28 Feb 02. The Sika Team, consisting of Lockheed Martin and BAE SYSTEMS unveiled its impressive demonstration vehicle during AUSA, based on the TRACER/FSCS requirement. The LANCER team had already unveiled its chassis last week, (See below and Military Vehicles Web site page www.battle-technology.com).
The Sika team, unlike the Lancer Team decided to power the unit with a German MTU 500hp diesel unit and not include the hybrid electric drive as offered by the Lancer team. “We went for an enhanced system technology requirement in our bid, making sure that the technology offered was the most advanced available today to ensure that any TRACER/FSCS system would migrate easily into any FCS or FRes requirement,” a Sika spokesman told BATTLESPACE at AUSA.
The turret uses the 40mm CTA system with enhanced sighting and night vision systems in support. The low-profile, C-130 portable, armoured chassis uses rubber Band track and a suspension system which enables the vehicle to ‘crouch’ in open country when on silent watch.
The C4I system engineered by BAE SYSTEMS is Windows based running an open architecture COTS technologies and Ethernet system enabling extensive software upgrades when required. In the center (as with the Lancer solution) there is a 3.5m elevating mast housing the 2nd generation FLIR (Comanche based) along with a downsized Longbow-derived radar with improved reliability/quality enhancements. The Lancer solution, the Long range Advanced Scout Surveillance System is provided by Raytheon in the USA.
One new development, demonstrated to BATTLESPACE during AUSA, was the combination of the Solragizer, solar-powered, battery-charger system already ordered by the US DoD and UK MoD coupled to the new Hawker ARMASAFE battery demonstrated by the companies at AUSA. One of the problems of the TRACER/FSCS solution was the ‘silent watch’ requirement which proved very difficult to overcome given the period, max 48 hours and the power consumption of the advanced systems. The Solargizer system allows continuous charging of the battery systems by solar power, whilst the ARMASAFE battery increases battery life by 40 months and cycle life by 50% against existing systems.
The SIKA system design represents multiple iterations of the most up to date engineering tool sets for trade analysis and design such as Pro-Ed, RDD-100, Virtual Prototyping Rigs and Systems Integration laboratories. The LANCER solution is provided by an advanced operating environment system developed by Raytheon.
The Sika system will be undergoing trials in the USA at Fort Carson, Colorado in June, whilst the Lancer system will start trials at Larkhill in the UK in April. The Sika system is being assembled in the USA whilst LANCER is being integrated at the BAE SYSTEMS in Leicester with support from partners UDLP and Raytheon Systems Limited and Raytheon in the USA.
Both systems have a 3-man crew with driver-equipped advanced driving systems and HUD.
Both teams see the potential of merging the TRACER/FSCS technology into Fres and FCS. Not least of all being the capitalising the huge $140m investment made in the system by the US and UK Governments and the partners.
Although both teams admit that there is no money for FRes in the UK, there is an urgent need for a system to be in place by 2007 to replace the ageing 30-year old CVR(T) fleet. Although there are extensive studies being undertaken by a number of companies following a UK RFP issue in November it would appear that both teams have a head start on any solution proposed by other bidders such as QinetiQ. Both teams have expended a huge amount of man hours developing a system which can be easily extended into a family of vehicles to meet the FRes and part of the FCS requirement.
Whilst it has always been a specialty of the UK to invite new bids for a system which potentially already exists, (an example being MRAV where Piranha already existed); would not