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Millbrook, based in Bedfordshire, UK, makes a significant contribution to the quality and performance of military vehicles worldwide. Its specialist expertise is focussed in two distinct areas: test programmes to help armed services and their suppliers ensure that their vehicles and systems work as the specification requires; and design and build work to upgrade new or existing vehicles, evaluate vehicle capability and investigate in-service failures. Complementing these is driver and service training and a hospitality business that allows customers to use selected areas of Millbrook’s remarkable facilities for demonstrations and exhibitions.
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05 Nov 10. MDT’s Tiger LPV finishes trials. MDT Armor Corporation has completed development and trials of its private venture Tiger Light Protected Vehicle (LPV). The new LPV expands the company’s reach into the military vehicle market by offering potential users a vehicle with increased volume, payload and protection. Development commenced in early 2009 and the first vehicles were completed later that year. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
05 Nov 10. Elbit expands UGV offering. Elbit Systems has developed a new small unmanned ground vehicle (SUGV) designed for reconnaissance and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations in urban environments. The new system is called maxi-VIPeR (versatile, intelligence, portable robot) and is the newest member of Elbit’s VIPeR family. The 20 kg SUGV can be carried either on the back of a soldier or inside a specially designed suitcase from which it is deployed. It can carry a payload of 30 kg and is capable of operating in various terrains – including snow, sand and mud – within a range of several hundred metres of the operator. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
10 Nov 10. Lockheed Martin is looking to adapt a robotic vehicle that carries combat troops’ equipment for use by UK forces. The autonomous Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) vehicle can carry up to 545kg – the equivalent of kit for seven soldiers – and is due to be trialled by the US Army in Afghanistan in the first or second quarter of 2011. The US-owned defence and security firm is now hoping to win a UK government
competition by developing the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to meet the British Army’s security and safety needs at its facility in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. Dr Paul Townsend, research and technology lead for LMUK, said: ’Because SMSS is autonomous, it can be placed into a hide prior to an incursion, given some way points and be called forward without operator intervention to resupply the team.‘Casualty evacuation is a futuristic concept at the moment but SMSS can travel faster than two men with a stretcher, so if it carried a casualty you wouldn’t have two guys taken out of battle.’ The six-wheeled open-top UGV is powered by a diesel engine and has a range of around 100 miles. Lockheed Martin is also planning to develop hybrid and full electric versions of the SMSS. It navigates using GPS, a video camera and the optical remote sensing system
LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and, when autonomy isn’t required, a
teleoperator can control up to four vehicles using a handheld unit.
Townsend said that adaptations were needed because the US and UK had different philosophies regarding autonomous vehicles.
‘Safety has to be built into such a platform at a very fundamental level and we are looking to understand – we’ve got some internal research and development – the UK needs,’ he said. (Source: The Engineer Online)
17 Nov 10. The U.S. Army may stop requiring its Stryker armored personnel carriers to fit aboard a C-130 airlifter.
“There is movement afoot to get away from the C-130 requirement,” Lt. Col. Aaron Roberson, deputy director for Stryker logistics, said at a vehicle conference Nov. 16. Some commanders don’t think it’s necessary, Roberson said. Service officials are analyzing whethe