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Supacat Launches Latest HMT Extenda Variant at DSEi

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

29 August 2019, Supacat, the UK headquartered Special Forces vehicle developer, is showing the most advanced version of its world leading special forces vehicle, the HMT Extenda Mk2, for the first time at DSEi 2019.  This latest variant offers a step change in capability and payload capacity with an enhanced suspension system enabling gross vehicle weight to increase to 12,000kg from 10,500kg, and increase crew seating to six from four.  

The Extenda is a variant of Supacat’s successful HMT (High Mobility Transporter) platform, which is operated by Special Forces around the world.  The Norwegian Armed Forces are the first customer for the upgraded HMT Extenda Mk2.

Supacat has undertaken a rigorous and extensive programme of trials to Verify and Validate the performance of the system.  As well as reliability and durability trialling at the Supacat test facility, the vehicle has successfully completed a 12,500km tour of Australia in order to confirm reliability and performance over long distances.

“The innovations to the HMT platform on the latest Extenda deliver increased capability and superior payload and performance.  Our user feedback indicates that the vehicle has exceeded expectations, allowing them to do things they’d previously thought not possible”, said Phil Applegarth, Head of Supacat. 

The chassis is now STANAG compliant for recovery purposes and a 6.7 litre Cummins diesel engine comes as standard.   The blast and ballistic protection option can now be integrated at the factory build stage.

In line with Supacat’s modular design philosophy the latest Extenda provides for a range of configuration options from the factory in addition to the flexibility to re-role the base platform throughout the lifetime of the vehicle with a variety of mission modules and protection levels to meet changing demands.  HMT Extenda has the unique capability of being operated as a 4×4 or 6×6 wheel drive vehicle thanks to a removable 3rd axle.

Coming Soon From HPG Mobility

Monday, August 12th, 2019

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hillpeoplegear.com/mobility

The Corps’ JLTV Achieves Initial Operational Capability

Monday, August 12th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Marine Corps’ Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is officially ready to deploy and support missions of the naval expeditionary force-in-readiness worldwide.

Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Combat Development and Integration declared the JLTV program—part of the Light Tactical Vehicle portfolio at Program Executive Officer Land Systems—reached initial operational capability, or IOC, on Aug. 2, nearly a year ahead of schedule.

Photo by Cpl Juan Bustos

“Congratulations to the combined JLTV Team for acting with a sense of urgency and reaching IOC early,” said Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts. “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, a program led by the Army, will fully replace the Corps’ aging High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle fleet. The JLTV family of vehicles comes in different variants with multiple mission package configurations, all providing protected, sustained, networked mobility that balances payload, performance and protection across the full range of military operations.

Photo by Cpl Matthew Kirk

“The warfighting capabilities the JLTV provides our Marines far exceed the capabilities offered by its predecessor,” said PEO Land Systems John Garner. “I’m proud of what our team, in collaboration with the Army, has accomplished. Their commitment to supporting the warfighter delivered an exceptional vehicle, ahead of schedule, that Marines will use to dominate on the battlefield now and well into the future.”

Several elements need to be met before a program can declare IOC of a system, which encompasses more than delivery of the system itself. The program office also had to ensure all the operators were fully trained and maintenance tools and spare parts packages were ready.

“IOC is more than just saying that the schoolhouses and an infantry battalion all have their trucks,” said Eugene Morin, product manager for JLTV at PEO Land Systems. “All of the tools and parts required to support the system need to be in place, the units must have had received sufficient training and each unit commander needs to declare that he is combat-ready.”

For the JLTV, this means the program office had to fully field battle-ready vehicles to the Marine Corps schoolhouses—School of Infantry East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; School of Infantry West at Camp Pendleton, California; The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia; and the Motor Transport Maintenance Instruction Course at Camp Johnson, North Carolina—and to an infantry battalion at II Marine Expeditionary Force. The program office started delivering vehicles to the schoolhouses earlier this year and started delivering vehicles to the infantry battalion last month.

Photo by Sgt Timothy R. Smithers

On Aug. 2, Lt. Col. Neil Berry, the commanding officer for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, notified Morin and his team of the unit’s combat readiness with the JLTV. On Aug. 5, The Director, Ground Combat Element Division at CD&I notified PM LTV of its IOC achievement. The JLTV is scheduled to start fielding to I MEF and III MEF before the end of September.

According to LTV Program Manager Andrew Rodgers, during the post-acquisition Milestone C rebaseline of the JLTV schedule in January 2016, IOC was projected to occur by June 2020.  

Rodgers says that detailed program scheduling, planning and, most importantly, teamwork with stakeholders across the enterprise enabled the program office to deliver the vehicles and reach IOC ahead of schedule.

“It was definitely a team effort, and we built up a really great team,” said Rodgers. “In terms of leadership, our product managers’—both Gene Morin and his predecessor, Dave Bias—detailed focus and ability to track cost, schedule and performance was key. Neal Justis, our deputy program manager, has significant prior military experience working for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, so having him on board knowing how to work the Pentagon network was a huge force multiplier.”

Rodgers is quick to note that, although the team has reached IOC, this is really only the beginning of the JLTV’s future legacy.

“We are really at the starting line right now. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will see JLTVs in the DOD,” said Rodgers. “We’ll easily still have these assets somewhere in the DOD in the year 2100. Welcome to the start of many generations of JLTVs.”

By Ashley Calingo, PEO Land Systems Public Affairs | Marine Corps Systems Command

SAIC and Polaris Team On Army Infantry Squad Vehicle

Friday, August 9th, 2019

RESTON, Va., August 8, 2019 — Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) and Polaris Government and Defense, a division of Polaris Inc., (NYSE: PII) announced today they are teaming up for the U.S. Army’s Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) vehicle program. SAIC, a leading technology integrator, joined with Polaris, the industry leader in ultralight mobility platforms, to offer the proven DAGOR vehicle. DAGOR provides the warfighter superior operational capability, crew area, mobility and maneuverability in a tactical environment.

“SAIC has a long history of performing vehicle engineering and platform integration work, and the Army has a need for small-unit mobility and maneuverability that can be easily met with the proven DAGOR vehicle that has been deployed around the world,” said Jim Scanlon, executive vice president and general manager of SAIC’s Defense Systems Group. “Working with Polaris, SAIC will provide comprehensive systems engineering and integration using state-of-the-art tools and processes that leverage domain understanding gained through extensive field support and advanced experimentation in support of the Army to give the ISV a technological edge on the battlefields of tomorrow.”

“The DAGOR was designed to meet a squad’s payload and off-road mobility demands, while meeting weight and size restrictions that maximize air transportability,” said Jed Leonard, vice president, Polaris Government and Defense. “The lightweight and highly mobile platform supports the Army’s expeditionary missions providing a key capability needed on the ever-changing battlefield.”

The SAIC-Polaris team has delivered a baseline vehicle sample to soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division for soldier assessment. The DAGOR vehicle can carry up to nine soldiers with their equipment and supplies. It provides the speed, mobility and communications support Army small units require to obtain and maintain situational awareness of the battlefield.

SAIC’s expertise in C4ISR integration onto ground vehicles could provide additional capabilities such as cybersecurity, enhanced surveillance, secure communications, and non-kinetic fires. The DAGOR ISV will leverage and further enhance the already proven, production-ready solution that has been tested, certified, and fielded to operational units in the U.S. Military and its Allies since 2015.

202 MPH $205,000 APR RS7 The World’s Fastest Armored Car?

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Pete Blaber led company uses advanced polycarbonate composites and ballistic glass and “world class” security features to creat a B-4 level safe room.

AddArmor, known as much for the pedigree of its leadership as for designing what they call sophisticated mobile safe rooms, recently announced its latest creation: the “world’s fastest armored car.” It’s an Audi RS7 built with a polycarbonate weave they say is 10x stronger than ballistic steel.

The new 202 mph APR-tuned RS7 was designed and built to showcase new developments in lightweight combat-proven polycarbonate armor paneling. Armored vehicles have long been associated with lumbering, heavy duty trucks. This was apparently the impetus that pushed AddArmor design. As they describe it, they decided to showcase a truly modernized armored car that could put lie to such impressions – and by doing so to highlight just how far modern armor technology has evolved. The result is a car they claim can perform at speeds of more than 200mph sporting an armor material weighing 60% less than ballistic steel.

AddArmor President Jeff Engen explains.

“With the new AddArmor APR RS7, we wanted to demonstrate how today’s armoring technology allows drivers to pick from a wide range of cars not normally associated with armored vehicles. The total armoring weight of the AddArmor APR RS7 is no more than 200 pounds. That small amount of weight allows for exotic sports cars and even electric vehicles to be nicely armored without compromising their performance or range. The key difference is AddArmor uses a polycarbonate composite instead of heavy steel plating. The weave offers a much stronger, lighter package that simultaneously allows the car to be much faster.”

Speed and maneuverability is frequently a critical element of safety, so AddArmor worked to ensure the vehicle’s “lightweight comprehensive 360-degree protection” would function without compromising acceleration or braking. They combined this ballistic protection with horsepower. As a result, the RS7’s 4.0L twin-turbo engine is complemented an APR Stage II system. AddArmor advises us this “special performance package” will produce 760 horsepower/800 lb-ft of torque with a manufacturer-clocked 0 – 60 mph time of 2.9 seconds.

AddArmor upfitted European B4-level armoring to the RS7; this package combines front-seat 360-degree polycarbonate body panels and ballistic glass to limit weight and protect the primary the occupants. Their ballistic glass is comprised of a multi-layer mixture of polycarbonate and ballistic glass, providing a transparent layer of armor that can withstand prolonged attacks from blunt objects like bricks and bats. Ballistically, the B4 armor can stop a .44 Magnum round, allowing drivers and passengers to evade attack – more important to EP/PSD work than overlanding, but nice to have nonetheless!

Vehicle armor is ballistically rated, much as individual body armor is categorized in II, III, and similar levels by the NIJ. The actual terminology used my vary, for instance from the US State Department Armored Vehicle Program to others from half a dozen or more different countries.

As described by the AddArmor release, the APR RS7 features “Delta Force-tested security throughout.”

The description continues:

Hidden security countermeasures include a sonic sound cannon with a PA system and siren capable of 120 dB. Other security items include electric-shock door handles equivalent to a high-powered taser gun and pepper spray dispensers. For ramming, AddArmor installed a front barrier bumper that protects the car’s radiator while also allowing the automobile to comfortably drive through most ambush situations. The AddArmor APR RS7 also includes a specially developed rear blinding light system that uses aircraft landing technology to temporarily blind assailants. The new vehicle also features a custom smokescreen system. For added security, the AddArmor APR RS7 includes biometric gun racks hidden in the trunk that can accommodate assault rifles and handguns.

Another unique security measure included on the AddArmor APR RS7 is a special Global 911 concierge service. This satellite-activated 24/7 system monitors the vehicle’s occupants via their cell phones and an array of beacons. Any sign of trouble automatically sets off a siren in a command center staffed by highly trained security staff with military and first-responder backgrounds. The Global 911 concierge service assesses all security situations as they arise and dispatches solutions in the case of any emergency. These systems allow AddArmor to protect their clients anywhere around the globe.

For added security, the new AddArmor APR RS7 includes a multitude of other on-board tactical electronics. An overseas-compliant drone-denial frequency-jamming satellite communications system has been installed alongside active mine/explosion detection, as well as a state-of-the-art 360-degree night-vision camera system. In the case of any airborne attacks, the AddArmor APR RS7 has an overpressure gas detection unit with onboard gas masks and air tanks to supply filtered fresh breathing air.

The RS7 runs on high-performance 275/30ZR21 Pirelli P Zero Run Flat tires capable of driving 30 miles after sustaining multiple high-powered rifle shots.

The AddArmor APR RS7 demonstrates how AddArmor provides custom protection packages to meet clients’ needs for either new or existing vehicles. Security packages for executive, work, personal, and family vehicles are available starting at $28,000. The new AddArmor APR RS7 is available for $205,000.

AddArmor (which offers training as well) can be found online at AddArmor.com.

DR can be contacted on IG via @reederwrites.

US Army Experiments With Robotic Combat Vehicles

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Soldiers to operate armed robotic vehicles from upgraded Bradleys

AUSTIN, Texas — Soldiers are slated to fire at targets next year using a platoon of robotic combat vehicles they will control from the back of modified Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

The monthlong operational test is scheduled to begin in March at Fort Carson, Colorado, and will provide input to the Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center on where to go next with autonomous vehicles.

The upgraded Bradleys, called Mission Enabler Technologies-Demonstrators, or MET-Ds, have cutting-edge features such as a remote turret for the 25 mm main gun, 360-degree situational awareness cameras and enhanced crew stations with touchscreens.

Initial testing will include two MET-Ds and four robotic combat vehicles on M113 surrogate platforms. Each MET-D will have a driver and gunner as well as four Soldiers in its rear, who will conduct platoon-level maneuvers with two surrogate vehicles that fire 7.62 mm machine guns.

“We’ve never had Soldiers operate MET-Ds before,” said David Centeno Jr., chief of the center’s Emerging Capabilities Office. “We’re asking them to utilize the vehicles in a way that’s never been done before.”

After the tests, the center and Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, both part of Army Futures Command, will then use Soldier feedback to improve the vehicles for future test phases.

“You learn a lot,” Centeno said at the International Armored Vehicles USA conference on June 26. “You learn how they use it. They may end up using it in ways we never even thought of.”

The vehicles are experimental prototypes and are not meant to be fielded, but could influence other programs of record by demonstrating technology derived from ongoing development efforts.

“This technology is not only to remain in the RCV portfolio, but also legacy efforts as well,” said Maj. Cory Wallace, robotic combat vehicle lead for the NGCV CFT.

One goal for the autonomous vehicles is to discover how to penetrate an adversary’s anti-access/aerial denial capabilities without putting Soldiers in danger.

The vehicles, Centeno said, will eventually have third-generation forward-looking infrared kits with a target range of at least 14 kilometers.

“You’re exposing forces to enemy fire, whether that be artillery, direct fire,” he said. “So, we have to find ways to penetrate that bubble, attrit their systems and allow for freedom of air and ground maneuver. These platforms buy us some of that, by giving us standoff.”

PHASE II, III

In late fiscal year 2021, Soldiers will again play a role in Phase II testing as the vehicles conduct company-level maneuvers.

This time, experiments are slated to incorporate six MET-Ds and the same four M113 surrogates, in addition to four light and four medium surrogate robotic combat vehicles, which industry will provide.

Before these tests, a light infantry unit plans to experiment with the RCV light surrogate vehicles in Eastern Europe next May.

“The intent of this is to see how an RCV light integrates into a light infantry formation and performs reconnaissance and security tasks as well as supports dismounted infantry operations,” Wallace said at the conference.

Soldier testing for Phase III is slated to take place mid-fiscal 2023 with the same number of MET-Ds and M113 surrogate vehicles, but will instead have four medium and four heavy purpose-built RCVs.

“This is the first demonstration which we will be out of the surrogate realm and fielding purpose builts,” Wallace said, adding the vehicles will conduct a combined arms breach.

The major said he was impressed with how quickly Soldiers learned to control the RCVs during the Robotic Combined Arms Breach Demonstration in May at the Yakima Training Center in Washington.

“Soldiers have demonstrated an intuitive ability to master controlling RCVs much faster than what we thought,” he said. “The feedback from the Soldiers was that after two days they felt comfortable operating the system.”

There are still ongoing efforts to offload some tasks in operating RVCs to artificial intelligence in order to reduce the cognitive burden on Soldiers.

“This is not how we’re used to fighting,” Centeno said. “We’re asking a lot. We’re putting a lot of sensors, putting a lot of data in the hands of Soldiers. We want to see how that impacts them. We want to see how it degrades or increases their performance.”

The family of RCVs include three variants. Army officials envision the light version to be transportable by rotary wing. The medium variant would be able to fit onto a C-130 aircraft, and the heavy variant would fit onto a C-17 aircraft.

Both future and legacy armored platforms, such as the forthcoming Mobile Protected Firepower “light tank,” could influence the development of the RCV heavy.

With no human operators inside it, the heavy RCV can provide the lethality associated with armored combat vehicles in a much smaller form. Plainly speaking, without a crew, the RCV heavy requires less armor and can dedicate space and power to support modular mission payloads or hybrid electric drive batteries, Wallace said.

Ultimately, the autonomous vehicles will aim to keep Soldiers safe.

“An RCV reduces risk,” Wallace said. “It does so by expanding the geometry of the battlefield so that before the threat makes contact with the first human element, it has to make contact with the robots.

“That, in turn, gives commanders additional space and time to make decisions.”

By Sean Kimmons, Army News Service

Warrior EAST 19 – Silent Tactical Energy Enhanced Dismount by Hendrick Motorsports

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

The Silent Tactical Energy Enhanced Dismount or STEED, by Hendrick Motorsports is an all terrain, electric power card. It has zero emissions and can carry up to 500 lbs over complex terrain. STEED will even climb stairs and can be used in water.

This is not a robot. It is simple to use. STEED is a two wheeled cart and not gyro stabilized, requiring at least one person to balance and operate the STEED. It features forward and reverse along with a thumb pedal to control speeds from 0-6.5 mph. The two wheels make it easy to maneuver into tight spaces.

STEED began as a USSOCOM mobility project but was temporarily shelved due to other, pressing requirements. It was picked up by Asymmetric Warfare Group for use by squads to transport Subterranean operations equipment. STEED has successfully completed a Combat Validation with SOFWERX.

STEED is also a participating technology in the 2019 Advanced Expeditionary Warrior Experiments.

Although it is envisioned for use in subterranean operations, it handles the transit across rough terrain quite well and would greatly enhance the capability of a squad to move bulky equipment such as weapons along with bulk fuel, food, water, and ammunition as well as casualties.

For more information, contact RFlanagan@hmsracing.com or Christiana Caudill, SWX Communications/Public Relations christina.caudill@sofwerx.org

Forging Ahead: Rheinmetall Spearheads Ongoing Consolidation in the Military Vehicle Sector

Monday, July 1st, 2019

The high-tech Rheinmetall Group continues to pursue a strategy of industrial consolidation. Now that the competition authorities have given the project the go-ahead, a military vehicle joint venture between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems in the United Kingdom is poised for final implementation.

Moreover, a buyback of shares held by MAN Truck & Bus SE in the joint venture company Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV) is set to further strengthen Rheinmetall in the wheeled armoured vehicles realm, one of the Group’s mainstays.

The planned partial buyback of stock held by MAN Truck & Bus SE in the joint venture Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV) increases the share of the present Tactical Vehicles business unit to 100%. The two partners will continue to cooperate in the field of military trucks through their joint venture Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles, in which Rheinmetall holds a 51% stake. The joint venture recently won major orders from Australia and the German Bundeswehr.

As co-owners of RMMV, Rheinmetall and MAN agree that the tactical wheeled vehicle business will grow more robustly under exclusive Rheinmetall management, i.e. outside the RMMV framework.

The Tactical Vehicles business unit is synonymous with products such as the Boxer and Fuchs/Fox wheeled armoured vehicles and the Survivor R tactical law enforcement vehicle. Rheinmetall was recently selected to supply Her Majesty’s Armed Forces with a large number of 8×8 Boxer armoured vehicles. Last year in Australia, Rheinmetall won a roughly €2.1 billion order for the Boxer, one of the largest single contracts in the Group’s history.

The share buyback is due to take place during the second half of 2019, taking retroactive legal effect on 1 January 2019.

Joint Venture with BAE Systems in Great Britain

In January 2019 Rheinmetall and BAE Systems announced that they would be setting up a UK-based joint venture to facilitate cooperation in the land systems field. Rheinmetall thus welcomes the recently published announcement of the British procurement authority CMA approving the creation of a military vehicle joint venture between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems. The formal foundation of the joint venture, to be known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land, is expected to take place shortly. The company will be located in Telford, England.

The new wheeled armoured Mechanised Infantry Vehicle for the British Army, and the pending modernization of the UK’s fleet of Challenger 2 main battle tanks, are two important projects which the new company will be vying for.

Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems division

The Vehicle Systems division of Rheinmetall AG was formed on 1 January 2016. With annual sales last year of €1.6 billion, it is one of the world’s foremost suppliers of military vehicles. The division is the Düsseldorf-based Group’s centre of excellence for military vehicles ranging from unprotected and protected trucks to heavy armoured fighting vehicles. Serving markets around the globe, the Vehicle Systems division is responsible for Rheinmetall’s complete spectrum of military trucks, including the TG and HX logistic vehicles; tracked and wheeled tactical vehicles like the Fuchs/Fox, Boxer*, Puma* and Lynx; and turret solutions for armoured fighting vehicles – all from a single source.

* jointly produced with other contractors