Module Leader
  • Dr Hugh Goyder

    The module provides an overview of why guns and their components are shaped the way they are.

    Indicative module content:

    build-up of a gun
    gun control,
    fire control sensors,
    gun barrel design,
    recoil systems,
    gun dynamics.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

describe and identify the elements that make up a gun system,
explain the fundamentals of weapon control and the constraints of sensors,
demonstrate an understanding of the current technology applied to gun barrels and breeches,
undertake analysis of gun recoil systems, barrel vibration and other aspects of gun dynamics.

Fundamentals of Ballistics

Module Leader
  • Dr Clare Knock

    The module will provide fundamental understanding of internal, intermediate and external ballistics and ammunition system design.


    Indicative module content:

    internal ballistics,
    intermediate ballistics,
    external ballistics,
    rocket propulsion, 
    sabot design,
    charge and shell design,
    shell blast and fragmentation,
    fuses and terminal guidance,
    smart ammunition,
    kinetic energy penetrator ammunition,
    cannon ammunition.



Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

demonstrate an understanding of the internal and external ballistics of a gun and its ammunition,
explain the key points and significance of a travel-pressure curve and how altering its shape alters the performance of a gun,
calculate the energy transferred to a projectile before it leaves the gun barrel,
describe the effect of propellant mass, shape and size on gun performance,
identify the forces and moments acting on the projectile in flight and explain how a projectile may become unstable,
calculate simplified projectile mechanics including rigid body motion relating to translation, rotation and gyroscopic effects,
identify the main types of ammunition and their modes of operation.

Electric Drive Technologies

Module Leader
  • Professor Patrick Luk

    To provide a fundamental understanding of electric technologies.


    Topics covered by the course:

    • Overview of electric drive systems
    • Key configurations and components
    • Integration issues with vehicles
    • Operational conditions and ranges
    • Fundamental concepts of electric machines
    • Electric and magnetic loadings, thermal limits
    • Electric traction machines: PM machines, induction and switched reluctance machines
    • Magnetic materials, high power permanent magnets and their impacts on machine performance
    • Basic power converters for motors
    • Control and simulation of electrical machines and drives
    • Case studies of hybrids and all electric vehicle drive systems, Technology roadmaps
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion the students should be able to:

  • Assess the key features and operational advantages of electric drive systems compared to conventional ones 
  • Identify and appraise the main configurations and components of an electric drive system
  • Assess the integration issues with the vehicle, limits and the operations imposed by other subsystems
  • Evaluate the integration issues of EDT with the vehicle, limits and the operations imposed by other subsystems
  • Evaluate power and control electronics systems, as well as energy storage units such as batteries as integral parts of a electric drive system
  • Design system level electric drive subsystems involving the scoping of electric motors, energy storage units and power/control electronics for specific application
  • Appraise future industry trends and assess associated opportunities and challenges

Light Weapon Design

Module Leader
  • Stephen Champion

    The module will provide the information and experience to understand the principles of operation and analysis required in designing a light weapon and its components.

    • Operation and safety
    • Ballistics
    • Hit probability
    • Operating mechanisms of rifles and machine guns
    • Firing mechanisms
    • Gun springs
    • Extractor design
    • Sighting systems
    • Introduction to mortars
    • Introduction to grenades
    • Introduction to less lethal weapons systems.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the systems that make up a light weapon
  • Explain and demonstrate the operating principles of small arms
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the process of designing a light weapon system
  • Critically assess the function of a light weapon system using engineering principles and report and discuss the findings with a weapons engineer
  • Measure and analyse accuracy data to establish the hit probability of a weapon system.

Indicative Reading

  • Allsop, D. F., Cannons, ISBN 1-85753-104-3, Brassey’s, 1995
  • Allsop, D. F., Small Arms, Brassey’s, 1998
  • Allsop, D. F., Military Small Arms Design Principles and Operating Methods, Brassey’s, 1997
  • Oerlikon Pocket-Book, 2nd revised edition 1981, Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik, Oerlikon-Buhrle AG
  • Hand Book on Weaponry, English edition. Rehinmetall GmbH P O Box 6609, D-4000 Dusseldorf, Germany
  • DCMT Staff, Light Weapons Handbook.

Military Autonomous Vehicles

Module Leader
  • Professor Antonios Tsourdos

    To provide students with fundamental understanding and knowledge of the autonomous land vehicle systems challenges, technologies; with essential focus on the control algorithms.


    Topics covered by the course:

    • Overview of autonomous land vehicle systems operations
    • Reactive path planning and plan repair
    • Mission planning and task allocation
    • Autonomous navigation
    • Resource allocation optimisation
    • Intelligent power management
    • Energy conservation for autonomous land vehicles
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion the students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of autonomy level for unmanned land vehicles and the appropriate levels of interaction and trust between human and machine
  • Critically understand reactive path planning algorithms so autonomous land vehicle be able to cope with unplanned events / problems or avoid obstacles
  • Critically understand navigation technologies and algorithms for improved navigational accuracy and ability to travel in gps denied environments
  • Critically understand reactive dynamic mission planning architectures that enable autonomous land vehicle to coordinate mission plans between multiple assets and to cope with unplanned events problems
  • Critically understand intelligent power management so to enhance the efficient power utilisation of the unmanned land vehicles and reduce demand on resources thus extending operational time or range


Module Leader
  • Dr Gareth Appleby-Thomas

    The module will provide a fundamental understanding of armour systems and approaches to integrated survivability.

    Indicative module content:

    extent and constraints on survivability and the requirements of survivability on different theatres,
    terminal ballistics and armour materials, hydrodynamic and sub-hydrodynamic penetration,
    penetration mechanisms and design against penetration,
    choice of materials against protection and fabrication criteria,
    armour systems including complex armour, body armour and protection against mine threats,
    prediction of armour performance including analytical and numerical methods. 
    survival in depth and the layered approach,
    electronic systems for protection including battlefield ID, defensive aids suites and electro optic protection,
    human vulnerability and the mitigation of threats,
    integrated survivability and its analysis including analytical methods, modelling and simulation,
    force level and platform simulation,
    survivability against chemical biological radiological and nuclear threats including typical threats, detection, individual protection and collective protection.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

explain the layered approach to survivability and identify the engineering and operational approaches that may be used at each level to enhance the chance of surviving,
describe the mechanisms of armour penetration and differentiate between hydrodynamic and sub-hydrodynamic regimes, and employ the correct terminology in describing terminal ballistic events,
evaluate the relative merits of various penetration prediction methods and select and implement the appropriate methodology successfully,
apply engineering judgement to balancing the trade-offs between protection, performance and mobility, producing clear and concise reports detailing their recommendations,
discuss with practitioners the fundamentals of survivability in relation to buildings, vehicles and personnel,
have developed an autonomous approach to learning in this rapidly changing field of knowledge.

Vehicle Systems Integration

Module Leader
  • David Diskett

    The module provides an understanding of the electrical, electronic and electro-optic sub systems in fighting vehicles and their integration into a complete system.


    Indicative module content:

    overview of hybrid and electric combat vehicles and their key subsystems,
    power subsystem, power generation and storage, motor and actuator technologies, power budgeting, 
    electronic subsystem, vetronics and the digital battlefield, current and future civilian and military databus standards and operation, radio communications equipment,
    electro-optic subsystem, thermal imaging, pyro-electric and image intensifying electro-optic systems, laser designators,
    other integration issues, built in test, embedded training, the man-machine interface.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

describe existing electrically based vehicle systems and estimate their power demands using simplified models,
understand the processes and procedures of integrating systems on to a fighting vehicle and identify the engineering problems that could be encountered,
perform independent investigations of individual vehicle systems to explore the limit of their performance and produce clear and concise reports on the results,
discuss from an engineering standpoint the integration of novel systems onto fighting vehicles with practitioners,
develop an independent ability to further their understanding and explore emerging and future technologies in these areas.

Reliability and System Effectiveness

Module Leader
  • Dr Aimee Helliker

    The module examines the fundamental factors which influence the availability, reliability and support of defence equipment.

    Indicative module content:

    •  availability, effectiveness and user requirements,
    •  supportability concepts and logistics,
    •  quantitative requirements,
    •  R, M and S analysis techniques,
    •  strengths, weaknesses and alternatives, 
    •  human factors,
    •  integration (HFI),
    •  testing and evaluation,
    •  system operation and support.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

define the terms; reliability, maintainability and supportability and give supporting examples of each,
demonstrate the application of reliability, maintainability and supportability methods to existing military systems and identify their influence on equipment availability,
evaluate and critically judge the reliability, maintainability and supportability techniques used during concept, design, development, demonstration, production and trials,
prepare a report for a critical audience on the reliability, maintainability and supportability issues applied to a new or existing piece of military equipment.

Armoured Fighting Vehicle and Weapon Systems Study


    To develop the technical requirements and characteristics of armoured fighting vehicles and weapon systems, and to examine the interactions between the various sub-systems and consequential compromises and trade-offs.

    • Application of systems engineering practice to an armoured fighting vehicle and weapon system.
    • Practical aspects of system integration.
    • Ammunition stowage, handling, replenishment and their effects on crew performance and safety.
    • Applications of power, data and video bus technology to next generation armoured fighting vehicles.
    • Effects of Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) attack on personnel and vehicles, and their survivability.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the engineering principles involved in matching elements of the vehicle and weapon system together.
  • Propose concepts for vehicle and weapon systems, taking into account incomplete and possibly conflicting user requirements.
  • Effectively apply solid modelling in outlining proposed solutions.
  • Interpret relevant legislation and standards and understand their relevance to vehicle and weapon systems.
  • Work effectively in a team, communicate and make decisions.
  • Report the outcome of a design study orally to a critical audience.

Indicative Reading

  • Journal of Ergonomics
  • Jane’s International Defence Review
  • Military Technology
  • Brassey’s series of publications.

Design Study/Projects


    Project: The overall aim of the project is to enable an individual student to develop, by first-hand experience, his expertise in engineering research, design or development in the field of military vehicle technology

    Design Study: The aim of the Design Study is to give the students first-hand experience of the whole design process, as applied to a weapon or Vehicle system.  


    Project specifications are issued to the students at the beginning of the course. The topics offered reflect the research interests of the School staff, current topics of live interest in the school, industry, sponsor and the known background of the students. The project may require the student to carry out a discrete piece of research, possibly as part of a larger school research programme, or could involve the design or development of engineering hardware and/or software. 

    There is no specific requirement for originality, although research oriented projects often result in original contributions to knowledge. Students, or their sponsors, are encouraged to propose their own projects, subject to the availability of the necessary resources and approval by the examination board regarding academic suitability.

    Design Study: The subject is selected by the Course Director after consultation with the sponsors, academic and military staff. It is chosen to provide a taxing but constructive subject on which the students may exercise and improve their abilities in gun or vehicle system design. The statement of requirements is prepared jointly by the academic and or sponsor after discussion with the respective users and research establishments. This is presented to the students, supported by a formal briefing, followed by a discussion period.

    The individual project/Design Study carries 40% of the overall mark. It is monitored throughout the year by a Supervisor(s) and written up into a report which is assessed jointly by the supervisor(s), internal assessor and optionally an external examiner. Students are responsible for arranging typing and binding of their own project work. Completed projects must be handed in as instructed by the Course Director.  

Intended learning outcomes

The successful student will be able to undertake, appraise and report on an individual piece of work in research, design or development in the field of fighting vehicle or weapon technology.

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Military Vehicle Propulsion


    To provide a fundamental understanding of vehicle performance, terramechanics and powertrain technology applied to both wheeled and tracked military vehicles.


    This course introduces the vehicle systems that provide its propulsion. All aspects of the powertrain are covered, as are the various performance attributes it influences. 


    • Terramechanics
    • Drivelines for wheeled vehicles
    • Gearboxes, tracked vehicle transmissions
    • Engines and powerpacks for military vehicles
    • Vehicle performance and its prediction 
    • Terrain accessibility and cross country performance 
    • Gear ratio and transmission matching 
    • Launch performance 
    • Hybrid technologies for military vehicles
    • Vehicle performance simulation 
    • Design trade-offs.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the elements and systems that form the vehicle powertrain and give typical examples for military vehicles
  • Understand the fundamentals of engine and transmission design and explain why the majority of military systems rely on the diesel engine
  • Analyse the interaction between the vehicle and different ground types and interpret the results in relation to its mobility and performance
  • Demonstrate the application of engineering principles to the design and analysis of powertrains with respect to the engine, gearbox and driveline
  • Discuss with engineering specialists the implications for powertrain selection or modification on vehicle performance
  • Critically evaluate the effect on vehicle performance of variation in its parameters and produce a clear and concise report of the findings.

Indicative Reading

  • Wong, J. Y., Theory of ground vehicles, Wiley & Sons, 4th Edition, 2008.
  • Gillespie, T. D., Fundamentals of vehicle dynamics, SAE, 1992.
  • Heisler, H., Advanced vehicle technology, Butterworth Heinemann, 1989.
  • Heisler, H., Vehicle and Engine Technology, Arnold, 1999. 
  • Terry, T. W., et al, Fighting Vehicles, Brassey’s, 1991.
  • Stone, R., Motor Vehicle Fuel Economy, Macmillan, 1989.

Military Vehicle Dynamics


    To provide a fundamental understanding of vehicle dynamics (ride and handling) as applied to both wheeled and tracked military vehicles.


    To provide a fundamental understanding of vehicle dynamics (ride and handling) as applied to both wheeled and tracked military vehicles.

    • Human response to vibration, sources of vibration and terrain characterisation.
    • Suspension systems; types, components and their characteristics, design for military vehicles (springs, dampers, anti-roll-bars, kinematics, force analysis, antidive and antisquat geometries).
    • Modelling, simulation and testing of suspension systems and components, including transient, frequency and random response.
    • Fundamentals of acoustics and sources of noise.
    • Tyres for military vehicles and their behaviour. 
    • Track systems for military vehicles. 
    • Steering systems for wheeled and tracked vehicles.  
    • Wheeled and tracked vehicles at low and high speed including steady state and transient response.
    • Braking systems for wheeled vehicles. 
    • Vehicle testing.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the elements and systems that form the vehicle chassis and give typical examples for military vehicles.
  • Demonstrate using simplified vehicle dynamic models a fundamental understanding of ride and handling.
  • Construct numerical vehicle models using Matlab and Simulink and interpret the simulation data produced.
  • Evaluate the performance of suspension systems and components for tracked and wheeled vehicles both theoretically and experimentally.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the practical issues involved in the design of military vehicles when considering the ride and handling.
  • Critically evaluate proposed chassis designs and modifications in relation to ride and handling and produce a clear and concise report of the findings.

Military Vehicles Propulsion and Dynamics


    To provide a fundamental understanding of power train technology and vehicle dynamics (ride and handling) applied to both wheeled and tracked military vehicles.


    Topics covered by the course:

    • Engines
    • Gas turbines
    • Transmissions 
    • Hydrokinetic couplings
    • Human response to vibration (HRV)
    • Steering
    • Tyres
    • Ride and handling.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion the students should be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of power train design and explain why the majority of military systems rely on the diesel engine
  • Formulate using simplified vehicle dynamic models a critical understanding of ride and handling

Gun System Design


    The module looks at in-depth analysis, design and manufacture of a gun system including its ammunition, integration and the integrity of various sub-systems based upon the ammunition, gun, propellants, ballistics and the thermodynamics.

    • Gun design pressure and maximum safe pressure curves
    • Barrel material and heat treatment
    • Ordnance design (strength), pre-stressing, autofrettage stresses (hydraulic and shrink fit)
    • Ordnance design (fatigue)
    • Barrel thermodynamics
    • Breech design; load analysis, stress evaluation in both sliding and screw breech mechanism, supported by a tutorial
    • Recoil system design; buffer assembly, recuperator and control to run-out and muzzle brake design
    • Gun control algorithms
    • Gun mounting; general problems of fitting guns into vehicles, spatial and interference considerations, swept volume, recoil constraints, gun and turret location, tactical and strategic mobility implications, ammunition stowage and replenishment, saddle and cradle design
    • Ammunition handling; need for mechanised loading system, advantages and disadvantages, ammunition handling chain, design consideration, influence of ammunition configuration, typical stowage configurations, autoloader concepts (artillery and tank), features and examples of autoloaders
    • Introduction to fatigue and fracture mechanics for gun barrels, real life effects in gun barrels, realistic fatigue life calculations, failure mechanisms and implications for wear and erosion
    • Case study (Ordnance design exercise): Ammunition design, gun design pressure, barrel and breech configuration including autofrettage stresses and fatigue life, rate of fire and operating temperature, recoil system and cradle design, CAD modelling and engineering drawings, material and manufacturing specifications.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the students should be able to:

  • Define the fundamental terms used in gun design.
  • Describe the processes involved in the design of a gun system.
  • Compute the forces, pressures and stresses generated in a gun system during firing.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the engineering and physical limits of gun systems in relation to their installation and performance.
  • Analyse the design of a gun system in relation to current standards and practice. 
  • Understand the conceptual design of an ordnance system.
  • Evaluate the system requirements and recognise the practical issues related to meeting them.
  • Design a gun system and critically evaluate the integration of subsystems and their affect on the system performance.
  • Recognise and predict the effect of; stress, fatigue, wear and thermal loading on a gun system.
  • Communicate effectively the design of a gun using detailed engineering drawings.
  • Report, concise and clearly the design of a gun.

Indicative Reading

  • Text Book of Ballistics and Gunnery, Vol. 1 and 2, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.
  • Oerlikon Pocket-Book, 2nd revised edition 1981, Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik, Oerlikon-Buhrle AG.
  • Hand Book on Weaponry, English edition, Rehinmetall GmbH P O Box 6609, D-4000 Dusseldorf, Germany.

Your career

Takes you on to employment within the defence forces or defence research establishments and defence industry.

How to apply

Applicants may be invited to attend an interview. Applicants based outside of the UK may be interviewed either by telephone or video conference.