Sponsored by TEK Military Seating Limited
19 May 22. Allison Transmission to Provide Propulsion Solutions for the U.S. Army’s Newest Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Program.
Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional and electrified vehicle propulsion solutions for tactical wheeled and tracked defense vehicles, will support multiple customers through the U.S. Army’s newest tactical wheeled vehicle program named the Common Tactical Truck (CTT). CTT has the potential to field more than 7,000 new vehicles once full rate production begins, representing over $150m in revenue for Allison’s defense end market.
The U.S. Army has proposed replacing most variants in its heavy tactical wheeled vehicle fleet with a single platform that shares a common powertrain, chassis, and cab. The CTT program will leverage advancements from the commercial vehicle industry including driver safety systems, off-road mobility, predictive maintenance, and increased fuel efficiency. Prototype vehicle testing will begin in late 2023 with an award decision occurring as early as 2025.
“Our mission is clear – to improve the way the world works with the most reliable, innovative, and efficient propulsion solutions that deliver the performance, quality and differentiated value propositions our customers have come to expect from Allison,” said Dana Pittard, Vice President, Defense Programs at Allison Transmission.
Allison will support the CTT program’s fuel efficiency targets by incorporating propulsion systems equipped with FuelSense 2.0®, an advanced set of software and electronic controls that deliver fuel savings of up to 6% without sacrificing performance.
Beyond innovative drivetrain products, Allison stands ready to support our customers and CTT’s project development milestones through the state-of-the-art infrastructure available at the Vehicle Electrification and Environmental Test Center (VE+ET), a 60,000 square foot facility located at Allison’s global headquarters in Indianapolis. The venue offers a wide range of seasonally independent vehicle-level testing capabilities applicable to conventional, alternative fuel, electric-hybrid, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The U.S. Army’s recently released climate strategy includes the goal of transitioning to hybrid-drive tactical vehicles by 2035. Allison has been investing in electric hybrid propulsion systems for decades, and as a result, the company is well positioned to support the defense market in the shift to electric vehicle technology. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
18 May 22. US Army acquisition chief would welcome tank ramp-up if Congress funds it. The Army’s decision to reduce Abrams tank production in fiscal 2023 to fund new technologies was one of its tougher choices, the Army’s acquisition chief said on Capitol Hill this week.
The service would welcome support from Congress to increase the production rate at the Lima, Ohio, plant that builds the Abrams tank, Doug Bush said at a May 17 House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land subcommittee hearing.
The service plans to spend roughly $2bn less from FY22 through FY25 on Abrams tanks when comparing the FY23 budget justification documents with the same set of documents issued in FY21, the last time the Army issued a five-year spending plan.
The Army plans to produce 22 tanks in FY23, 80 fewer than previously planned; 30 in FY24, 71 fewer than planned, and 53 in FY25, 60 fewer vehicles. This equates to roughly a half a Brigade Combat Team a year.
In FY26, the Army would build 42, followed by 40 in FY27.
On the unfunded priorities list sent to Congress this spring, the Army said it would like to upgrade tanks for another half of a BCT for $524 m to “remain on pace with our modernization strategy for Abrams tanks.”
“That prioritization reflects the Army’s view of how important that is and if we can get help there, the Army would be glad to accept it,” he said of the service putting Abrams tanks high on its unfunded priorities list. “We are ready to execute and to crank that production line up even more than it already is now.”
“It’s great to see the plant at 15 tanks a month,” Bush said, noting he recalls when production dropped as low as one tank per month. “But I know it can do more and I know that workforce can do more. … Simply put, the more tanks going through there, the healthier the industrial base that feeds it.”
But Rep. Michael Turner, (R-Ohio) said the reduced production pace raises questions about how quickly Abrams tanks could be fielded to Poland.
While a sale of tanks to Poland was recently cleared, Turner said during the hearing, it appears the country might not receive them until the end of 2024 or early 2025.
“The tank plant is currently producing about 15 tanks a month; it could produce more,” he said. “Considering what’s happening with Ukraine and Russia, obviously, it is much more important that we get those tanks to them.”
Poland has provided some tanks to Ukraine and would need to backfill those with new tanks, Turner added.
In February, just before Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. State Department cleared the sale of 250 tanks — worth roughly $6 bn — to Poland.
Bush said ultimately the decision is the Pentagon’s, but there are options to more quickly deliver tanks to Poland, such as prioritizing those deliveries ahead of some tanks for the U.S. Army or other allies.
“Those are dials we can turn,” he said.
The Army is also already working with Poland on initial familiarization with the equipment and the logistics required for operation, Bush said.
“Beyond that, transferring additional equipment to them, we are looking at options including perhaps using the new Lend-Lease Act authority to think creatively about how we could provide them with tanks in the interim,” he said. “Those are very nascent conversations though.”
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
17 May 22. Slovenia procures 45 BOXER vehicles. The Slovenian government, represented by the European procurement organization OCCAR, and ARTEC, a consortium of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall, have signed a contract for the delivery of 45 BOXER wheeled vehicles in four different variants. The volume of the order amounts to EUR 281.5m. Delivery of the BOXER vehicles is scheduled to begin in 2024 and be completed in 2026.
Now that EU and NATO member Slovenia has joined the BOXER program, it has six user states. The BOXER is a highly protected 8×8 wheeled vehicle. Its modular architecture allows a diversity of variants like no other vehicle system. So far, approximately 1,500 vehicles in twenty different versions are under contract in the four NATO member states Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and the United Kingdom. NATO partner state Australia has opted for the BOXER as well.
ARTEC GmbH was founded in 1999 and is a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG, Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V. The company coordinates series production and serves as the point of contact for all export issues relating to the BOXER.
17 May 22. Smart Hitch technology offers efficiency in frontline resupply.
Glic Ltd received DASA funding and post-contract support to help develop their autonomous trailer hitch.
- Glic Ltd has developed an autonomous vehicle-to-trailer connection system which connects and disconnects a trailer to or from a towing vehicle without human intervention.
- A chance meeting with DASA’s Innovation Partner in Scotland introduced Glic to the possibility of funding to adapt their Smart Hitch technology for military use.
- Following a successful funding bid, Glic were able to develop their software and test Smart Hitch with the British Army.
- Further post-contract support from DASA’s Access to Mentoring and Finance (A2MF) Team is preparing Glic for future investment and market readiness.
Introducing Glic Ltd
Glic Ltd is a technology start-up based in rural Aberdeenshire. The company was established to revolutionise the way cars connect to trailers – developing cutting-edge technology which enables seamless connection between trailers and vehicles without human intervention. Glic began working on a civilian auto-hitch system in 2016 and two years later, delivered a fully functioning prototype of the Smart Hitch. The design has been awarded patents in Australia, Germany, the UK and USA.
A chance meeting with DASA’s Innovation Partner in Scotland, Dr Deb Carr, encouraged Glic to consider an alternative use for Smart Hitch. This led to a successful bid into DASA’s Open Call for Innovation in 2019, where Glic was awarded £99,000 to adapt their civilian design for NATO vehicles.
Towed to success
The British Armed Forces are exploring autonomous vehicles as a safer way to deliver supplies to the frontline. Being driverless, these platforms reduce the need for personnel to risk their lives by entering hostile environments; however, there are no current solutions which enable trailers to connect and disconnect from vehicles without human intervention.
After seeing a video of the Smart Hitch in action, the British Army was keen to provide funding to develop the technology for military use and an opportunity at the end of the project to trial Smart Hitch using NATO vehicles.
The trial proved successful, demonstrating that Smart Hitch can autonomously connect and disconnect a trailer from a military Land Rover and safely tow the trailer over both flat and uneven terrain.
Following their initial DASA contract, Glic was keen to gain further funding to develop both their civilian and military products. DASA’s Access to Mentoring and Finance (A2MF) team provided post-contract support in the form of business mentoring and an opportunity to pitch to potential investors at DASA’s annual Investor Showcase. Prior to the showcase, Glic received training from business experts which helped them refine their presentation and sales pitch.
DASA’s 2021 Investor Showcase was attended by 17 innovative SMEs who presented their businesses and innovations to an invited audience of investors, ranging from business angels to brokers and venture capitalists.
On his experience of the Investor Showcase, Gary Webster, Glic’s Co-Founder, said:
Meeting investors is very difficult for a small start-up company. DASA’s A2MF service increased our exposure and gave us the confidence and skills to pitch our product.
The road ahead
DASA funding has enabled Glic’s business to expand, adding a full time electronic/software engineer to their headcount. Following the success of their first project, Glic has received further DASA funding to develop Smart Hitch for use on larger vehicles with higher payloads. They have also received support from Scottish Enterprise and are now working with the University of Aberdeen to explore inductive power transfer systems to make Smart Hitch even more versatile and reliable.
Find out more
Read how DASA’s Access to Mentoring and Finance Service can help you build the business behind your innovation. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
16 May 22. US special ops to get vehicle converter kits for the Arctic by early 2023. Polaris has developed a kit to convert the MRZR Alpha — used by U.S. Special Operations Command as its Lightweight All-Terrain Vehicle — for the Arctic and is gearing up to be able to produce it for customers early next year. The Arctic kit is currently in government validation testing, and a production decision will be made at the start of next year on how many kits the command will buy for its LATV fleet, according to Polaris executives.
Special operations units and all of the U.S. armed services have an interest in boosting their operational capabilities in the Arctic. The Army released a strategy for operating in the region in 2021 and has slowly reviewed what it will need to modernize and build up effective operational units in the Arctic.
Polaris won the contract to supply the MRZR Alpha as the command’s LATV in 2020 for $109 m.
The kit — which Polaris displayed at Modern Day Marine in Washington, D.C., this month — provided tracks instead of wheels, plus a cab that keeps passengers less exposed to the elements, the company said.
“Obviously improving the over-snow capability where a wheeled vehicle is somewhat limited” is a reason customers want this capability, Nick Francis, Polaris’ vice president for government and defense, told Defense News in a recent interview. “But there are other types of transitionary terrain or loose soil conditions that a tracked vehicle can also help with.”
Francis noted the cab system can be used separately, with or without tracks.
“The vehicles are expeditionary in nature,” he said, and “having a single vehicle that can be used for a wide variety of missions is very important. … If you can have one vehicle perform in the desert, and then modify that vehicle quickly within two to three hours, and then have it perform in the Arctic environment, you’re able to do more with one asset, so it greatly reduces the logistics burden, maintenance burden, those types of things.”
The track installation is “pretty straightforward,” said John LaFata, an MRZR engineer with Polaris, as they simply take the place of the wheels and tires through an adapter. There is one additional component that provides anti-rotation features to keep the tracks from over-rotating, he added.
“The cab itself is a bit more work from that side of things because we went down the path of designing a cab that would provide really good protection and sealing capability to those elements, whether it’s an Arctic mobility … and other sorts of environments where you’d like to have some occupant protection from … dust, debris or other sorts of hazards,” LaFata said. “So it contains a number of components.”
These include a front and rear hard-coat polycarbonate windshield, a roof, and a rear panel. The doors are steel structures with a paintable surface so they can be camouflaged for different environments, according to LaFata.
The doors have additional venting to allow for airflow into the vehicle, and there’s a vent in the rear panel to allow for airflow out of the vehicle. The package also includes a defroster as well as windshield wipers and a spray for clearing debris from the front windshield. The cab also comes with a heating feature through floor vents.
The Arctic kit is an option that U.S. Special Operations Command can exercise as part of the base contract for LATVs. Polaris is now entering its third year of the seven-year contract.
“Polaris and government validation testing is underway on the tracks, and the cab will start very, very shortly,” Francis said. “Typically, the validation process can take anywhere from three to six months depending on weather and different conditions, so we expect we’ll be able to offer production kits, I would say, likely early next year.”
The Arctic kit will be on display at the special operations conference SOFIC in Tampa Bay, Florida, this week, and will make appearances at other trade shows over the course of the year, including the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington in the fall. (Source: Defense News)
13 May 22. Slovakia holds trials of BMP replacement. Slovakia has held trials of three contenders to replace its BMP infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 11 May. Competing at the Military Technical and Testing Institute (VTSÚ) in Záhorie were the Rheinmetall Landsysteme Lynx KF41F, the General Dynamics European Land Systems-Santa Bárbara Sistemas ASCOD, and the BAE Systems Hägglunds CV90.
The three vehicles underwent firing and ergonomic tests, their driving characteristics were tested, and there was an evaluation of how they matched Slovak military requirements. The vehicles’ main armament was test-fired against different static and moving targets at different ranges. Their driving characteristics, vehicle dynamics, and manoeuvrability were tested on and off road, as was their ability to overcome obstacles.
The results will be incorporated into a feasibility study to be published at the end of May and submitted to the Slovak government for a recommendation tentatively planned for the end of 2022. (Source: Janes)
TEK Military Seating Limited
TEK Military Seating Limited is a UK based designer and manufacturer of ProTEK military vehicle seating which offer the highest standards of safety and protection. The ProTEK brand is well respected across the globe for its robust construction, innovative design, built in modularity and cost effectiveness. Our superior products are supported by our experienced team who endeavor to offer unrivalled service to our customers from enquiry, through design and acceptance, to through life support.
From its inception ProTEK seats have been designed around a family of innovative seat frames onto which tested and certified modules can be fitted to create a bespoke solution for the user. These include Blast protection to Stanag 4569 standards, vibration reduction, head and body protection, seat risers and turntables, fore & aft adjustment, and seat back rake along with viable seat dimensions without the need for additional tooling costs.
Contact: David Parkman