18. Ground Vehicles
Ground vehicle technologies support the basic Army and Marine Corps land combat functions: shoot, move, communicate, survive, and sustain. This technology area is comprised of the following subareas: systems integration, vehicle chassis and turret, integrated survivability, mobility, and intravehicular electronics suite. Rapid deployment, manageable logistics, and compatibility with thirdworld infrastructures are current topics of major interest. Specific objectives include advances in diesel and gas turbine propulsion, better track and suspension to increase crosscountry mobility, and improvements in survivability through improved ballistic protection and reduced observables (including use of active armor). Table E21 and the following paragraphs summarize capabilities and opportunities in each technology subarea.
a. Systems Integration
Each ground vehicle consists of several subsystems (e.g., power and drive train, electronics, weapons, sensors), which must be integrated into a fullup, systemlevel technology demonstration. The primary process to evolve future vehicles is virtual prototyping. M&S will develop preliminary concepts, optimize design, reduce cost, and schedule maximize force effectiveness for ground vehicles. The goal is to develop lighter, more lethal, and survivable ground vehicles. Virtual concepts can be readily evaluated for mobility, agility, survivability, lethality and transportability, forming the basis for validation, verification, and accreditation. The major technical challenge is to provide the user with systems that can attain an effective balance between increased fighting capability, enhanced survivability, and improved deployability while meeting cost, manufacturing, and reliability/maintainability goals. Specific challenges relate to developing verifiable models in a usable time frame.
Table E21. International Research CapabilitiesGround Vehicles
|Systems Integration||EC nations have capabilities in various areas||EC nations have capabilities in various areas||Israel
|Vehicle Chassis & Turret||Structure & design||China, ROK
|Integrated Survivability||Modular armor||Vehicle survivability||Russia
Bulk ceramics; active protection
|Mobility||Gas turbine||Secondary batteries||Autonomous control; diesel engines electric drive||Ceramic engine; electric drive||Russia
Electric drive components; batteries; switches
|Intravehicular Electronics Suite||Multisensor integration||Integrated electronics & optronics|
|Note: See Annex E, Section A.6 for explanation of key numerals.|
The major players in ground vehicle systems integration and design are the U.K., France, Germany, Israel, Japan, and Russia, all of whom have a long history of developing and manufacturing military armored systems including main battle tanks. Switzerland also has a capability in armored vehicles that may be of interest and Israel has unique experience in the use of RPVs and UAVs that may contribute to advances in teleoperation of ground vehicles.
b. Vehicle Chassis and Turret
The use of composite and titaniumbased materials will make future combat vehicles lighter, more easily deployed, versatile, and survivable. These technologies are key to optimizing and exploiting structural integrity, durability, ballistic protection, repairability, and signature reduction. Future vehicle chassis and turrets will be fabricated to integrate advanced designs using a combination of lightweight structures and modular armor packages.
Using composite materials or titanium as the primary structure in a combat vehicle is new and there are significant technical challenges. Issues related to composite materials include durability, producibility, and repairability. The primary issue for titanium is its high cost, which has so far kept it from being used on any U.S. combat vehicles.
The same countries mentioned under systems integration also have strong capabilities in vehicle chassis and turret technologies. Of these, Germany continues to be one of the few world leaders in combat vehicle R&D in all weight classes. They develop and field wheeled combat vehicles that meet or exceed tracked vehicle capabilities. Mercedes design and prototyping has provided the basis for a GermanFrench cooperative effort in mediumweight armored vehicles GTK), and their main battle tank development and prototyping continues beyond Leopard 2 block improvements. In addition, the EGS heavy combat vehicle technology demonstrator, developed by Krauss Maffei with firms such as Pietsch, Diehl, MTU, and a host of others incorporates stateoftheart construction and materials fabrication technology with a focus on signature management.
c. Integrated Survivability
The goal of integrated survivability is to protect ground vehicles from a proliferation of advanced threats. Hit avoidance, detection avoidance, penetration avoidance, and damage reduction technologies are critical to achieving overall vehicle survivability. Hit avoidance technologies confuse or physically affect incoming threats. ECM and improved sensors are the key elements. Detection avoidance revolves around management of visual, thermal, radar, acoustic, seismic, and dust signatures. Armor is the major element in penetration avoidance, and damage reduction deals with firefighting agents and compartmentalization of ammunition and fuel. Advances in penetration avoidance center on producing efficient armors with reduced weight, space, and cost. The U.S. is currently the world leader, but other nations are improving rapidly. TTCP nations have strong armor programs. Sweden has a vigorous program following unusual research not found in NATO countries. Israel has strong capabilities, as evidenced by a indigenous development in the Merkava aimed at survivability. South Africas Rooicat wheeled armored fighting vehicle incorporates a number of indigenously developed and integrated survivability features, including ballistic protection, obscurants, and collective CB protection.
The major technical challenge relates to the cost of the technologies required for survivability. In addition, many of the technologies have significant weight, volume, electrical power, and thermal loading requirements that make their insertion into fielded systems both costly and time consuming.
The U.S. is the world leader in most aspects of integrated survivability, but niche capabilities may be found in countries that develop and manufacture armored systems. Several German capabilities deserve special mention. These include strong capabilities in integrated CBD, and in the areas of indirect protection (detection and hit avoidance). The firm of Buck has conducted extensive research in multispectral obscurants. In direct protection, the German firm of Deisenroth continues to be a leader in composite armor for light, medium, and heavy vehicles, both as integrated and modular addon packages. The German firm of Condat specializes in analytic and predictive modeling for armored systems vulnerability assessments. The FSU has been a world leader in active protection for the past 20 years. Finally, Russian developments in bulk ceramics have potential for ballistic protection.
Mobility focuses on the "move" function of tracked and wheeled land combat vehicles. Mobility components include suspension, tracks, wheels, engine, transmission, and fuels and lubricants. Technologies of interest include active noise and vibration control to increase crosscountry performance; quiet, lightweight band track; and advanced highoutput diesel, turbine engines, and electric drives. Another major area of interest is providing increased electrical power in smaller, lighter packages. Electrical power is shared among propulsion, survivability, lethality, and auxiliary systems. Energy management is an important factor. Electric and hybrid drive systems are also being developed. Finally, to reduce operation and support costs, the number and types of fuels and lubricants must be reduced.
Technical challenges for electric drive include power, reducing cooling system size, and total volume. For advanced track systems, the major challenge is to extend the lightweight conventional track durability while reducing operational and support costs. For fuels and lubricants, the challenge is to define performance tradeoffs for a single engine/powertrain lubricant.
In addition to the U.S., Japan and Germany are the world leaders in automotive propulsion, both having significant capabilities in functionally gradient coatings, monolithic ceramics, and in engines and highpower sensor diesel engines. Germany is a world leader in aircooled diesel engines. Much of this expertise is applicable to military vehicles.
Primary interest in electric drive is found in the major automobile producing and exporting countries (the U.S., Japan, and Germany) driven primarily by growing restrictions on exhaust emissions. Japan is the world leader in some aspects of electric drive technology. France has special capabilities in secondary batteries, such as lithium polymer, which are of great interest for military applications, due to their high energy and power density, long life cycle, and rapid charge/discharge abilities. They also are lightweight, compact, vibration resistant, and have no EM signature. Military applications include electric vehicle propulsion (15 kilowatt or more of power) and silent watch. The U.K., Japan, and Russia also have strong capabilities in lithium battery technology. Another foreign capability of great interest is Germanys experience in hybrid electric vehicles. The German firm of Magnet Motors has been working in this area for over 10 years and has attained the state of the art in multiple electric permanent magnet (MED) motors and generators, as well as magnet dynamic storage (MDS). Other German firmsSiemens, ABB, AEG, and Max Planckare world leaders in microsystem technology as characterized by a combination of power semiconductors, which will make electric drives smaller, more robust, and more responsive. These technologies could play an important role in TankAutomotive Research, Development, and Engineering Centers tank mobility technology. Also related to electric drive, Russia has special expertise in certain types of very high energy batteries and some silicon carbide switching devices.
Another technology area of interest for mobility in that of autonomous navigation and control of vehicles. Germany and the U.S. have a collaborative program entitled NextGeneration Autonomous Navigation System (AUTOVON). Participating research laboratories and their technological contributions to the project are as follows:
Universitat der Bundeswehr Munchen (UBM), GermanyUBM will produce an advanced autonomous road navigation system with costeffective collision avoidance technology. For a number of years, UBM has been a leader in the European Prometheus program oriented towards the development of commercial highway automation. As part of the Prometheus program, UBM has been developing a sophisticated highway lane following system using only normal video for sensor input.
Dornier GmbH, GermanyDornier will provide advanced offroad obstacle detection and avoidance capabilities using laser radar technology.
David Sarnoff Research Center (DSRC), Princeton, New JerseyDSRC will perform as technical lead in obstacle detection and recognition. DSRCs obstacle detection approach is entered on high definition, areabased recognition technology, which, together with UBMs research orientation on featurebased recognition, shows promise of complementary research products that, when combined, will offer significant obstacle detection potential. DSRC contributions will include a faster, lowcost, processing capability allowing faster autonomous speeds of operation.
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MarylandThis institute will develop a common computer architecture base. The common computer architecture thrust could lead to a standard vehicle controller system supporting technology transfers in a wide range of future developments. ARL will support the institute with a sensor platform stabilization system and global positioning system (GPS)/inertial navigation system integration to enhance navigation system sensor performance.
The AUTOVON effort will accelerate progress in existing Army/DoD unmanned ground vehicle programs since German researchers hold the lead in the development and implementation of some of the key technologies.
e. Intravehicular Electronics Suite
The goal of this subarea is to develop a standardized framework within which to integrate digital technologies for embedded vehicular weapons systems. This is important for enabling current and future ground vehicles to maintain superior combat effectiveness in the digital battlefield. There are two aspects to this area: integration of the electronics into the vehicle, and natural and seamless interconnection of the crew with the electronics.
Technical challenges in intravehicular electronics suites include:
Electronic integration techniques that are scalable to many platforms
The only foreign work of note in this area is that done by the German firm Pietsch, which has conducted extensive future crew compartment studies, focusing on crew size reduction, human factors such as manmachine interface, endurance, and multiple taskings. Integration of technologies such as sensor suites, optronics, and robotics have been demonstrated and continue to be pursued. Existing U.S.German agreements are ongoing in support of efforts in this area. Future studies are being planned/discussed on the following topics:
Day and night observation equipment
AMC POC: Dr. Rodney Smith
Army Materiel Command
5001 Eisenhower Blvd.
Alexandria, VA 223330001
email: [email protected]
IPOC: Mr. Stephen Cohn
Army Research Laboratory
2800 Powder Mill Road
Adelphi, MD 207831197
email: [email protected]
For intravehicular electronics suite, mobility, integrated survivability, and vehicle chassis and turret:
MSC IPOC: Mr. William Lowe
U.S. Army TankAutomotive and Armaments Command
Warren, MI 483975000
email: [email protected]
IPOC: Bob Both
U.S. Army CECOM
Fort Monmouth, NJ 07703
email: [email protected]
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