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———————————————————————–21 Feb 12. DRS Technologies, Inc. a Finmeccanica Company announced its Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Group has developed a new type of wide-angle thermal camera that can help keep military vehicles from accidently dropping off treacherous mountain roads in the war zone. Typically, troops who drive Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and other combat vehicles must navigate them close to steep cliffs and other hazards. These vehicles are currently equipped with a Driver’s Vision Enhancer (DVE) that offers a thermal video image with a narrow field of view that is 40º wide x 30º vertically. Capitalizing off of the technology and lessons learned from the DVE, RSTA has developed a system that “stitches” together images to create a 107º x 30º field of view. The new system, DVE Wide, lets the driver electronically pan through the full 107º to see both sides of the road ahead. It also adds wheel track indicators to the video image so the driver can clearly identify any potential obstacles and see where road surfaces drop off. The thermal cameras create an image by detecting infrared waves (heat), rather than light waves; so they produce sharp, high-resolution images in the dark of night and through dust, haze, sand, smoke and light fog. DVE Wide is simply a one-for-one sensor replacement to the existing DVE system. This backwards compatibility makes DVE Wide easy to deploy and install. It operates with the existing display control monitor and cables, so the military does not need to re-outfit its vehicles with costly upgrades and installation kit modifications.
With more than 55,000 DVEs from RSTA in the field, the safety upgrade to DVE Wide is a low cost effort guaranteed to increase the Warfighter’s force protection and operational capability.
24 Feb 12. The US Army is planning to test Israeli and Swedish military vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) in late 2012 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US, as part of its Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) programme. The assessment will allow the army to look at various options that meet the requirements of the infantry vehicle programme. GCV project manager colonel Andrew DiMarco was quoted by Defense News as saying that the army will specifically test the Israeli Namer heavy Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) and the Swedish Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90). The General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) built Namer AIFV is currently undergoing user assessment tests in Israel, conducted by the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) team. Other vehicles that will be tested at New Mexico include BAE Systems-built Swedish CV90, Bradley M2A3 fighting vehicle and GD Stryker double-V-hull vehicle. DiMarco said the service also has plans to test the German Puma infantry fighting vehicle at White Sands Missile Range this year. The $40bn GCV infantry fighting vehicle programme aims to deliver a vehicle that is capable of carrying an entire squad of nine soldiers along with their equipment and protecting them from improvised explosive devices and modern warfare threats. More than 1,874 GCVs are expected to be fielded to replace a portion of the Army’s Bradley infantry fighting vehicle fleet.The Army has already awarded contracts to GDLS and BAE Systems for the technology development (TD) phase of the programme, and has requested Pentagon for a funding of $640m in the 2013 defence budget proposal.The third contender, the SAIC-led team comprising of Boeing, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall, was not awarded a contract for the TD phase, resulting in SAIC protesting against the army’s evaluation decision. The protest, later denied by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), halted programme de