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Archive for the ‘Mobility’ Category

New Vehicle Autonomy System, Indigo Drive, to Revolutionise the Defence Industry

Friday, September 23rd, 2022

• Indigo Drive enables personnel to be removed from highly dangerous scenarios

• Existing vehicles to become driverless quickly and cost-effectively

• One system from a single supplier to provide everything needed to autonomise an entire fleet

Bradford on Avon, UK, 20th September 2022. Leading vehicle automation provider, ABD Solutions, has launched Indigo Drive, a software eco-system that enables any defence vehicle to be quickly and cost-effectively automated.

Indigo Drive can significantly improve the safety of personnel by removing the requirement for drivers in dangerous situations, such as IED route clearance and logistics supply. Research shows that 52% of casualties in combat zones can be attributed to logistics and personnel delivering core supplies and that nearly 50% of US soldiers killed in operation between 2010 and 2020 were caused by IEDs.

“Our solution is unique in that it is vehicle-agnostic and retrofittable, this enables any existing land vehicle to be automated,” said Matthew Price, Managing Director of ABD Solutions. “This allows more personnel to be removed from dangerous situations, significantly increasing safety. On top of this, instead of driving, personnel can focus on much more valuable operational activities, allowing soldiers to be soldiers.”

Secure and certified, as a comprehensive system, Indigo Drive contains everything needed to create driverless fleets. From a user-friendly software interface for route-planning to the technology needed to create movement (such as drive-by-wire and driving robots), to communication (Radio, V2X, GPS/GNSS), obstacle detection (LiDAR, camera, radar) and vehicle health and diagnostics (OBD2, telemetry, sensors), what’s included can be tailored around the specific vehicles and environments.

The modular architecture allows for easy integration with systems already in use, such as fleet management software, meaning creating driverless fleets can be faster and smoother than ever before.

As well as increasing safety, automation reduces emissions and fuel consumption, which has a direct impact on the number of supply operations required. It also provides tactical advantages, such as running in the dark without the use of lights.

Price adds, “We work with our customers to provide tailored solutions for their environment by assessing the level and type of automation required enabling fleet transformation without investment in new vehicles, maximising the return on existing high-value assets.”

The hardware used to provide automation requires only minor modifications to the vehicle and is semi-permanent, allowing it to be moved from one vehicle to another should requirements change or if the vehicle needs maintenance. The equipment is non-intrusive to allow a driver to take control while it is fitted, significantly increasing the vehicle’s operational flexibility.

In a defence environment where tasks are often repetitive, the entire fleet can be synchronised to maximise productivity and efficiency. Task planning software ensures that all the vehicles take the most efficient route, reducing fuel consumption and the time to complete the operation. Vehicles that have the ability to detect obstructions can communicate them to the fleet management system to prevent others from encountering the same issue. Once the obstruction has been flagged the vehicle management system can generate an alternative route or a human can remote into the vehicle to immediately assess the situation.

A critical indirect benefit of vehicle autonomy is the digitisation of information from the vehicle. It creates new data streams that are invaluable to fleet operators. The vehicle’s speed, location, fuel level, diagnostic status, distance to target etc can all be relayed via the vehicle management toolset. Data analytics can automatically process this information to assist with operational decisions, fleet maintenance scheduling and logistics planning.

ABD Solutions used Indigo Drive to create the world’s first automated Wolfhound Tactical Support Vehicle (TSV). It was created in collaboration with NP Aerospace, an engineering authority for the UK MOD protected mobility fleet. The vehicle was demonstrated earlier this year at a defence technology innovation day held at the HORIBA-MIRA proving ground in the UK.

With sales and technical support offices across three continents, ABD Solutions is a global operation. It is a member of the AB Dynamics Group and benefits from its knowledge of developing and supplying thousands of driving robots to the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers, proving grounds and regulatory authorities. The Group has decades of experience in vehicle autonomy and simulation.

“The AB Dynamics Group has been automating vehicles in one way or another for development and test purposes for decades,” continues Price. “Now, through ABD Solutions and the development of Indigo Drive, the defence industry can take advantage of this expertise to automate their existing fleets today.”

ABD Solutions will be showcasing Indigo Drive at DVD2022, one of Europe’s leading defence exhibitions, at UTAC Millbrook, UK, on September 21st – 22nd (Stand C3-413).

American Rheinmetall Vehicles Signs Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

American Rheinmetall Vehicles (Sterling Heights, MI) has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Develop¬ment Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (DEVCOM GVSC). The CRADA allows American Rheinmetall Vehicles and DEVCOM GVSC to collaborate on a regular basis to develop integrated combat vehicle suspension, track, and running gear technologies.

In addition to the defined research and development tasks, the CRADA provides a conduit for the team to explore integration of the U.S. Army’s Advanced Lightweight Track and improvements in running gear systems and configurations on platforms that are potential candidates for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program and other critical vehicle modernization programs.

American Rheinmetall Vehicles and DEVCOM GVSC will leverage their respective expertise to improve track, suspension, and running gear solutions, which may also be applicable to future weapons systems for broader military services, international military markets, and further spin-off applications. The effort may include, but is not limited to, modeling and simulation, development, and testing of track, running gear, suspension, road wheels, and subsequent developments to improve these systems and sub-systems in harmony for best-in-class ride quality for tracked combat vehicles.

“The CRADA is the start of a budding relationship to research, develop, and integrate the newest technologies into modern combat vehicles,” said Mike Milner, American Rheinmetall Vehicles Director for Business Development and Strategy. “Specifically, efforts on integration of the Advanced Lightweight Track will provide ride quality improvements and room for growth without reductions in performance on tracked combat vehicles.”

About American Rheinmetall Vehicles
Sterling Heights, MI, based American Rheinmetall Vehicles delivers next-generation, advanced tactical wheeled vehicles and innovative tracked and wheeled combat vehicles in support of today’s highest combat vehicle modernization priorities. Rheinmetall’s collaborative global structure allows for the maturation and strengthening of the U.S. Industrial Base now and into the future. American Rheinmetall Vehicles is part of the American Rheinmetall family of U.S. companies including American Rheinmetall Munitions in Stafford, VA, American Rheinmetall Systems in Biddeford, ME and U.S. corporate parent American Rheinmetall Defense in Reston, VA.

NATO Customer Norway Officially Commissions New High-Performance Rheinmetall MAN Logistic Vehicles

Friday, September 2nd, 2022

On 23 August 2022, in the presence of company officials from Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles, the Norwegian military procurement agency, NDMA, formally transferred over a hundred new HX and TGS-mil military trucks to the Norwegian Army, the end customer. The ceremony took place at Sessvollmoen military base near Oslo. Major General Øyvind Johan Kvalvik, Deputy Director of the NDMA, symbolically handed over the keys to the Norwegian Army’s second in command, Brigadier General Frode Ommundsen.

“We are proud to be able to transfer these state-of-the-art truck systems today to the most important people in the Norwegian armed forces – the troops!”, declared Michael Wittlinger, chairman of the board of management of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) in a speech marking the occasion. “We are certain that these vehicles will satisfy Norway’s soldiers, providing them with the best-possible protection and support.” 

The roots of the project go back to 2008, when a committee of Norwegian military officials drew up a list of specifications for new military logistic vehicles. Norway gave Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) the nod in 2013. Then, on

31 March 2014, NDMA and its Swedish opposite number, the FMV procurement agency in Stockholm, entered a framework agreement with RMMV to supply of military logistic vehicles, which runs through to 2025. Linked to this is an additional agreement encompassing long-term service support from RMMV. Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles is a joint venture owned by Rheinmetall AG, which holds a 51% stake in the company, and MAN Truck & Bus SE, which holds the remaining 49% share. 

The first shipments of trucks earmarked for Norway include 109 vehicles of various types: twenty-four 24 HX 8×8 trucks with hook lift systems; fifty-six TGS 6×6 heavy-duty tractor trailers; and twenty-nine TGS 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles.

Michael Wittlinger went on to note in his speech that “this is RMMV’s most complex project to date. Our contract is not just with Norway but with Sweden, too. Owing to the special challenges of the Scandinavian operating environment, the technical specifications are very complex. Moreover, the order encompasses 38 different truck configurations and trailer variants, making this a very multifaceted programme.”  Furthermore, each individual variant is subject to an extremely rigid and ambitious timetable for reaching milestones, with highly detailed lifecycle support documentation required at every stage. All of this goes way beyond the expectations of our other customers.”

The new vehicles are intended first and foremost to improve the transport capacity of the Norwegian military’s logistics corps, while simultaneously expanding the operational capabilities of its armed forces. This new high-tech family of vehicles fully meets the comprehensive requirements of its military users. Some of these trucks feature an integrated armoured vehicle cab for protecting the crew from ballistic threats and shrapnel. Furthermore, they can also be equipped with state-of-the-art communication and command-and-control systems as well as remote-control weapon stations.

Jankel’s LTTV Production Programme Changes Up a Gear

Friday, September 2nd, 2022

199 British designed and built tactical vehicles based on the Mercedes Benz UNIMOG vehicles to the Belgian Ministry of Defence (BeMOD). Jankel’s LTTV can be viewed at the DVD exhibition at Millbrook, 21-22 September.

In September 2021, Jankel announced the establishment of a new production capability in the UK and in November 2021 it was announced that the programme had passed Preliminary Technical Acceptance (PTA) and had formally entered production. Following a period of LRIP (Low-Rate Initial Production) that coincided with COVID working restrictions, recently, the programme has been gathering pace with vehicle 25 entering production in August. From September onwards, the production rate accelerates further with the delivery of all 199 vehicles set for completion in 2023.

First unveiled at DSEi in September 2019 and also displayed at DSEi in September 2021, Jankel’s LTTV is designed to provide a modular and configurable tactical support vehicle that benefits from unique, removable mission modules that enable the vehicle to be re-roled rapidly for operational platform versatility. The LTTV has 3 core variants for Special Operations support, including an ambulance variant. Alongside a user-configurable, fully integrated suite of military sub-systems that includes a removable ballistic protection kit, a Roll-Over-Protection-System (ROPS), weapon mounts and communications fit, the platform will provide full interoperability with the Fox fleet of tactical vehicles.

Richard Semmens, Operations Director at Jankel said: “I’m very proud indeed of our team and our UK-based supply chain for working so hard to get our LTTV programme where it is today with vehicles coming off the production line at increasing frequency and being delivered to our BeMOD customer.

Andrew Jankel, Chairman at Jankel said: Like anyone else in manufacturing (defence or otherwise) will know, there have been some challenges to face through BREXIT, COVID-19 and the Ukraine conflict. Right through that period, here at Jankel we’ve continued to deliver and to export some great UK products and services including our LTTV programme. Indeed, we’re one of a very few UK defence manufacturers that has been continuously delivering and exporting throughout this turbulent period”. He added: “I’d like to thank everyone who has worked with us so closely to help us succeed during this testing period including our suppliers and importantly, our customers. I’ll be the first person to say it’s not been easy but I’m also happy to say we’re succeeding. I’d particularly like to thank our suppliers for their patience, support and agility and I look forward to delivering the rest of the LTTV programme in the coming months.”.

Production Model Infantry Squad Vehicles Airdrop Tested for Long-term Ruggedization

Friday, August 26th, 2022

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina — Airborne equipment testers here are working with aerospace engineers on modifying airdrop rigging techniques because of structural and mechanical changes made by the manufacture of the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV).

“Testing centered around determining if production representative mode (PRM) ISVs could tolerate the forces experienced during low velocity airdrop operations (LVAD),” said Lt. Col. Derek Johnson, Chief of Test Division at the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD).

The ISV is a new concept to allow Army Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers to cover large areas of challenging terrain more quickly and less fatigued by reducing the area usually covered on foot.

Infantrymen would also be able to carry enough personal and squad provisions to self-sustain for several days, and the ISV is also transported easily by air assets during air assault and airborne assault missions.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center in Natick, Massachusetts assisted ABNSOTD in modifying the ISV rigging procedures and paperboard honeycomb kit to accommodate changes to the production representative model of the ISV by General Motors Defense.

“This capability is required across the range of military operations facing Infantry Brigade Combat Teams conducting crisis response, initial entry, and selected decisive action missions,” said James Cochran (JC), a seasoned Military Test Plans Analyst within ABNSOTD.

Johnson said the changes were deemed necessary after a previous version of the ISV encountered material problems during developmental testing when it was discovered some vehicle components were insufficiently ruggedized for long term vehicle service.

Testing started with a rigging exercise of two PRM ISVs on one standard Type V low velocity airdrop operations (LVAD) platform and one Dual Row Airdrop System platform.

Once rigging solutions and paperboard honeycomb modifications were incorporated into the rigging procedures, both vehicles underwent Simulated Airdrop Impact Testing (SAIT).

The two PRM ISVs rigged on airdrop platforms were raised by crane and free dropped to simulate the impact velocity experienced during LVAD operations.

“During the execution of the SAITs, high-speed video, photography, and instrumentation (accelerometers and impact data recorders) were employed to assess the PRM ISV’s reaction to the forces experienced during LVAD operations,” said Michael Estremera, Electronics Engineer at ABNSOTD.

After SAIT, both vehicles were thoroughly inspected by ABNSOTD, General Motors Defense, and the ISV Program Office to see if either ISV had any damage from forces experienced during the simulated drop.

The testing culminated with a 50-kilometer road test, with ABNSOTD personnel operating the PRM ISVs on improved, semi-improved, and un-improved roads as well as off-road routes at various speeds.

Following road testing, ABNSOTD, General Motors Defense and ISV Program Office personnel thoroughly inspected both vehicles to assess any damage the vehicles may have sustained.

This follow-on testing generated data on the ability of a PRM ISV to withstand the forces experienced during LVAD operations and remain fully mission capable.

“Operating the ISV is a great experience from the driver’s point of view,” said Staff Sergeant Clinton Martinez, an ABNSOTD Parachute Rigger. “It rides smoothly over all types of terrain and visibility is outstanding.”

“The speed and maneuverability of the ISV, along with its capability to easily negotiate all types of terrain should impart confidence in the Infantrymen that will be utilizing this vehicle in real world and training operations,” said Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Love, an Infantryman assigned to ABNSOTD.”

The ISV is deployable worldwide by sea, air, and land to support strategic deployment and operational maneuver in accordance with Army and Joint doctrine.

Story by Mr. Blake Bagby, Military Test Plans Analyst, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command

Photos by Mr. Michael Zigmond, Photographer, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate

Mack Defense Receives Order for 144 Additional Trucks for the U.S. Army M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck Program

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

ALLENTOWN, PA – Mack Defense announced today that the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve have ordered an additional 144 Mack Defense M917A3 Heavy Dump Trucks (HDTs).

The additional vehicles, based on the commercially available Mack® Granite® model, are part of the previously announced firm-fixed price $296 million contract to be fulfilled over seven years that the Army awarded Mack Defense in 2018. The HDTs are a key component in construction and maintenance missions for infrastructure assets, such as airfields, roadways, landing strips, supply facilities and motor pools.

“We are proud to maintain our production operation which was created for the U.S. Army M917A3 HDT program, and we are extremely proud that our Mack Defense HDT vehicles, which have been fielded, are meeting and exceeding expectations,” said David Hartzell, president of Mack Defense. “Mack Defense remains committed to producing vehicles for the U.S. armed forces based on modified versions of our industry-leading Mack vehicles providing the latest technologies and best value while meeting the military’s demanding requirements.”

The Army previously had ordered 155 HDTs, which are spec’d with heavier-duty rear axles, all-wheel drive, increased suspension ride height and other ruggedized features to meet the unique requirements of the Army. Those HDT vehicles have all been built, and final deliveries will continue through August 2022.

The Mack Granite HDT model is a modern truck equipped with modern technology, such as ABS and other active safety systems. The Granite model is user-friendly, comfortable and safer to operate compared with other past models used by the Army, which is key to the Army’s investment in the new HDTs, Hartzell said. The Granite HDTs and the production line at the Mack Experience Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, were both inspected by the government quality auditors to ensure both met expectations.

Production of the HDTs at the MEC began in Q1 2021, following an investment of $6.5 million to create a dedicated HDT production line at the facility. The production line helps fulfill the M917A3 contract, while allowing Mack Defense to produce other vehicle variants.

The production line in the MEC is in Mack’s former Customer Adaptation Center, where vehicle modifications occurred. The Customer Adaptation Center has since moved to Mack’s Lehigh Valley Operations (LVO) in Macungie, Pennsylvania, where all Mack Class 8 vehicles for North America and export are assembled. Previously, non-armored HDT vehicles began production at LVO and were then transported to the MEC, where final assembly, including adding the dump body, occurred.

BAE Systems wins U.S. Army’s Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) Competition, Receives $278 Million Contract

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – August 22, 2022 – BAE Systems’ Beowulf has won the U.S. Army’s competition for its Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program and the company has received a $278 million contract for production units, spare parts and contractor logistics support. The win further confirms BAE Systems as the industry leader in the design and production of military all-terrain vehicles for operations in harsh terrains and in the toughest weather conditions.

Beowulf is an unarmored, tracked, and highly versatile vehicle for carrying personnel and a variety of payloads in either of its two compartments. Beowulf can traverse snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, and swamp conditions, and can operate in steep mountain environments. Its amphibious feature also allows it to swim in flooded areas or coastal waters. This marks the first sale of Beowulf, which is based on its sister BvS10 armored variant in service with several European nations.

As the focus on Arctic Mobility operations grows, we see increasing opportunities in other markets for the BvS10 and Beowulf with an emerging demand to replace legacy BV206s.

“Beowulf is a highly capable solution to meet the US Army’s requirement for Arctic operations. We look forward to providing our soldiers operating in challenging terrain and environments with this highly capable vehicle,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president of business development at BAE Systems Platforms & Services. “We have been maturing and modernizing cold weather all-terrain capabilities for decades, bringing advanced capabilities to the United States and numerous other countries. This contract means we will continue to do so for many years to come.”

Beowulf’s articulated mobility system is key to its effectiveness, providing optimal maneuverability across varying surfaces. Its modular design can be reconfigured for multiple missions, such as logistical support, disaster and humanitarian relief, search and rescue, and other missions as required.

Its large windows and spacious cabin make Beowulf suitable to the tasks for the CATV program, including search and rescue, defense support to civilian authorities, and homeland defense. Its modern, commercial design ensures soldiers’ operational effectiveness in executing a wide variety of difficult missions.

Beowulf successfully completed the prototype evaluation phase of the CATV program earlier this year in Alaska. It performed in multiple tasks while remaining fully mission capable. The testing included amphibious operations, navigating terrain with varying levels of complexity, starting and operating in extreme cold weather, and most critically, user assessment by soldiers.

Beowulf is built by BAE Systems Hägglunds in northern Sweden, adding firsthand experience in operating in an arctic environment. The platform includes several key components from U.S. suppliers, such as its engine, transmission, and hydraulic system. The CATV program will replace the legacy fleet of Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSVs), also built by BAE Systems Hägglunds, and known internationally as the BV206. The BV206 has been in service globally, including with the U.S. Armed Forces, since the early 1980s.

CAKE Ösa Adventure Series by Hookie Co

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

The Cake Ösa is a popular electric urban scrambler. Germany’s Hookie Co has created a bolt-on moto kit for the Swedish EV to give you some more versatility.

The kit consists of four items: ADV Headlight Unit consisting of side-by-side HELLA Comet 500 lights, limited-edition ADV Long Seat as well as the ADV Storage Basket and its QuickFist Tool Mount which will accept their overland shovel.