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17 Oct 19. Turkey deploys upgraded M60TM tanks to Syrian border. Turkey has deployed upgraded M60TM main battle tanks (MBTs) fitted with Pulat active protection systems (APS) to the Syrian border as part of Operation ‘Peace Spring’, according to photographs taken on 11 and 12 October.
The photographs showed the tanks deploying in the Akçakale area opposite the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, one of the operation’s initial objectives. There appeared to be two different standards of upgraded M60s, both fitted with a remote weapon station and laser-warning receivers mounted behind the smoke grenade launchers on the front of their turrets and at the rear. Some of the tanks also had what appeared to be elements of the Pulat hard-kill APS fitted to their hulls, with one module mounted to the rear of the exhaust on the right side and a second between the first and second road wheels. This indicates that Turkey is the second country outside of the former Soviet Union to deploy an APS to an operational theatre.
Some of the tanks showed M60s fitted with Aselsan’s Telescopic Periscope System (TEPES) fitted on their turrets to the left of the remote weapon station. With the exception of the Pulat APS, all the additional elements were under covers. However, their shapes and locations matched those seen in imagery released by Aselsan and a concept demonstrator of the M60TM that was displayed at the IDEF show held in Istanbul earlier this year. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Oct 19. Navistar Defense showed off the International Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV)at AUSA. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold caught up with Amy McCaskill of Navistar Defense to discuss SOTV developments.
“We have had considerable interest in SOTV and expect to conclude sales in due course.” Amy McCaskill said.
“Are you interested in pursuing opportunities in the UK?
“Yes, we hope to have a vehicle over in the UK for Trials purposes in 2020.” Amy McCaskill said.
There are reports from the UK of a requirement for such a vehicle including as many as 100 for the Royal Marines. SOTV is amongst a new range of Special Forces vehicles being developed across the world. Jankel in the UK has a Toyota Special Ops vehicle conversion, whilst Mercedes has developed G Wagen Special Ops versions, one recently sold to the Dutch Army.
The Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV) has been developed for the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 programme. The International Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV) is a highly-modular, 4×4 transportable, armoured vehicle designed to meet the off-road mission requirements of special operations units.
The 4×4 tactical vehicle was developed by a partnership between Navistar Defense, Indigen Armor and SAIC for the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The development began in February 2012 and the vehicle was unveiled at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Florida in May 2012.
The SOTV can be deployed in combat missions, border patrol, police and other government duties. It can carry large payloads and offers enhanced off-road mobility and high performance in difficult terrain and arctic environmental conditions.
Design and features of the Special Operations Tactical Vehicle
The multi-purpose Special Operations Tactical Vehicle features modular design, which is based on Indigen Armor’s Non-Standard Tactical Truck (NSTT) platform. It features Navistar Defense’s 4×4 crew cab truck body style.
The SOTV has a length of 5,334mm, width of 2,007mm, height of 1,829mm, and wheel base of 3,099mm. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 6,124kg while the kerb weight is 3,039kg. The vehicle can carry a payload of 2,903kg. SOTV has a turning diameter of 13,716mm and can carry a payload of 2,903kg.
The tactical vehicle can accommodate up to five people inside an armoured occupant safety cell. It can be configured with low-profile overt tactical body styles and offered in three-man, five-man and seven-man versions.
The vehicle can be integrated with full government furnished Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) suite. The C4ISR suite and logistics support for the vehicle is provided by SAIC. The vehicle can also be equipped with run-flat tires, winch, air compressor, and the modular rear seating / storage area. The infrared (IR) lighting is provided to increase visibility during low-light conditions.
Armament and protection features
The armoured variant of SOTV is equipped with a collapsible turret and a main weapon station. It can be optionally attached with five secondary weapon mounts.
The vehicle incorporates scalable armour packages to offer all-round 360° protection up to Euronorm B6 standard. It is also fitted with scalable doors with bulletproof glass to protect crew from a variety of threats.
The engine is coupled to Allison 2550SP six-speed automatic transmission system to offer superior mobility.
Engine and performance
The SOTV is powered by MaxxForce 6.0L V8 turbo inter-cooled, four-stroke, direct electronic injection diesel engine from Navistar Defense. The engine generates a power output of 325hp at 3,000rpm, and a maximum torque of 570ft-lb at 1,800rpm. The vehicle is also compatible with JP8 jet fuel.
The engine is coupled to Allison 2550SP six-speed automatic transmission system to offer superior mobility. The front suspension is of double wishbone arms with coil-over shocks, and recirculating ball power steering with ram-assist kits. The rear suspension is provided by semi-trailing arm with coil-over shocks. The hydraulic bump stops are installed in front and rear suspensions of the vehicle.
The vehicle can attain a governed off-road speed of 85mph. It is capable of operating at a maximum speed of more than 100mph. It has a turning diameter of 13,716mm and can ford a depth of 914mm. The vehicle is air transportable aboard M/CH-47 helicopter. (Data from army-technology.com)
16 Oct 19. Collins Aerospace brings proven, more electric aerospace technologies to Abrams M1A2 with new generator to help enhance survivability, reliability.
- Collins Aerospace generator delivers 50 percent more onboard power than legacy system as part of the Army’s M1A2 SEPv3 upgrade
- Generator’s design derived from company’s proven electric power aerospace applications
- More than 250 units shipped to date under contract received from General Dynamics in 2013
Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), today announced that it has shipped more than 250 of its electric generators to the U.S. Army for the Abrams M1A2. The generators are part of a contract Collins Aerospace received from General Dynamics in 2013, which calls for the company to deliver more than 400 generators through 2021. As part of the Army’s System Enhanced Package version 3 (SEPv3) to improve the M1A2’s performance and extend its service life, Collins Aerospace’s generator delivers 50 percent more onboard power than the vehicle’s legacy system in the same space, enhancing the tank’s survivability and reliability.
With its increased power, the electric generator helps improve the M1A2’s survivability by enabling the addition of advanced systems, such as laser warning receivers and radio jamming capabilities. Unlike the vehicle’s legacy system, which did not deliver full power at idle, Collins Aerospace’s generator uses advanced magnetics and active load management to deliver 100 percent rated power throughout the M1A2’s operating range. In addition, the state-of-the-art system boasts enhanced digital capabilities through its advanced generator control, diagnostics and communications features, providing opportunities for health monitoring and predictive health maintenance. For ease of installation, Collins Aerospace also designed the generator to fit in the same space as the legacy system without requiring major changes to the vehicle or its existing electric systems architecture.
Collins Aerospace derived the M1A2 generator’s design from its proven electric power applications for aerospace, leveraging intellectual property from systems currently flying on several different platforms. “With decades of experience as the world leader in providing more electric solutions to the aerospace industry, Collins Aerospace is now applying that expertise to ground vehicles to help the U.S. Army warfighter achieve mission success,” said Kevin Raftery, vice president and general manager, ISR & Space Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “As the Army continues to explore more electric options for future platforms, such as hybrid-electric powertrains for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, Collins Aerospace looks forward to continuing to work with the Army to support its electric power needs.” (Source: ASD Network)
17 Oct 19. Three bidders offer combat vehicles to Czech military, as German joint venture bows out. The Czech Ministry of Defence has announced it received three initial bids to supply new infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to the country’s military, with one player deciding to pull out of the competition.
Vehicles in the race include the Ascod, supplied by General Dynamics European Land Systems, BAE Systems’ CV90, and Rheinmetall’s Lynx. The contract, under which Prague aims to acquire some 210 vehicles for the country’s military, is estimated to be worth about 50bn koruna, or $2.2bn.
The fourth invited bidder, PSM Projekt System & Management GmbH, a joint venture between Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall, which makes the Puma, decided not to submit an offer because the companies believe the tender would require a costly rebuild of the vehicle to comply with its terms, the Czech ministry said in a statement.
“The project team will now begin to assess the received preliminary offers,” the ministry said. “Subsequently, the suppliers will be invited to submit their final offers.”
The planned procurement is to allow the Czech Republic to replace its outdated Soviet-designed BVP-2 vehicles with new IFVs. (Source: Defense News)
16 Oct 19. Altay MBT to be ready in two years, says BMC. Turkey’s Altay main battle tank (MBT) is planned to be in use by the Turkish Armed Forces within the next 24 months, Ethem Sancak, chairman of the board of Turkish-Qatari armoured vehicle manufacturer BMC, has said.
The MBT and all its parts will be entirely domestically produced in 48 months at the latest, Sancak told the 10th Istanbul Finance Summit (IFS’19) on 10 October.
Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) signed a contract with BMC for the first serial production of 250 Altay MBTs in November 2018 after a delay of almost eight years. Under the contract, up to 1,000 MBTs could be procured in four batches of 250 each.
A Turkish defence industry expert told Jane’s on 4 October that the first 40 tanks of the first sub-tranche, which are planned to be equipped with the Akkor active protection system and with the possibility of additional armour developed by Roketsan, are likely to be based on five Altay prototypes produced by Turkish company Otokar.
The second sub-tranche will consist of 210 Altays, with improved armour, the ability to fire laser-guided projectiles from its main gun, and an isolated magazine for the main gun ammunition, among others improvements. They will take longer to produce because of their more advanced systems, the expert added. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Oct 19. US Army nears competition that could lead to robots directly engaging the enemy. The U.S. Army is close to triggering a competition for both a light and medium robotic combat vehicle by releasing a request for product proposals before the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, the head of combat vehicle modernization for the service.
The plan is to award one contract to one company to build a light variant, and repeat the process for a medium-sized robotic combat vehicle, or RCV, in March 2020. Then each company will deliver four prototypes for evaluation and testing in 12 months from contract award, Coffman told Defense News in a recent interview..
The Army anticipates a large pool of applicants based on a recent evaluation of eight different vehicles on a course at Texas A&M University’s RELLIS campus, and because the response to a request for whitepapers for each variant was fruitful.
The caliber of vehicles at the physical demonstration was higher than expected. Companies “really took it seriously” and brought vehicles that weren’t just “modified, off-the-shelf” versions, Coffman said. Instead, the robots were “closer to purpose-built than we ever imagined,” he added.
The Army is focused — across all three weight classes of robotic vehicle under pursuit — on a chassis rather than a vehicle as a whole. The idea is to integrate mission systems onto a common chassis for each weight class.
On the heavyweight side, the Army completed a major experiment last month at Camp Grayling, Michigan, where four robotic versions of the M113 armored personnel carrier was evaluated for ground robotic capabilities. At the event, which will be followed by rigorous testing and evaluation at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, four robotic combat vehicles moved across the battlefield in a wedge formation. Soldiers controlled the platforms to keep them out of harm’s way.
“They came online, identified an enemy and then the humans called for fire based on the sensors on this robot,” Coffman said. “And then, once the artillery went in, the robots continued to traverse the terrain and engaged with direct fire against an enemy, destroying that enemy, all while the humans were in sanctuary controlling the battlefield.”
The exercise demonstrated to Coffman that heavy RCVs can reduce the risk to soldiers on the battlefield.
Once Army Test and Evaluation Command can put each vehicle through its paces, the platforms will head to Fort Carson, Colorado, in March 2020. “We’re going to put these in the hands of soldiers and they’re going to — they’re going to get them dirty, they’re going to execute tactical operations and they are going to fight against a live [opposing force],” Coffman said. “They are going to take them to the gunnery, and we’re going to see all of the capabilities they can do.”
After that phase, the Army plans to evaluate four M113s as well as four medium and four light RCVs that will form a company and execute tactical formations as the Army builds up its capability, according to Coffman.
In 2023, the Army will evaluate purpose-built heavy variants with the medium and light RCVs also in a company formation, Coffman added. (Source: Defense News)
17 Oct 19. American export expansion for South Australian Supashock. South Australia-based Supashock has announced the expansion of its operating footprint into the automotive and defence sectors in the US.
Adelaide-based Supashock officially launched its next export-driven growth phase into the US with an announcement at America’s major land platform conference, AUSA (Association of the United States Army) in Washington, DC, that it has recently established an office in California.
The company is now exploring other locations to grow its presence in the defence and automotive sectors.
The company designs and manufactures for defence, commercial and automotive state-of-the-art passive and active suspension systems as well as autonomous motion systems that include advanced logistics handling systems.
These systems offer the customer a differentiator in improved levels of safety, performance and reliability. Supashock already exports its technology into the US market as an OEM supplier.
Supashock founder and chief executive Oscar Fiorinotto said establishing deeper roots in the US market was a natural next step for the company.
“The evolution of our suspension and motion technology from high end motorsport and supplier to automotive OEMs has enabled Supashock to move confidently into areas such as the defence and autonomous vehicles sectors,” Fiorinotto said.
More than 5.3 million cars are sold in the US each year and, by 2020, the automotive aftermarket in the US is projected to reach a value of more than US$400bn. Defence industry expenditure in the US is projected to reach US$742bn.
Fiorinotto added, “Our fully active system is being used by an autonomous vehicle OEM that will move into production in 2020. Supashock is developing the suspension with the OEM and its technology will revolutionise the way we travel. We were identified following a global search they carried out in 2016 and secured the deal ahead of many much larger companies.”
Defence is also a major focus for Supashock in the US market. AUSA features 700 exhibitors, representative companies from more than 80 nations and more than 30,000 attendees over a three-day exhibition and conference.
The Team Defence Australia delegation is led by defence export advocate David Johnston and has a number of senior Australian Defence Force personnel at the Australian Department of Defence stand.
Johnston officially launched Supashock’s expansion into the US at an event on the Team Defence Australia stand. Also in attendance at the opening ceremony were past and present senior Defence officials, including Major General (Ret’d) Simone Wilkie, Head Land Systems Major General Andrew Bottrell, and Head Land Capability and Head Force Integration Major General Kath Toohey.
Rheinmetall representatives included Rheinmetall global head of vehicle systems Ben Hudson. Rheinmetall acquired a share of Supashock in 2017.
Since its founding by Fiorinotto in 2005, Supashock has grown to employ over 50 highly skilled engineers and specialists in motion and vibration control. (Source: Defence Connect)
14 Oct 19. DAGOR A1 platforms in demonstrations, tests for potential customers. Polaris Government and Defense is marketing its DAGOR A1 ultra-light tactical vehicle with added payload capacity, and has platforms out for trials with possible customers.
The A1 variant makes several improvements on the original model, most notably in payload at 4,000 lb (1,814 kg), up from 3,250 lb, Jed Leonard, vice-president at Polaris Government and Defense, told Jane’s at the annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in October.
The DAGOR has been sold to Pentagon customers, Canada, and an unmanned US ally. Canada has purchased the DAGOR A1 variant as well, Leonard said. The company said in 2018 that it was under contract “to provide [Canadian Special Operations Forces Command] CANSOFCOM with the DAGOR A1 with a specialty ULCV package”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Oct 19. BAE Systems Unveils Robotic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle at AUSA. BAE Systems Unveils Robotic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle at AUSA. The RTD prototype showcases advanced capabilities and is adaptable for future weapon systems, sensors and other payloads.
The RTD features autonomous mobility to help keep soldiers out of harm’s way, a Hybrid Electric Drive for fuel efficiency, a 30 mm remote weapons station, a suite of sensors for 360-degree situational awareness and surveillance, composite rubber track system, and a small legged robot for reconnaissance missions among other key new technologies. The demonstrator reflects BAE Systems’ commitment to investing in the future of Army warfighting capabilities and the soldier.
“The Robotic Technology Demonstrator is designed as a ‘rolling lab’ to integrate emerging autonomy and lethality technologies for testing. The electrical infrastructure, advanced optics, and software that have been integrated onto this highly reliable and robust chassis provides the foundation for truly game-changing battlefield capability,” said James Miller, director for business development at BAE Systems Combat Vehicles. “BAE Systems built this demonstrator to help us determine the best way to mitigate risk for our soldiers while increasing their lethality.”
The RTD technologies include sensors with true 360-degree situational awareness to include long-wave infrared imaging, signal processing and video distribution. It also includes a tethered unmanned aerial system to support situational awareness and reconnaissance.
The RTD prototype leverages decades of BAE Systems expertise in the design and development of combat vehicles, as well as advanced electronic systems. BAE Systems is a world leader in tracked and wheeled combat vehicles, including Infantry Fighting Vehicles, self-propelled howitzers, personnel carriers, and amphibious vehicles. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
14 Oct 19. Czech Army procures 4×4 all-terrain vehicles. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared the first step of the renewal of the Czech Army‘s 4×4 vehicle fleet. The CZK1.99bn (USD85m) contract will be for the procurement of at least 600 4×4 all-terrain vehicles for deliveries beginning in 2020. The most important factor of the procurement will be price.
Czech MoD press officer Petr Sýkora told Jane’s on 11 October that the ministry would make a call for bids from automobile manufacturers at the end of October and November. The procurement will allow the phasing out of Land Rover Defender and UAZ-469 vehicles. The Czech Army has operated the UAZ since 1974. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Oct 19. DARPA’s Grand Challenge at 15: how far have autonomous military vehicles come? Fifteen years ago, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conducted its groundbreaking Grand Challenge, which aimed to accelerate the development of autonomous military vehicle technology. Today, the commercial automotive world is fully embracing autonomous technologies originally pioneered during the early 2000s, but can the same be said for the military?
Driving a car 142 miles across the desert from California to Nevada is not a simple task at the best of times. Now, imagine you are not allowed to drive the car and, instead, the vehicle has to think for itself and navigate the entire route autonomously. That was the challenge set by DARPA in 2004 – known as the Grand Challenge – which aimed to bring the best and the brightest of the tech community together to fight it out for a $1m prize.
The only problem: none of the 15 teams and their associated vehicles that entered in 2004 competition could finish the route, with technical and route complexities proving to be far more challenging than originally anticipated. Not to be defeated, DARPA ran a second Grand Challenge in 2005, with 195 teams entering to compete and take home the higher $2m prize.
There was more success this time round, with five teams successfully navigating the course and Stanford University taking home the grand prize. The Grand Challenge pushed the boundaries in terms of what was technically possible in areas such as sensor technology – gathering situational data through radar, LIDAR and electro-optics – as well as complex software algorithms for processing the huge amounts of data collected and determining what course of action to take.
Fast-forward to today and autonomous vehicle technology is now rolling out to consumers, whether it is ‘basic’ self-driving functions such as lane keeping and autonomous emergency braking, or fully autonomous driving as seen on Tesla vehicles using their in-built Autopilot. Industry is also embracing this technology, with sectors such as mining now using robotic dumper trucks without human drivers to increase both safety and efficiencies.
The grand irony
The US Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle programme will consist of both an optionally manned fighting vehicle and a family of autonomous robotic combat vehicles. Credits: US Army
The irony of the Grand Challenge, however, is that despite the competition predominantly focusing on how autonomous technologies could be used for military applications, armed forces around the world have ultimately been slow to adopt self-driving vehicles for combat operations.
Even the US DoD, with its huge research and development budget, has still not fully rolled out self-driving vehicles and continues to work on several projects in areas such as autonomous convoy missions, and robotic combat vehicles that work alongside manned assets in armoured formations.
The US Army has been pursuing autonomous trucks for resupply missions for around a decade, the deadly lessons learnt from Iraq and Afghanistan being major drivers for this type of application. Now, the service wants to accelerate their introduction and has outlined plans – known as Expedient Leader-Follower (ExLF) – to get them into the hands of soldiers quicker for experimentation. This will begin with operational deployments of robotic trucks to two units next year as part of plans to properly develop tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).
Army sources have previously told us that the vehicles will still possess only basic autonomous functions, mainly being able to follow a lead vehicle driven by a human operator. Over time, through software-based updates, the army hopes to introduce more modes and functionality, including behavioural aspects where the vehicles can think for themselves and react to certain scenarios on the battlefield, including obstacles and attacks on the convoy.
A far more challenging nut that the US Army is trying to crack is introducing autonomous vehicles into frontline combat formations to fight alongside manned vehicles, also known as manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T). This has become common in the aerial domain, with drones increasingly being utilised alongside piloted aircraft to increase safety for human crews. Encrypted data links ensure that pilots can view a drone’s video feed, giving greater situational awareness without risking flying over enemy territory, and drones can also carry out attack missions if required.
Teaming up with robots
Two autonomous M113 armoured personnel carriers will go through user operational testing this year. Image: US Army
Ground forces are keen to emulate this by using autonomous robotic vehicles in combat. As part of its Next Generation Combat Vehicle programme, the US Army not only wants an optionally-manned fighting vehicle to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle – which itself can function as an autonomous vehicle when required – but also a family of robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) that integrate into formations to support all warfighting operations that manned vehicles take part in. These RCVs will consist of light, medium and heavy variants.
This concept remains in its experimentation phase, with autonomous technologies developed for programmes such as ExLF likely to cross over. The army will begin operational user testing of two M113 armoured personnel carriers, converted to armed robotic platforms, later this year to better inform future requirements. These surrogate platforms are likely to be joined by robots supplied by industry in the coming years, with the platforms helping troops develop TTPs for frontline operations.
Six different robotic platforms were trialled in May as part of RCV’s phase II demonstration and assessment event, with a contract expected later this year according to army sources.
A host of challenges remain, not least when it comes to introducing weapon systems onto autonomous and robotic platforms. The Pentagon’s policy is that a human remains “in the loop” at all times when weapon systems are fired.
Much like DARPA’s Grand Challenge 15 years ago, how a vehicle autonomously navigates towards an objective and the speed at which it does so, remains a significant challenge. Armoured combat vehicles with well-trained crews can travel cross-country at blistering speeds and self-driving vehicles can only be relevant in combat scenarios if they can keep up and fight with humans at the objective. Initial iterations of these vehicles will likely be remote-controlled – similar to how Predator drones still have a human crew – rather than being fully autonomous.
This throws up yet even more technical challenges, not least when it comes to command links and ensuring that they are properly encrypted to ensure that enemy forces do not jam, or even hijack, robotic vehicles. The increasing congestion of the electromagnetic spectrum as more unmanned systems are introduced is also a hurdle to overcome, as armed forces have to ensure that the spectrum is managed correctly to avoid system outages.
These challenges mean that the introduction of a robotic combat vehicle that can fight alongside tanks in combat could still be some way off. Instead, the military’s adoption of robotic vehicles will likely mirror the commercial world, with new-generation armoured vehicles incorporating more computing power, sensing technologies and drive-by-wire functionality to automate processes such as convoy operations.
So while there has been considerable progress from DARPA’s original Grand Challenge, particularly as self-driving cars become part of everyday life, there is still a significant amount of work to be done before self-driving armoured vehicles become part of everyday military life. (Source: army-technology.com)
14 Oct 19. Textron Rolls Out Ripsaw Robot For RCV-Light And RCV-Medium. The Ripsaw design is so flexible, the company claims, it can scale up and down for different missions.
Textron’s Howe & Howe division unveiled the latest unmanned version of its Ripsaw mini-tank here today, a rugged bot with a 6,000-pound payload competing for the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle – Medium that will enter experimental field tests in 2021. A lighter version of the same robot, with many of the same components, will be Textron’s entry for the RCV-Light, small enough to sling-load under a helicopter and carrying a 1,000 pound payload. (RCV-Heavy, at 20-plus tons, would be too much of a stretch).
That’s the kind of versatility, commonality, and customization that the Army is very interested in for its future family of combat robots. After seeing Textron and other companies show off their bots at Texas A&M and elsewhere this year, the head of armored vehicle modernization, Brig. Gen. Richard Ross Coffman, is sufficiently impressed that he might accelerate his testing timetable by two years, he told me in a recent interview.
Now, there’s a crucial caveat: These are not Terminators. For the near term, all the robots under consideration are not truly autonomous but rather remote-controlled, much like the Predator drone, with one human driving while another operates the sensors and any weapons that might be installed. Even as artificial intelligence improves, allowing one human to oversee multiple robots at once, the Pentagon has a policy requiring human control of lethal force: So, for example, there’s an Army program called ATLAS to teach an AI to detect targets, classify them, and aim a gun at them, but it requires a person to authorize opening fire.
Brother entrepreneurs Mike and Jeff Howe were leery of revealing too much about their Ripsaw M5’s level of autonomy, but they confirmed it did not require constant remote control: Reading between the lines a bit, it can follow another vehicle or navigate from one pre-planned waypoint to another. It can also plug in a wide variety of different sensors and weapons, or fit combat engineering kit like a heavy-duty mine roller, or even carry a smaller robot and dispatch it to scout out buildings and other narrow places where the mothership can’t fit.
The Army seeks a next-generation armed scout helicopter with increased speed, range, survivability and even autonomy – not just a conventional helicopter. The American Soldier is evolving from low-tech grunt to high-tech warrior. For decades, the infantry have gotten the least investment in new equipment. Now that’s changing. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
14 Oct 19. Flyer Defense Attended 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.. Flyer Defense participated in the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting, the 12th consecutive year the company will attend the event. This year, attendees will have the opportunity to see two Flyer Defense vehicles. The Flyer® GMV 1.1 variant will be on display at General Dynamics Missions Systems, Booth 1007 while The Flyer® 72 armored variant will be on display at Kongsberg, Booth 849. The Flyer® family of vehicle platforms is the elite solution in the area of lightweight, all terrain wheeled tactical vehicles. With an impressive payload of more than 5,000 lbs. and a 1:1 payload-to-weight ratio, Flyer Defense vehicles are transportable both internally and externally with rotary and tilt wing aircraft. The Flyer® 72 is currently in production as the USSOCOM GMV 1.1 solution and the U.S. Army A-GMV solution, in partnership with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. Flyer Defense is also in competition for the Infantry Squad Vehicle program, in partnership with Oshkosh Defense.
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.