Archive for the ‘Mobility’ Category

Textron Systems Unveils Its Cottonmouth Purpose-Built Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

HUNT VALLEY, MD. – Textron Systems Corporation, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced the unveiling of Cottonmouth, a vehicle purpose-built for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) program. Cottonmouth is a next-generation Naval Sensor Node as an amphibious scout vehicle that offers cutting-edge sensor technology.

Leveraging Textron Systems’ history and range of specialty military vehicle experience, Cottonmouth delivers advanced maneuverability and a synergized sensor system to enhance reconnaissance operations.

Cottonmouth has a 6×6 compact build that allows four vehicles to fit on a single Ship to Shore Connector, or SSC, enhancing the Marine Corps’ ability to support Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations. Textron Systems’ vehicle is equipped with multi-spectrum sensors, providing seamless communication between the Navy and Marine Corps to employ unmanned systems and joint-warfighting weapons systems. This provides the next-generation decision dominance needed to defeat threats beyond line of sight. Among the integrated sensors is teammate Elbit Systems of America’s IronVision™, which uses “see-through” technology to provide the vehicle with advanced visibility and 360 deg situational awareness.

“We listened to the customer and have invested in developing and producing Cottonmouth as a purpose-built vehicle to give the U.S. Marine Corps the amphibious mobility they need for quarterbacking the future fight,” said Senior Vice President David Phil lips of Textron Systems.

“Along with Textron Systems’ extensive experience designing, producing, fielding and supporting high-performance armored vehicles, our Cottonmouth offers the Marine Corps a low-risk, mission-oriented solution. It is representative of a revolutionary, not evolutionary, system” Textron Systems’ Cottonmouth began USMC requirements validation testing at the National Automotive Test Center in February 2021. This testing continues in Q2 with a validation of the amphibious capabilities.

L3Harris Technologies and American Rheinmetall Vehicles Team to Pursue US Army’s New Fighting Vehicle

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

L3Harris Technologies and German integrated technology group Rheinmetall’s subsidiary American Rheinmetall Vehicles have signed a teaming agreement to jointly develop the U.S. Army’s new Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), which will replace the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

The agreement combines L3Harris’ open system design and equipment manufacturing leadership with the maturity and modularity of American Rheinmetall Vehicles’ Lynx next-generation fighting vehicle for an OMFV offering that is low-risk and easily upgradable.

American Rheinmetall Vehicles, the prime contractor, selected L3Harris to provide vehicle mission systems, cybersecurity and its modular open systems approach (MOSA) for the Lynx. L3Harris’ MOSA can enable cross-platform and cross-domain commonality of parts and subsystems to allow for easy and affordable upgrades.

“We have a long history providing similar support to multiple platforms using our MOSA approach for mission systems and electronic warfare,” said James Gear, Vice President, L3Harris Domestic Business Development. “We look forward to working with American Rheinmetall Vehicles to further expand into the ground defense vehicle market.”

“We are excited to have L3Harris join our growing team to support the U.S. Army’s OMFV program,” said Mathew Warnick, Managing Director for American Rheinmetall Vehicles. “Their experience in open architecture, communications, and cybersecurity bring tremendous capability to the American Rheinmetall Vehicles team as we prepare our digitally engineered OMFV to provide our Soldiers overmatch now and for the future.”

The design approach is grounded in the reuse of technologies and lessons from the family of L3Harris programs and engagements around the Army’s modular open aviation and ground endeavors.

Leader–Follower Vehicles to Offer Army Increased Operational Capability

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich — Modernization is the buzz word floating around the Army currently and with good reason. To keep ahead of our near-peer adversaries, we must develop better technologies faster to dominate the battle space.

“We’ve done a good job at keeping up with developing current technologies,” said Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, Commanding General U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command. “However, we need to get it to the Soldiers in the field for it to matter.”

Werner, along with other officers and civilian leaders attended a Leader–Follower demonstration on Apr. 5 at the Detroit Arsenal. The event was led by the Ground Vehicle Systems Center on the arsenal to highlight the effectiveness of semi-autonomous robotic Tactical Wheeled Vehicles.

Bernard Theisen, Division Chief Combat Support Robotics and Safety for GVSC, briefed the capabilities of the Leader-Follower vehicles and stated that they had some similar on-road capabilities to some current high end luxury vehicles and other off-road capabilities unique to the military.

“The vehicles have the capability to be driven independently, remotely, or in this instance, made to follow a lead vehicle,” said Theisen.

The Leader–Follower vehicles offers field commanders better options when operating in a combat zone by providing manned and unmanned capabilities.

According to Alfred Grein, Acting Director GVSC, by installing robotic kits to vehicles, a lead “manned” vehicle can lead a convoy of one or more follower “unmanned” vehicles accurately and safely.

Outside of Leader–Follower option, the Program Executive Officer Combat Support and Combat Service Support is looking at fielding the technology as GVSC continues developing further ways to leverage and improve the capabilities at a later time.

“Now that the hardware is in place, we can look at ways to enhance the remote and semi-autonomous capabilities in the future,” said Grein. “All we have to do is update the software.”

There are currently 60 Leader–Follower systems issued to the 41st Transportation Company at Fort Polk, Louisiana with their next software upgrade currently undergoing safety testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. GVSC Agile Development, Security, and Operations approach through the Software Foundry allows for Soldier to provide constant feedback to the developers and to deliver better products to the user faster while supporting both PEO Ground Combat Systems and PEO CS &CSS operational needs.

By Scott Wakefield

SureFire Field Notes Episode 62: Vehicle Preparedness with Pat McNamara

Monday, April 5th, 2021

Patrick McNamara spent 22 years in the United States Army in a myriad of special operations units. When he worked in the premier special missions unit, he became an impeccable marksman, shooting with accurate, lethal results and tactical effectiveness.

McNamara has trained tactical applications of shooting to people of all levels of marksmanship, from varsity level soldiers, and police officers who work the streets to civilians with little to no time behind the trigger.

His military experience quickly taught him that there is more to tactical marksmanship than merely squeezing the trigger. Utilizing his years of experience, McNamara developed a training methodology that is safe, effective, and combat relevant and encourages a continuous thought process. This methodology teaches how to maintain safety at all times and choose targets that force accountability, as well as provides courses covering several categories, including individual, collective, online, and standards.

While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, he developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations. Mac ran monthly IPSC matches and ran semi annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army. He retired from the Army’s premier hostage rescue unit as a Sergeant Major and is the author of T.A.P.S. (Tactical Application of Practical Shooting) and Sentinel.

NP Aerospace Re-Engineers British Army Ridgback and Mastiff Vehicles for Deployment in Mali

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Coventry, UK. NP Aerospace, a global armour manufacturer and vehicle integrator, has re-engineered the Ridgback and Mastiff platforms for an Urgent Capability Requirement (UCR) in Mali, Africa, under the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Protected Mobility Engineering & Technical Support (PMETS) Contract.

The off-road mobility upgrade contract, awarded in May 2020, is valued at c. £7m and covers 12 vehicles and associated spares. It has enabled proven, heavy armoured vehicles held within the protected mobility fleet to be used to protect British Army troops in challenging operational terrains. Optimising current platforms has significantly reduced delivery timescales, ensuring our soldiers are safer, faster.  

As engineering authority for the protected mobility fleet, NP Aerospace is leading the project with support from companies including HORIBA-MIRA, Horstman, Texelis, Timoney, Tyron and Universal Fabrications. A number of vehicles have already been deployed on operation during COVID-19 restrictions with the first wave delivered in just over 80 working days.

New vehicle systems have been implemented within the Ridgback and Mastiff to increase mobility, enhance safety and introduce new capabilities. These enhancements include state-of-the art, independent suspension systems incorporating Ride Height Control, along with upgraded driveline, steering and braking systems, central tyre inflation systems and increased diameter tyres.

Brigadier Anna-Lee Reilly, Head Vehicle Support Team for Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the UK Ministry of Defence, commented: “Our close relationship with NP Aerospace has been fundamental in our ability to deliver this capability to the Army in unprecedented timelines. From requirement to delivery, we have worked hand-in-hand to develop, trial and ultimately deploy this capability on operations in less than a year. Reviews have been extraordinarily positive, and the added capability has helped ensure that our soldiers are able to conduct their operations in a safer and more effective manner.”

David Petheram, Chief Operating Officer, NP Aerospace, said: “The off-road mobility upgrade is a significant development for the UK MoD. It has potential to extend the life of Ridgback and Mastiff which have saved lives on operation, whilst delivering performance improvements to match other high mobility vehicles. Reduced vehicle vibration has lessened driver and passenger fatigue, providing a better working environment for operational tasks. Mobility improvements have enabled a proven platform to be used in theatres of operation previously unachievable for standard vehicles.

“Whilst the upgrade was driven by a specific Urgent Capability Requirement, we see this development having a much wider impact. By using experienced NP Aerospace staff alongside off the shelf components, NP Aerospace has cut costs significantly and enabled UK MoD to handle new combat environments without the burden of developing a completely new platform.

“The speed at which we and our partners have re-engineered the platforms, with fully functional prototypes delivered in just over 80 working days, has shown that we have the capabilities to meet challenging military requirements even in a global pandemic with supply chain restrictions.”

A total of over 700 Mastiff and Ridgback vehicles have been armoured and integrated by NP Aerospace over the last 15 years for use in various operational theatres.

New Infantry Squad Vehicle Tested at US Army Yuma Proving Ground

Friday, March 19th, 2021

There’s a new vehicle turning heads on the range at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), and it will likely begin arriving in Army brigades in a matter of months.

It’s the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV), and it promises to give Soldiers an opportunity to arrive to a fight faster, rested, and ready.

Powered by a 2.8 liter turbo diesel engine with a six speed automatic transmission, the four-wheel drive vehicle carries up to a nine Soldier infantry unit and their heavy gear. If it looks familiar, it is because the platform is based on a commercially-available vehicle.

“About 70% is common with the Chevy Colorado ZR2, and the rest is a mixture of commercial parts that you can modify and put onto the Chevy Colorado,” said Steve Herrick, product lead for Ground Mobility Vehicles. “About 90% of this can be bought on the commercial market.”

The ISV is meant to reduce the burden on infantry Soldiers weighed down by heavy gear and faced with rugged terrain. The fast and lean ISV can be air transported into locales within theater rapidly and efficiently.

“It provides an operationally relevant vehicle for a small tactical unit to be transported to a drop off point as quickly as possible in a mission-ready state,” said Sean Lamorena, test officer. “It’s intended to be transported by means of the infantry’s rotary or fixed wing aircraft platforms.”

“This vehicle is going to help Soldiers in the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams that currently walk everywhere,” added Herrick. “It’s made to be ‘a better boot,’ a capability that allows you to effectively change how you operate.”

Right now it’s being put through its paces across the more than 200 miles of rugged road courses at YPG to ensure it functions as it should wherever in the world it could be called on to serve.

“We’re performing reliability and maintainability (RAM) testing to support the evaluation in a desert environment,” said Lamorena. “We’re also doing two performance tests at the conclusion of RAM testing.”

Over the next few months, the ISV will traverse 5,000 miles across Yuma Test Center’s rugged ranges, including sand slope mobility tests that will see it tackle a sandy 30% grade—for perspective, the steepest grade on an interstate highway in the contiguous United States is 6%. Through much of the testing, the vehicle and its driver will be joined by plastic dummies weighted with sand in the vehicle’s remaining seats.

“We up-weight the vehicle to its operational weight expectation,” said Isaac Rodriguez, team leader in the Combat Automotive Systems Division. “We also install a data acquisition system that monitors GPS and the vital signs of the vehicle.”

During testing, simulated missions take the vehicle across road courses featuring various terrain conditions, from paved to gravel, to punishing desert washboard that would severely rattle a vehicle without four wheel drive. As they traverse these roads, test vehicle operators continually verify performance of all the platform’s performance.

“Yuma provides the capability of extreme weather differences, as well as a desert terrain,” said Herrick. “We can’t get those things that Yuma provides at other testing locations. The distances travelled on the courses and the weather conditions really help here.”

The rising temperatures as spring approaches will also help the testing.

“We’ll take advantage of the hot temperatures to execute cooling performance of the vehicle,” said Rodriguez. “We’ll load the vehicle up and verify that it is able to maintain its proper operating temperatures.”

Though the vehicle is manufactured by General Motors and the company’s desert proving ground is co-located at YPG, there are currently no plans to utilize their road courses in tests of the ISV.

“We have the capability to do so, but based on the scope of testing for this vehicle it isn’t necessary,” said Rodriguez. “If the customer added a requirement that would need to be done at that facility, we would certainly entertain that idea.”

Eventually, the Army intends to field 59 ISVs to each brigade, beginning with brigades within the 82nd Airborne Division in May. The testing completed at YPG is an important element of the success of this rapid adoption and deployment of the vehicle.

By Mark Schauer

Germany’s Brabus Automotive Invicto Partners with Aspetto to Take on US Government Sales

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

• The Brabus Group is world renowned for their high-performance automotive tuning.

• Brabus Automotive is the expert for automotive derivates and armoring.

• Brabus Automotive has gained the attention of the executive security world with their Luxury Armored Vehicle, the Invicto.

• Aspetto has become the first Invicto distributor in the U.S.

3/16/22 Fredericksburg, Virginia

Aspetto announced their partnership with Brabus Automotive to bring the Invicto line to America.

This Luxury Armored Vehicle is based on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. However, Brabus Automotive believes their Invicto is in a whole different class of armored vehicles.

Instead of retroactively fitting the SUV with armor, their engineers implemented an entirely new protection system. They created a self-enclosed bolted structural cell that is assembled inside of the original body shell. The armor components are then affixed to the shell, leaving no gaps. Extra plating and reinforcement is added to counter any inherent structural weakness.

The zero-joints design was then tested with an array of gun fire, collisions and explosions. All of which exceeded the company’s expectations.

The Invicto also has a modified chassis to easily handle the extra weight. Brabus Automotive added an entirely new wheel suspension. Thus, ensuring the vehicle has a long road life. Beyond that, many more improvements were made such as reinforcing brake discs, springs, shock absorbers and stabilisers. Brabus Automotive incorporated 3-D printing to ensure they got the exact specifications on the components they wanted to add.

Brabus Automotive offers the Invicto in three model lines: The Invicto Pure is the serial Mercedes Benz G-Class with a nearly invisible armoring. The Invicto luxury offers all interior and exterior from the Brabus G-Class accessory program. And the Invicto Mission is the trace and escort vehicle with interior and exterior features made for special forces and special purposes.

Despite the rugged exterior, the inside is the epitome of luxury. The Invicto features a fully customizable interior with a vast selection of leathers, wood, and electronic compatibility. Optionally the Invicto offers infrared and night vision capabilities, a fire extinguishing system, and an escape hatch on the roof.

Adding to the already impressive design, the Invicto has up to 800 horsepower, and can reach a top speed of 130 miles per hour. Furthermore, the Invicto can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds.

Abbas Haider, CEO of Aspetto, said Aspetto now has exclusivity on Invicto armored vehicles for U.S. Federal and Military sales. He went on to say, “The Invicto is the new standard for armored vehicles, and our troops deserve the best.” Also remarking, “It is important to continue to seek out new ways for us to keep our first responders and law enforcement safe.”

Backcountry x Black Diamond GlideLite Skin

Saturday, March 6th, 2021

Backcountry teamed with Black Diamond to introduce the GlideLite Skin for ski touring big mountains.

It relies on a mohair nylon blend to balance gliding with reliable traction. The Universal tip attachment snaps onto the skin for tool-free setup and the STS tail system offers 10cm of adjustment for a secure fit. Includes a trimming tool to cut skins for a custom fit.