Web Page sponsored by MILLBROOK
Tel: +44 (0) 1525 408408
27 Oct 16. The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment (BAAINBw) and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) have signed an agreement on the procurement of seven Leguan bridge laying systems on the Leopard 2 chassis in Koblenz on 27.10.2016. The project also includes transport systems as well as training simulators and ancillary equipment. The vehicles will be supplied to the Bundeswehr between 2018 and 2021. The total order volume amounts to roughly EUR 88m. This will enable the Bundeswehr to cross water obstacles and gaps in terrain, even with heavy machinery in military load class MLC80 (approx. 72 tons). Germany had warranted this capability to NATO regarding its involvement in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) as of 2019. The system is capable of transporting and laying one 26 metre long bridge or alternatively two bridges with a length of 14 metres each. The Leguan on Leopard 2 chassis is now being used by five user nations. A total of 17 countries operate the Leguan bridge laying system on different mobility platforms.
24 Oct 16. Tanks To Have Remote-Control. What’s the fastest way to acquire unmanned ground vehicles? Rig your manned vehicles for remote control. General Dynamics Land Systems, the maker of the Abrams tank (pictured) and the Stryker armored fighting vehicle is teaming up with Kairos Autonomi, a company whose kits can turn virtually anything with wheels or tracks into a remote-controlled car. It’s part of a strategic play to meet the US Army’s expanding demand for unmanned ground vehicles. Kairos, the name comes from a Greek term meaning “opportune moment”, makes two types of kits. One is basically a seat robot that works a car’s controls just as a human would, and can be installed in about 20 minutes. The other leaves the seat free but takes several hours to install. No, it’s not autonomous driving, but it is here today and the military can put it on vehicles it already owns.
“You don’t have to go into the vehicle and pull the electronics out, pull out the architecture, cut the vehicle. You don’t have to start on a new build. It gives our military customers an option for a quick install and then they’ll have a remote or unmanned capability for existing vehicles,” said Phil Skuta, director of Marine programs at General Dynamics Land Systems, at the Association of the US Army convention in Washington.
The military has already installed Kairos kits on disposable vehicles to create moving targets for shooting practice. But GDLS is now working to fit them onto heavier combat vehicles… “We’ve had these installed on LAVs, on Strykers,” Skuta said.
The US Army’s move to unmanned convoys and fighting machines is spelled out in its recent Autonomy and Robotic System Strategy, which lists semi-autonomous resupply (where trucks follow one another in a convoy) as a near-term goal and fully autonomous resupply a little later, around 2020. The eventual goal is full autonomy, but the route to that destination is unclear. Converting existing pieces of equipment into remotely driven fighting vehicles represents a step forward, one that’s achievable today at the cost of less than $30,000 per kit.
“Frankly, the technology in robotics is changing so rapidly, you can’t imagine someone building a thousand vehicles that are robots,” said Kairos founder Troy Takach, “because by the time they get the build started and the build ended, the technology will have eclipsed them.”
Takach says that the military’s fixation on achieving full autonomy has slowed progress toward deploy unmanned ground systems by pushing remote piloting efforts to the wayside.
“Everybody’s trying to have autonomy,” he said. “That’s what everybody considers the Holy Grail out there. That’s why we don’t have any robots deployed today, because if you go look at the military planning, th