MIRA Weather Royal Visit

Although usually known for environmental testing of vehicles and military machinery, MIRA’s multi million pound Climatic Wind Tunnel facilities have this week played host to Prince Harry and the UK team of the Walking With The Wounded Allied South Pole Challenge as they undergo a different kind of testing.

MIRA Weather Royal Visit

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Prince Harry, a member of Team Glenfiddich, spent 24 hours in the facility known as CWTone at MIRA’s Hinckley site in simulated Antarctic weather conditions. The exercise was carried out in preparation for the South Pole expedition, which will see Team Glenfiddich race two other teams of wounded service personnel to the South Pole in November this year.

Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Under the patronage of Prince Harry, the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge was launched in April 2013, and is one of a number of expeditions organised by the charity to raise awareness of wounded service personnel and their stories.

CWTone celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has enabled MIRA customers to test their products under a wide range of simulated, repeatable environmental conditions including snow, wind, solar radiation, temperature and humidity. The facility gives manufacturers a competitive advantage, allowing them to test vehicles without relying on seasonal change, thereby bringing products to market more quickly.

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During the 24 hour exercise, the team were subjected to temperatures down to -35 degrees Celsius, as well as snow blizzards and winds of up to 200km/h to prepare for the brutal environment of Antarctica. The team were required to practice their routine for the event using cross trainers to simulate skiing and also set up their camp for the night.

Captain Guy Disney, team member who will be making the South Pole Challenge along with Prince Harry in November, and who was with him in the facility, said:

“It was cold, and unpredictable, and it certainly did the job.

“It really is un-believable to think that here, in the Leicestershire countryside, we were able to undergo these types of tests, and myself and the team are very grateful to MIRA for making it possible.”

Ed Parker, Co-Founder of Walking With The Wounded, said:

“It is vital that this activity is rehearsed in advance not just to save time during the final expedition but most importantly to prepare the participants for the extreme weather conditions that lie ahead of them. The exercise will also give us an indication of how they will be affected personally by the extreme environment, and the impact that this will have on the challenge. The facility at MIRA is the only place we could achieve this type of testing in the UK and we are pleased to have been able to work with them as part of our preparations.

Parker continues:

“The Walking With the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge will demonstrate the close bond between the UK forces and our allies both on and off the battlefield. There is no doubt that the young men and women who take part in our expeditions are an inspiration.”

Dr. Geoff Davis, Chief Commercial and Technical Officer at MIRA, said:

 “Although we have tested a lot of vehicles, many of which are for military operation, this is the first time that the facility has hosted Royalty.
“We are extremely proud to be involved and playing whatever part we can in supporting Prince Harry and the wider Walking With The Wounded organisation with the upcoming challenge in Antartica. We have a long term working relationship with our Armed Forces and whether it is for the development of advanced vehicle technologies that save lives in the battlefield or helping this team prepare for their upcoming challenge, we are proud to be involved.”

Walking With The Wounded raises funds to train the Wounded, Injured and Sick, assisting them to find a career outside the Military. Whether suffering a physical or mental injury, whether a service leaver or veteran, it aims to help provide the wounded with the future they deserve.

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MIRA has earned an enviable reputation since it was originally formed in 1946 and is known for being a comprehensive transport engineering solutions provider to the automotive and defence industries, as well as engineering smart solutions for future transport technologies.