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27 Nov 12. BAE and Northrop reveal details of hybrid Ground Combat Vehicle. BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman have released details of their proposed vehicle for the US Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) programme. The hybrid GCV is an armoured tank, designed to carry three crew and nine squad members inside its steel-core hull. It features an integrated electronic network capability and embedded command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. By using customisable combinations of armour packages on the hull, the vehicle can offer enhanced protection to troops in comparison with an RG-33 mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle. The GCV is powered by a hybrid electric drive (HED) propulsion system for economical fuel use, although even with a mechanical drive the design could have saved the army 10,492gal of fuel over a 180-day campaign. A 10% to 20% improvement in fuel economy is possible without compromising power, as an HED GCV can accelerate from 0mph-20mph in just 7.8 seconds, which a mechanical GCV would require 10.5 seconds to reach. The 1,500 horsepower HED is capable of providing 1,100kW of electricity and can run silently, which could be an advantage during night operations. In addition to fuel cost savings, the proposed GCV would require fewer parts and maintenance hours than existing systems, lowering operational cost to the army over the vehicle’s service life. The hybrid GCV weighs some 70t and is almost twice as heavy as that of the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, which it will replace under the $40bn GCV programme. (Source: army-technology.com)

28 Nov 12. Lockheed Martin’s Joint Asset Management and Engineering Solutions (JAMES) technology has been deployed by British forces using ruggedized laptops in Afghanistan. The logistic information management software system monitors millions of pieces of Armed Forces equipment for availability, location, condition and configuration. The technology has expanded considerably in the past eight years, having originally been developed to monitor Army vehicles. Nowadays, all three Services use the system to analyse maintenance, repair and failure data of land-based equipment ranging from vehicles to small arms, generators and night vision goggles. Most recently, ISO containers and aircraft ground support equipment have been added to the capability. The MoD is acquiring 12,000 ruggedized laptops that will enable users, including those in operational bases, to record maintenance and configuration, helping to increase operational effectiveness.

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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