27 Jun 06. “How fast does this beast go?” asked the Editor looking at the sleek new WeeViL launched by DVD newcomer Development Engineering and Enterprise Limited (DEE) at DVD. “0-60 in 3 seconds!” was the answer from Neil McAdam of DEE.“ Enough said, the next report from DEE will be our brown trouser drive, which PR Consultant Adrian Graves promised to be exciting, to say the least!
Developed from a proven, high performance off-road racecar, the WeeViL has been designed to fulfil a potential niche operational requirement for extreme rapid intervention, assault and reconnaissance applications, particularly for Special Forces. Importantly, the vehicle has been re-engined to incorporate a diesel power plant – and thus fulfil military preference for a single battlefield fuel. Some development machines will use a petrol-engine and CVT or manual transmission powertrain, a configuration which will be retained subsequently, but only as an option for some world markets.
The structural envelope of the vehicle is based on an intrinsically strong tubular racecar roll cage design, adapted to accommodate a wide range of operational, tactical or offensive equipment. The base configuration has been developed around a two-seat, side-by-side layout, with variants to include a single seater, platforms, stowage or a rear facing third seat.
DEE Founder and Managing Director, Neil McAdam, says, “Today’s military environment is different. It has changed – whether defensive, offensive, invasive – or peacekeeping. Current theatre operational requirements demand light, air-portable rapid intervention capability which is highly mobile and can be deployed – and indeed withdrawn, with equal speed.
“Given current procurement practice – which looks far more to the commercial sector to provide tactical and operational solutions, we have applied our considerable knowledge and experience of the specialist vehicle development business to try to think ‘outside the box’. We believe that this will provide forces on the ground with a range of options which can meet their needs in the future”, says Neil McAdam.
The powertrain of the new diesel engined WeeViL uses a 0.8 litre, turbo-charged and intercooled, common rail, direct-injection 3-cylinder unit, driving through a fully variable hydrostatic transmission system. The power unit develops 41 brake horsepower and a maximum torque of 100Nm at 2200 rpm. Final drive is delivered direct to the rear wheels via independent shafts. The vehicle can be readily configured to 4WD by an additional hydrostatic drive unit at the front wheels.
The running gear is derived directly from the racecar design – and includes coil spring and wishbone fully independent suspension, permitting a high degree of suspension travel. The chassis frame of the vehicle is also designed to accommodate ancillary equipment, such as winches – and the unit is also capable of towing a trailer or wheeled load of up to 800 kgs gross weight.
The base vehicle is designed to carry 40 litres of fuel and its compact overall size and unladen weight of around 500kgs, makes the WeeViL fully air-portable within most transport aircraft or underslung below a range of operational rotorcraft.
In addition to the WeeViL, DEE is working on an advanced portable diesel generator system. It is also currently developing a concept All-terraiN Transporter, code-named ANT, which will be designed for 1 – 2 tonne payload applications, whilst meeting current and future mobility and air-portability requirements.
“With the ANT programme, we made the clear-cut decision to start with a clean sheet. Whilst we have done a lot of the groundwork, the project is still in its early stages. Our design thesis is based on our experience that there is probably a natural point where the continuous or repeated upgrading of an existing platform becomes no longer viable. Our approach gives us both an advantage and the opportunity to design-in