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14 Aug 19. US Army Assessing Marine Corps Unmanned System. A platform designed for the Marine Corps is being tested for the Army’s robotic combat vehicle initiative. The expeditionary modular autonomous vehicle, or EMAV, program started in 2017 and was originally developed for the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, said program manager Brian Barr.
The Marine Corps “had a lot of experience doing autonomy work on current vehicle platforms … and they got to a point where they needed a custom, purposed vehicle to continue the work in off-road autonomy,” Barr said. “We developed this robotic platform for that.”
The EMAV is a tracked, diesel-electric series hybrid unmanned ground system that weighs 6,800 pounds and can carry a payload of 7,200 pounds, Barr said.
Now the Army has a next-generation combat vehicle initiative to develop a new family of systems that will replace its aging fleet. As part of the service’s plan to modernize the force, a cross-functional team was set up to pursue the technology.
Col. Warren Sponsler, deputy director of the cross-functional team, said during the National Defense Industrial Association’s Robotics Capabilities Conference and Exhibition in Columbus, Georgia, that the service was preparing for phase 2 of its robotic combat vehicle work.
The service is aiming to develop the vehicles in light, medium and heavy variants. It held a phase 2 demonstration and assessment at Texas A&M University in May.
EMAV was assessed for the light and medium vehicle categories during the assessment, Barr said. During the event, platforms were separated by payload capacity, allowing the EMAV to compete in two categories, Barr noted.
Meanwhile, the Marine Corps is also experimenting with the vehicle’s first two prototypes.
The systems participated in an experiment with Marines in fall 2018 and another assessment of the platforms was slated for August at an Army National Guard base in Indiana, Barr said.
The Marine Corps is “continuing to experiment with it and they are reaching out to collaborate with Army customers to witness those experiments,” Barr said. “There’s good collaboration going on.”
While Pratt & Miller Engineering has developed two prototypes that have been in testing for over a year, the company is currently building two additional platforms and recently recieved an order for another two units, Barr said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
15 Aug 19. Russia to develop light tank based on BMP-3. Russia’s Machine-Building Special Design Bureau (SKBM) will develop a light tank based on the chassis of the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), according to the press department of JSC Kurganmashzavod, a subsidiary of Rostec’s High-Precision Weapons.
“The BT-3F armoured personnel carrier [APC] and a light tank based on the BMP-3 with the combat module of the Sprut-SDM1 tank destroyer are among prospective developments [by SKBM]. The bureau is also developing modern engineering reconnaissance and mine clearance systems for the Ministry of Defence, with the BMP-3 being the main chassis for such vehicles,” Kurganmashzavod told Jane’s on 13 August. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Aug 19. Taiwan advances Mobile Mortar System development. The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense’s (MND’s) Materiel Production Center (MPC) took the opportunity at the 2019 Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE), which is being held in Taipei from 15 to 17 August, to unveil an updated version of the 81/120 mm Mobile Mortar System (MMS). The MMS is a self-contained, electro-mechanical turntable mount that can be armed with an 81 mm or 120 mm smoothbore mortar. The system, which is being developed by the MPC’s 202nd Arsenal to meet a potential self-propelled mortar system requirement from the Republic of China Army (RoCA), features a specially designed hydraulic buffer assembly capable of attenuating recoil loads by up to a claimed reduction of 70%. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Aug 19. Iran unveils new Raad MRAP. Iran has unveiled what appears to be its first indigenously developed mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle (MRAP) on 13 August. The Raad was unveiled in a ceremony held at the Defense Industries Organization in Isfahan and attended by Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, as well as senior officers from the land forces, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and police. Brig Gen Hatami said the MRAP is a more advanced version of the Toufan, according to the statement released by the Ministry of Defence. He added that it has a monocoque chassis with a V-shaped hull that makes it highly resistant to mines, roadside bombs, and anti-tank weapons. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Aug 19. USMC’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ready for combat deployment. The US Marine Corps’ (USMC) Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) has achieved initial operational capability (IOC) nearly a year ahead of schedule. In a press release, the Marine Corps Systems Command announced that the JLTV is ready to deploy and support missions of the naval expeditionary force-in-readiness around the world.
US Navy Research, Development and Acquisition assistant secretary James Geurts said: “Congratulations to the combined JLTV team for acting with a sense of urgency and reaching IOC early. Changing the speed in which we deliver, combined with coming in under cost and meeting all performance requirements, is a fine example of increasing Marine Corps capabilities at the speed of relevance which enables our marines to compete and win on the modern battlefield.”
The JLTV family of vehicles includes general purpose, heavy guns carrier, utility, and close combat weapons carrier variants. These vehicles are designed to provide protected, sustained, networked mobility. Earlier this year, the USMC fielded the first JLTV at the School of Infantry-West at Camp Pendleton.
The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) FY2018 Annual Report stated that not all JLTVs are operationally suitable because of deficiencies in reliability, maintainability, training, manuals, crew situational awareness, and safety.
The JLTV is set to fully replace the USMC’s ageing high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle fleet.
PEO Land Systems John Garner said: “The warfighting capabilities the JLTV provides our marines far exceed the capabilities offered by its predecessor.”
The USMC will start fielding JLTV to I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) and III MEF by the end of next month. Oshkosh Defense is the major contractor for the programme. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 Aug 19. Curtiss-Wright and PacStar Collaborate to Demonstrate “Single Pane of Glass” Dashboard Solution for Management of Ground Vehicle VICTORY Networks. Demo is first to feature PacStar IQ-Core® network management software running on Curtiss-Wright DuraCOR® mission computer to manage a Digital Beachhead™ VICTORY switch. Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division, a trusted leading supplier of rugged deployed vetronics systems, in collaboration with Pacific Star Communications (PacStar), will provide the first live demonstration of a COTS-based management solution for open standard vehicle electronic components through the VICTORY framework. The demo will be hosted in Curtiss-Wright’s booth (Booth 214) at the 2019 NDIA Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium, August 13-15, 2019.
The demo features PacStar’s IQ-Core Software network management software running on Curtiss-Wright rugged mission computers. It will showcase a compelling solution that simplifies and improves the configuration control, management, and system awareness of US Army and Marine Corps ground vehicle networks based on open standards such as VICTORY. By consolidating network management into a “single pane of glass” dashboard, this solution significantly eases and speeds tactical configuration, reduces command post setup time, and enables new classes of communication applications, while reducing management complexity and training burdens for ground vehicle and tactical networking programs.
The demo will feature PacStar’s IQ-Core Network Communication Manager (NCM) and Remote Operations And Management (ROAM) software running on a Curtiss-Wright Parvus DuraCOR small form factor mission computer to manage open standard vehicle electronic components, including Curtiss-Wright’s DBH-670 Digital Beachhead Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch and vehicle management computer. IQ-Core ROAM enables centralized management of distributed network nodes at multiple tiers in a hierarchical and efficient manner. IQ-Core Software also enables secure wireless networking to integrate vehicle networks and C2 networks, with support for classified wireless communication devices and PKI secure key management using open architecture off-the-shelf NSA/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) approved Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) encryption.
“Managing the data rich converged networks on VICTORY-enabled ground vehicles has become a complex task,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions division. “We are excited to demonstrate the first cost-effective COTS-based approach, one that combines PacStar’s industry-leading IQ-Core Software and Curtiss-Wright’s rugged deployable mission computer and VICTORY appliance subsystems, to ease and simplify the management of ground vehicle networks.”
“We are thrilled to integrate IQ-Core Software with Curtiss-Wright rugged systems for ground vehicles, delivering ease-of-use benefits to a new class of on-the-move networks not previously served by PacStar products,” said Peggy Miller, chief executive officer, PacStar. “VICTORY-enabled ground vehicles networks are trending towards complexity comparable to tactical C2 networks, where IQ-Core Software is widely deployed and has demonstrated its ability to simplify and enhance communications operations and management.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
13 Aug 19. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Rheinmetall Defence are partnering with Pratt & Miller Defense for the U.S. Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle competition. The Detroit-based company will provide engineering analysis to help ensure the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle meets or exceeds the Army’s survivability requirements for OMFV.
“Pratt & Miller brings extraordinary engineering experience and expertise to the team to make sure Lynx can withstand the battlefield’s harsh conditions,” said Brad Barnard, Raytheon OMFV director. “Our troops deserve the safest and most advanced combat vehicle possible, and that’s exactly what we will deliver.”
In 2018, Raytheon and Rheinmetall joined forces to offer Lynx for the Army’s OMFV competition. Lynx is a next-generation, tracked armored fighting vehicle designed to address the critical challenges of the future battlefield. The team is providing an overmatch advantage for soldiers, growth capacity to support new technologies over the vehicle’s lifetime, and lower life-cycle costs. Lynx will be manufactured in the U.S. by American workers.
“Raytheon and Rheinmetall are assembling a U.S. supply chain for Lynx,” said Matt Warnick, American Rheinmetall Vehicles managing director. “Partnering with Pratt & Miller brings us one step closer to building Lynx in the USA.”
Raytheon technology earmarked for the Lynx includes the company’s advanced weapons, Active Protection System, next-generation thermal sights, the Coyote® unmanned aircraft system and more. Pratt & Miller will help confirm that Lynx is ready for the fight.
“Pratt & Miller is proud to join the Lynx team and support the survivability analysis, ensuring the best technologies for unparalleled protection for our warfighters,” said Celyn Evans, Pratt & Miller Defense director. Scheduled for fielding in 2026, the OMFV is expected to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle.
13 Aug 19. Tumosan advances indigenous powerpack development. Turkey’s Tumosan is developing and testing new diesel engine and automatic transmission systems such as the ALP Lightweight Tracked Vehicle Powerpack (LTVP) using internal research and development funding. The ALP has been trialled aboard the FNSS Savunma Sistemleri Armoured Combat Vehicle 15 (ACV 15). Large numbers of these vehicles are in service with the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) and designated the Turkish Infantry Fighting Vehicles (TIFVs). Tumosan notes that the ALP LTVP could also be installed on BAE Systems’ M113 series of tracked armoured personnel carriers (APCs). M113 variants are still used by many countries, with the M113A3 powered by the ageing 275hp Detroit Diesel 6V-53T diesel coupled to the X200-4 cross drive transmission. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Aug 19. Can robots make an Army platoon 10 times as effective? Are humans with robots an order of magnitude better than humans without robots? It’s the question the Army’s Maneuver Center for Excellence is hoping to solve through trial and experimentation. The National Advanced Mobility Consortium posted a request for white papers Aug. 5 about technologies that might have a place in a robotic, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy technology demonstration at Fort Benning in September 2020.
This project is long in the works, with an announcement of intent dating back to March 2019. The premise, as stated in the March announcement, is to “show a path towards an Army capability that will provide a robotically equipped dismounted infantry platoon that is 10 times more effective than the current dismounted infantry platoon.”
In order to do this, the Maneuver Center for Excellence, together with Fort Benning’s Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate’s Robotics Requirements Division, is exploring robotic systems for “ground, air, water,” as well as the virtual space — otherwise known as the four platonic elements of terrestrial war. These robots and systems should be able to improve “mobility, protection, situational awareness, endurance, persistence, and depth” as well as, and this is key, lethality.
Taken together, the robots should lend an advantage to the platoon’s OODA loop — its ability to observe, orient, decide and act — with the goal that a robot-enabled platoon completes OODA-loop cycles 10 times faster than it would without robots. That’s a tremendous amount of promise to put in remote systems, especially since the present paradigm of controlled robotic battlefield tools involves a lot of human observers and controllers checking on, managing, and directing the robots. (The process by which humans are actively involved in robot control is “in the loop” or, with more passive robot monitoring termed “on the loop.”)
If robots are going to improve soldier situational awareness by an order of magnitude, they will have to be autonomous. And not just autonomous in movement, but autonomous in sensing, data processing, and in providing that information back to the platoon.
Part of this vision involves robots themselves producing intelligence products that are both immediate and ephemeral, useful in the tactical moment and then gone before they can become out of date. Another piece is machines autonomously moving through and responding to the environment on their own, as exercises undertaken by DARPA and the Marine Corps have already explored. If that same autonomy will extend to robot lethality, or if weapons will stay in the hands of humans, remains to be determined.
In preparation for the September 2020 exercise, Georgia Tech Research Institute is designated to serve as the technology integrator for the assessment and demonstration parts of the task. As the industry proposals are vetted to meet Army needs, some will receive a Request for Prototype Proposal, and will also be evaluated in a simulation exercise to see if they will be part of the 2020 exercise.
Interested parties should look to the National Advanced Mobility Consortium’s posted request, and to the earlier proposal announcement, for more specific guidance. Interested observers, meanwhile, should keep an eye on September 2020 in Georgia, where the Army will see if the future of war is really 10 times as promising as expected. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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.