Mountain ranges and towering cacti: life on the Arizona trials team

Graduate engineer with Integration and Systems Validation (ISV), Alex, shared his experiences on placement demonstrating Brimstone on the AH-64E Apache Helicopter in Arizona.

“Working in the trials team provides a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on with the missiles and the aircraft, which allows you to develop your understanding of these systems. During the trials, I had the opportunity to load and prepare missiles for flight, inspecting targets as well as monitoring the missiles in flight.

“I enjoyed the added responsibility involved with testing such advanced systems and quick decision-making required during the trials. Conducting these activities in Arizona had the extra benefit of working in an international team with customers and industry partners such as Boeing. I found the cultural differences this bought in engineering methodologies challenging, but equally a great learning experience.Apache helicopter Crown copyright.jpg

Exploring Arizona
“Trials work requires a lot of commitment and at times a heavy workload to meet crucial deadlines, but during the weekends, we still found time to explore Arizona. I made friends with some students at Arizona State University, who I got the opportunity to hike some of the local mountains with, including Camelback Mountain. The scenery out in the desert was staggering, with towering Cacti and vast mountain ranges.

"It was particularly memorable driving through Sedona to visit the world’s most perfectly preserved Meteor Crater.
“There was also the opportunity to try some amazing American food, from gigantic burgers to ice cream made using liquid nitrogen! The cultural differences soon became apparent whilst eating out in Phoenix when several members of the trials team ordered “burgers and chips” only to be completely embarrassed when plates of burgers and crisps turned up on the table!

A vast learning experience
“To integrate effectively into a trials team, you have to be proactive and outgoing, but you’d find it difficult to have another role in engineering that offers such a vast learning experience and at the same time as such a unique opportunity to explore the world. MBDA’s willingness to get graduates fully involved and provide them with lots of responsibility makes these experiences particularly rewarding and enjoyable!”