News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

S. Ground Vehicles

1. Scope

The Army focuses its ground vehicle technologies on those that provide our soldiers with the capabilities needed to dominate the maneuver and win the information war. The ground vehicles technology area incorporates efforts to support the basic Army and Marine Corps land combat functions: shoot, move, communicate, survive, and sustain. This technology area comprises the following subareas: systems integration, vehicle chassis and turret, integrated survivability, mobility, and intravehicular electronics suite. These subareas are illustrated in Figure IV–19.

Figure IV-19. Advanced Ground Vehicle Technologies for the Mounted Force
Figure IV-19. Advanced Ground Vehicle Technologies for the Mounted Force

2. Rationale

One of the mounted forces’ most critical deficiencies in the post–cold–war era is the inability to rapidly deploy forces for worldwide contingency missions. Current mounted forces are capable but take too long to be deployed, have a large logistics tail, and are ill–suited to the third world infrastructure. Current combat vehicles rely on traditional materials for construction, communications, training, passive armor protection against munitions, and conventional mobility.

A lighter "heavy" force is required that can deploy overseas in less time, with fewer ships, and reduced CSS requirements and yet be equally lethal, survivable, and cost effective. Materiel, smart weapon, and survivability advances can lead to a fully air deployable armored assault force or a more deployable heavy assault force requiring 50 percent or less of current logistics assets. Advanced ground vehicle technologies will enable selected future systems to be air deployable; this is not possible with current systems.

Ground vehicle platforms require targeting, location, and acquisition systems capable of rapid detection, recognition, identification, handoff, or engagement of both ground and aerial targets beyond the threat’s detection range. Systems must perform effectively day or night in adverse weather, in cluttered background environments, and in the presence of countermeasures that include jamming, screening, and the use of low observable and active defense systems. Ground vehicle platforms must possess the capability to execute at an improved maneuver tempo as a result of digitizing the battlefield.

Through the integrated concept team (ICT) process, the user now has greater influence over S&T planning. The ICTs at the U.S. Army Armor Center, Fort Knox, and the U.S. Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning, have refocused near–term S&T towards the future scout and cavalry system (FSCS) and Abrams tank modernization. Far–term S&T will be focused toward the next generation "tank" and infantry vehicle. Detailed ICT ground vehicle activities are described in Section III–G.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Systems Integration

Goals and Timeframes

Systems integration/virtual prototyping of future vehicles uses M&S and system–level advanced technology demonstrators to (1) develop preliminary concepts, (2) optimize design, (3) maximize ground vehicle force effectiveness, and (4) drive technology goals. STOs IV.S.05, Virtual Prototyping Integrated Infrastructure, and IV.S.09, Combat Vehicle Concepts and Analysis, support ground vehicle virtual prototyping. Future vehicle concepts and designs are the realization of the Army and Marine Corps users’ requirements and the opportunities harvested from the results of previous technology subsystem development programs.

The goal is to demonstrate the feasibility and potential of lighter, more lethal, and survivable ground combat vehicles. Four types of modeling and simulation will be employed: engineering models, constructive simulation, distributed simulation, and virtual–reality prototyping. The analyses conducted will span the entire vehicle combat spectrum and will be performed physically, analytically, and interactively using simulation methodologies. Virtual concepts and designs will mirror technology and can be readily evaluated for mobility, agility, survivability, lethality, and transportability, forming the basis for validation, verification, and accreditation. Tradeoff studies performed under STO IV.S.09 will be used to determine optimal technology mix. Working closely with the user, we will change those virtual systems to real–world 6.3 ATDs that will yield maximum payoff. System–level ATDs planned in the FY98–13 time frame include:

Future scout and cavalry system (FSCS).
Future infantry vehicle (FIV).
Future combat system (FCS).

By 1999, demonstrate a virtual prototyping infrastructure that will reduce system–level development time and cost by 50 percent. By 2000, complete validation of the virtual prototyping process.

Major Technical Challenges

The major 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 or exceeding operational effectiveness, cost, manufacturing, and reliability/maintainability goals.

b. Chassis and Turret Structures

Goals and Timeframes

Through the use of composite, titanium–based, and other lightweight materials, technologies are being developed that will make future combat vehicles more lightweight and deployable (33 percent lighter in the structure and armor combined), versatile (multiple combat and support roles), and survivable (better ballistic protection and reduced signature). These technologies will be developed for combat vehicles to optimize and exploit the structural integrity, durability, ballistic resistance, repairability, and signature characteristics of a vehicle chassis and turret fabricated primarily from composite or titanium–based materials. Current vehicle chassis efforts center on the development of vehicles composed of advanced lightweight materials to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. STO III.G.1 supports development of a 22–ton composite armored vehicle.

By 1998, demonstrate a 22–ton tracked vehicle with 33 percent reduced structural/armor weight. By 1999, simulation tools for composite material design and fabrication will be developed and validated. By 2004, demonstrate minimum weight structural designs with structural efficiencies exceeding 80 percent for a 40–ton combat vehicle (FCS).

Major Technical Challenges

Use of composite materials or titanium as the primary structure in the combat vehicle chassis is new. Composite issues include durability, producibility, and repairability. Titanium has yet to be used on combat vehicles because of cost. Through an IPPD approach, all issues relating to the successful fielding of a combat vehicle, including cost, are addressed.

c. Integrated Survivability

Goals and Timeframes

This technology effort’s objectives are to provide an integrated survivability solution that will protect ground combat vehicles from a proliferation of advanced threats. With ever–changing threats and missions, the integrated survivability approach allows for flexibility in meeting mission needs. Detection avoidance, hit avoidance, and kill avoidance technologies will be developed and integrated to enhance overall vehicle survivability.

Detection avoidance technologies include signature management and visual perception. Signature management efforts are focused on exploring vehicle signatures in the visual, thermal, radar, acoustic, and seismic areas and in various atmospheric conditions. Visual signature analysis will be enhanced through the use of visual models and laboratory experimentation of visual perception.

Hit avoidance technologies protect ground vehicles through the use of sensors and countermeasures. The sensors detect incoming threats and the countermeasures confuse or physically disrupt incoming threats. The Army is developing electronic countermeasure and sensing technologies to defeat current and future smart munitions. By 2002, identify best countermeasure technology against all antiarmor threats. By 2005, demonstrate active protection against tube–launched kinetic energy (KE) and chemical energy (CE), large top attack, threats.

Kill avoidance technologies include the development of armor, laser protection work, and the exploration of non–ozone depleting substances to use for fire suppression. Armor plays a synergistic role with detection and hit avoidance on the modern battlefield. It provides the last line of defense. By 2000, demonstrate armors for medium caliber KE threats with 50 percent improved space efficiency over the 1999 state of the art while remaining compatible with the FCS structure. By 2003, demonstrate FCS armors with 25 percent frontal, 15 percent flank, and 30 percent top protection improvements over 1999 state–of–the–art technologies. Laser protection technologies are being developed to prevent blinding and eye damage of vehicle crews due to the use of lasers on the battlefield. Laser protection for all unity vision devices (STO IV.S.07) will provide eye safety against enemy agile wavelength laser threats. The work in this area is twofold. First, nonlinear optical materials developed commercially and at other DoD agencies will be characterized. Second, work to design and integrate a retrofittable optical surveillance system is being performed. Finally, in the area of advanced protection technologies, is the exploration of nonozone depleting substances for fire suppression use. Work in this area will focus on demonstrating environmentally and toxicological acceptable replacements for Halon 1301 in fire suppression systems in crew occupied compartments of ground combat vehicles.

None of the aforementioned technologies alone can ensure survivability and mission flexibility. The integrated survivability approach ensures the proper mix of these technologies so that survivability and mission flexibility may be achieved.

Major Technical Challenges

Cost of the currently identified technologies are prohibitive for application to all vehicles. Many of these technologies have significant weight, volume, electrical power, and thermal loading requirements. Insertion of these technologies into fielded systems can be costly and time consuming.

d. Mobility

Goals and Timeframes

The mobility technology effort focuses on the "move" function of tracked and wheeled land combat vehicles. Mobility components for ground vehicles include the suspension, track, wheels, engine, and transmission (conventional and electric drive).

While contributing to both the survivability and lethality of combat vehicles, mobility technology plans call for doubling the cross–country speed of combat vehicles. Military vehicle cross–country speed is usually limited by the driver’s ability to tolerate the vibration energy transmitted through the suspension. Electronic controls have made it possible to actively control both the spring and damping rates of "active" suspension systems, reducing structural vibration and shock. By 2001, semiactive suspension and band track technologies applicable to the tracked fleet will be demonstrated. By 2005, a 40 percent increase of cross country speed of a 40–50–ton combat vehicle will be demonstrated.

Hybrid electric technologies are being pursued as means to enhance mobility. Substantial reduction in fuel consumption can potentially be achieved through advanced engine control, stored energy capabilities, and energy regeneration. In coordination with other government agencies, including DARPA, Navy, and the Army, several electric drive technology developments are being leveraged for Army combat vehicle application. In particular the DARPA/Army joint program combat hybrid power system will demonstrate in a system integration laboratory an integrated combat power system in the year 2000.

While most vehicles, except the tank and its derivatives, use commercial diesel engines, they operate at or above their commercial power ratings. Even though their power density is relatively high, an engine that is sufficiently compact for an FCS is not commercially available and must be developed. Early activities will focus on determining the concepts and advancing the technologies required to allow the advanced engine to be developed. It is projected that by 2013 a complete propulsion system will be developed that has a power density of 8–sprocket horsepower per cubic foot (versus 3.3 for the M1 Abrams).

Major Technical Challenges

For a 40–50–ton electric drive combat vehicle, major challenges include the need to operate the power electronics at elevated temperatures without overheating. A high power density low–heat rejection engine will also be a challenge.

For advanced track systems, the major challenge is to develop light weight track while maintaining track durability. Rubber band track must be developed to move beyond lightweight applications into the medium–to–heavyweight vehicles.

e. Intravehicular Electronics Suite

Goals and Timeframes

The goal of this subarea is to develop a standardized framework within which to seamlessly integrate vehicle electronic subsystems with advanced soldier–machine interfaces. This will enable current and future ground vehicles with a reduced crew to maintain superior combat effectiveness on the digital battlefield, while reducing crew workload. By 2000, demonstrate 25 percent crew efficiency improvement for a three–man crew. By 2008, demonstrate 50 percent crew efficiency improvement for a two–man crew.

The intravehicular electronics suite will provide the necessary integration flexibility to support the wide–ranging battlefield digitization functionality over the next decade. It is the first step toward creating a general purpose electronic platform for multipurpose sensors and sensor fusion.

The flexibility inherent in this system allows for cost–effective improvements in performance and capability. This improvement can be incremental or continuous, adding or upgrading the processors, memory, or software functionality necessary to keep pace with the demands of the battlefield. Reliance on commercial, open standards for this electronics suite, coupled with the ability to continuously improve the system, will delay obsolescence of the system. The Army will be able to use state–of–the–art hardware at any time from multiple sources with minimal risk or development. By 2000, demonstrate a 30 percent reduction in cost per line of source code. By 2002, demonstrate a ten–fold improvement in electronics system performance.

Major Technical Challenges

Specific technical challenges include:

Maintaining situational awareness while operating from the hull and relying on indirect vision systems.
Development and demonstration of mission rehearsal (embedded training) technologies.
Demonstration of advanced processor/network commercial technologies that are suitable for military use.
Real–time battlefield information distribution within a vehicle.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Ground Vehicles is shown in Table IV–38.

5. Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

The influence of this technology area on TRADOC FOCs is summarized in Table IV–39.

Table IV–38.  Technical Objectives for Ground Vehicles

Technology Subarea

Near Term FY98–99

Mid Term FY00–04

Far Term FY05–13

Systems Integration Develop and analyze FIV and FSCS concepts

Downselect FSCS lethality option with probability of kill (Pkill) = 1 at 50% increased engagement range

Demonstrate in the field a scout vehicle with 10% survivability increase, 500% increase in target detection rate, and 10% mobility increase

Demonstrate FIV and FSCS concepts in a virtual environment

Demonstrate in the field an FCS (Abrams replacement) with 40% increase in cross–country speed, 20% increase in fuel economy, and 33% reduced gross vehicle weight (GVW)

Demonstrate FIV (Bradley replacement) with 50% increase in survivability, 100% increase in mobility, and 60% increase in troop capacity

Vehicle Chassis and Turret Complete 6,000–mile Composite Armor Vehicle ATD endurance experiment Develop and demonstrate a vehicle chassis and turret to meet future combat system 40–ton GVW requirement Develop vehicle chassis and turret to support AAN advanced systems
Integrated Survivability Demonstrate improved Abrams frontal armor with 35% weight reduction Demonstrate side ballistic panels with 75% reduction in detectability

Demonstrate armor to defeat medium caliber KE threats with a 50% space efficiency improvement

Demonstrate armor with a 30% weight efficiency improvement

Demonstrate active protection system to defeat KE and high explosive antitank threats with probability 0.8

Demonstrate FCS armor with 25% frontal penetration reduction, 25% flank penetration reduction, and 35% top penetration reduction

Apply integrated armor/active protection system to FIV

Mobility Demonstrate semiactive suspension on Bradley fighting vehicle that will yield a 30% mobility improvement

Determine active suspension requirement for heavy tracked vehicles

Demonstrate M2 Bradley track that will reduce vehicle signature by 30–50% with a 23% track weight reduction

Demonstrate heavy vehicle band track with a 300% track pad life improvement

Demonstrate high temperature silicon carbide switches to support electric drive

Demonstrate fully active electromechanical suspension on a u40–ton tracked vehicle

Develop and demonstrate FCS power pack

Intravehicular Electronics Suite Develop and demonstrate FSCS conceptual crew station simulator

Demonstrate off–road driving using indirect vision at 50% direct vision rate

Demonstrate 50% improvement in three–man crew efficiency

Demonstrate 25% cost reduction in vehicle electronics upgrades

Demonstrate off–road driving using indirect vision at 100% direct vision rate

Demonstrate on a vehicle, a high power electronics suite

Demonstrate a 50% increase in two–man crew efficiency


Table IV–39.  Ground Vehicles Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

Technology Subarea

Integrated and Branch/Functional Unique Future Operational Capabilities

Systems Integration TR 97–002 Situational Awareness
TR 97–004 Tactical Operation Center Command Post
TR 97–012 Information Systems
TR 97–017 Information Display
TR 97–020 Information Collection, Dissemination, and Analysis
TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–023 Mobility—Combat Dismounted
TR 97–034 Enemy Prisoner of War/Civilian Internee Operations
TR 97–037 Combat Vehicle Propulsion
TR 97–040 Firepower Lethality
TR 97–042 Firepower Nonlethal
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
TR 97–045 Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception
TR 97–049 Battle Staff Training and Support
TR 97–054 Virtual Reality
TR 97–055 Live, Virtual, and Constructive Simulation Technologies
TR 97–056 Synthetic Environment
TR 97–057 Modeling and Simulation
Vehicle Chassis and Turret TR 97–004 Tactical Operation Center Command Post
TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–026 Deployability
TR 97–032 Sustainment Logistics Support
TR 97–033 Sustainment Transportation
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
TR 97–044 Survivability—Personnel
TR 97–045 Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception
Integrated Survivability TR 97–002 Situational Awareness
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
TR 97–044 Survivability—Personnel
TR 97–045 Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception
Mobility TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–026 Deployability
TR 97–035 Power Source and Accessories
TR 97–037 Combat Vehicle Propulsion
TR 97–040 Firepower Lethality
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
TR 97–044 Survivability—Personnel
Intravehicular Electronics Suite TR 97–007 Battlefield Information Passage
TR 97–011 Information Services
TR 97–012 Information Systems
TR 97–013 Network Management
TR 97–014 Hands–Free Equipment Operation
TR 97–016 Information Analysis
TR 97–017 Information Display
TR 97–018 Relevant Information and Intelligence
TR 97–019 Command and Control Warfare
TR 97–020 Information Collection, Dissemination, and Analysis
TR 97–021 Real–Time Target Acquisition, Identification, and Dissemination
TR 97–036 Nonprimary Power Sources Combat Vehicles/Support Systems
TR 97–040 Firepower Lethality
TR 97–053 Embedded Training and Soldier–Machine Interface
TR 97–054 Virtual Reality
TR 97–056 Synthetic Environment

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