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By Yvonne Headington

27 Jun 12. This year’s Defence Vehicles Dynamics (DVD – 20/21 June 2012) was an altogether more focused show. With vehicles to the fore the MoD took the opportunity to highlight the delivery of the Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicles (LPPV) to troops in Afghanistan, along with an order for a second tranche. The ‘in-theatre’ delivery, and £90m order for a further 100 Foxhound, were confirmed on 17th June. General Dynamics – Force Protection Europe will now hand over a total of 300 Foxhound under contracts worth £270m, which will sustain around 750 UK jobs.

Foxhound is the first vehicle to enter service using an ‘open systems’ approach. Working with industry, the MoD is currently developing a set of open standards for land systems integration known collectively as Land Open Systems Architecture (LOSA). The LOSA concept was officially launched during DVD 2012 and provided the main theme of the exhibition and conference.

Attending the second day of the show, Defence Equipment Minister Peter Luff said: “Foxhound is a great example of what can be achieved through the MoD and industry working closely together. I want to maximise the extent to which industry uses an open systems approach both domestically and in the global market, enabling us to buy off-the-shelf as far as possible”.

The MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) presented a simulated Forward Operating Base (FOB), demonstrating the key elements of the LOSA concept. Described as “a mechanism through which MoD intends to develop systems integration and interoperability” LOSA covers three basic platforms: soldiers, vehicles and headquarters/bases. The MoD is producing a set of standards covering the generic architecture for each platform.

The benefits being sought through LOSA are summarised as:-
Increasing Operational Effectiveness
* Enabling the exchange of data between platform.
* Enabling the exchange of data with systems external to the Land domain.
* Enabling integration between base, vehicle and soldier.
* Improved acquisition processes through early engagement with industry and rapid prototyping.

Reducing Whole Life Costs

* Improving ways of working within and without the Land domain.
* Reducing and simplifying systems requirements.
* Enabling simpler integration of new or altered processes and equipment.
* Enabling decisions based on accurate and consistent data provided through the Systems Information Exploitation (SIE) process.

Generic Soldier Architecture (GSA) aims to support the soldier with a range of integrated functions, enhancing situational awareness and mobility while reducing the soldiers’ overall weight burden. The GSA DEF Stan 23-12, which is due to be fully mandated in mid-2012, will allow for the addition of new capabilities to the Dismounted Soldier System (DS2) through the use of modular sub-systems. The Integrated Soldier System Executive is set to undertake the role of Integration Gatekeeper across DE&S for DS2.

According to DE&S, “The definition of the GSA is intended to be sufficient to allow sub-systems to interoperate as required, but still allow a manufacturer to propose innovative implementations”. Batteries and cabling, however, simply add to the solders’ burden. Thus, for example, BAE Systems is currently working with Intelligent Textiles and ABSL Power Solutions to produce a power distribution architecture based on lightweight conductive fabrics. The project is being undertaken as part of the MoD’s Man Worn Power & Data (MWPD) Technology Demonstrator Programme.

LOSA principles for vehicles have been mandated through Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) DEF Stan 23-09. (The Foxhound LPPV is now in service with Thales’ compliant Integrated Digital Mission System architecture.) All future vehicle procurement, as well as current refurbishment and upgrades, will be subject to GVA standards. By way of example General Dynamics UK (GDUK) confir

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