Chapter IV. Technology Development
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


S. Ground Vehicles

1. Scope

The Army focuses its ground vehicle technologies on those that provide our soldiers the capabilities needed to "Dominate the Maneuver" and "Win the Information War." The Ground Vehicle Technology Area incorporates efforts to support the basic Army and Marine Corps land combat functions: shoot, move, communicate, survive, and sustain. This technology area comprises the following subareas: Systems Integration, Vehicle Chassis and Turret, Integrated Survivability, Mobility, and Intra-Vehicular Electronics Suite. These subareas are illustrated in Figure IV-S-1.

Figure IV-S-1. Advanced Ground Vehicle Technologies for the Mounted Force

2. Rationale

One of the Mounted Forces' most critical deficiencies in the post-Cold War era is the inability to rapidly deploy forces for worldwide contingency missions. Current Mounted Forces are capable but take too long to be deployed, have a large logistics tail, and are ill-suited to the third world infrastructure. Current combat vehicles rely on traditional materials for construction, communications, training, passive armor protection against munitions, and conventional mobility.

A lighter "heavy" force is required that can deploy to sea in less time, with fewer ships, and reduced Combat Services Support (CSS) requirements and yet be equally lethal, survivable, and cost-effective. Materiel, Smart Weapon, and Survivability advances can lead to a fully air deployable armored assault force or a more deployable heavy assault force requiring 50 percent or less of current logistics assets.

Ground vehicle platforms require targeting, location, and acquisition systems capable of rapid detection, recognition, identification, hand-off, or engagement of both ground and aerial targets beyond the threat’s detection range. Systems must perform effectively day or night in adverse weather, in cluttered background environments, and in the presence of countermeasures to include jamming, screening, and the use of low observable and active defense systems. Ground vehicle platforms must possess the capability to execute improved maneuver tempo as a result of digitizing the battlefield.

Through the Integrated Concept Team (ICT) process, the user now has greater influence over Science and Technology (S&T) planning. The ICTs at the U.S. Army Armor Center, Fort Knox, have refocused near-term S&T towards the Future Scout and Combat System (FSCS) and Abrams Tank modernization. Far-term S&T will be focused towards the next generation "tank." Detailed ICT ground vehicle activities are described in Section III-G, Mounted Forces.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Systems Integration

Goals and Time Frames

Systems Integration/Virtual Prototyping of future vehicles utilizes modeling and simulation and system level advanced technology demonstrators to: (1) to develop preliminary concepts; (2) optimize design; (3) maximize force effectiveness for ground vehicles; and (4) drive technology goals. STO IV.S.5 supports ground vehicle virtual prototyping. Future vehicle concepts and designs are the realization of the Army and Marine Corps user’s requirements and the opportunities harvested from the results of previous technology subsystem development programs.

The goal is to demonstrate the feasibility and potential of lighter, more lethal, and survivable ground combat vehicles. Four types of modeling and simulation will be employed: engineering models, constructive simulation, distributed simulation, and virtual reality prototyping. The analyses conducted will span the entire vehicle combat spectrum and will be performed physically, analytically, and interactively using simulation methodologies. Virtual concepts and designs will mirror technology and can be readily evaluated for mobility, agility, survivability, lethality, and transportability, forming the basis for validation, verification, and accreditation. By 1997, virtual vehicle concepts representing superior revolutionary battlefield technologies will be developed, and combat effectiveness will be demonstrated via constructive and virtual simulation. By 2000, complete validation of Virtual Prototyping process.

Major Technical Challenges

The major challenge is to provide the user with systems that can attain an effective balance between increased fighting capability, enhanced survivability, and improved deployability, while also meeting or exceeding operational effectiveness, cost, manufacturing, and reliability/maintainability goals.

b. Vehicle Chassis and Turret

Goals and Time Frames

Through the use of composite, titanium-based, and other lightweight materials, technologies are being developed that will make future combat vehicles more lightweight and deployable (33 percent lighter structural/armor combination), versatile (multiple combat and support roles), and survivable (better ballistic protection and reduced signature). These technologies will be developed for combat vehicles to optimize and exploit the structural integrity, durability, ballistic resistance, repairability, and signature characteristics of a vehicle chassis and turret fabricated primarily from composite and/or titanium-based materials. Current vehicle chassis activities revolve around the development of vehicles composed of advanced lightweight materials to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. STO III.G.1 supports development of a 22-ton Composite Armored Vehicle.

By 1996, structural design optimization techniques will be demonstrated. By 1999, simulation tools for composite material design and fabrication will be developed and validated. By 2000, IPPD will be used to develop a virtual manufacturing facility for composite structures. IPPD will result in a 33 percent reduction in vehicle development time and costs by 2000.

Through the use of lightweight materials, a combat vehicle chassis with a 33 percent reduced structural weight and a turret with a 24 percent weight reduction will be demonstrated by 2000. A fully functional vehicle with a 33 percent weight reduction will be demonstrated by 2006.

Major Technical Challenges

Use of composite materials and/or titanium as the primary structure in the combat vehicle chassis is new. Composite issues include durability, producibility, and repairability. Titanium has yet to be used on combat vehicles because of cost. Through an IPPD approach, all issues relating to the successful fielding of a combat vehicle, including cost, are addressed.

c. Integrated Survivability

Goals and Time Frames

This technology effort's objectives are to provide an integrated survivability solution that will protect ground combat vehicles from a proliferation of advanced threats. With ever changing threats and missions, the integrated survivability approach allows for flexibility in meeting mission needs. Detection avoidance, hit avoidance, and advanced protection technologies will be developed and integrated to enhance overall vehicle survivability.

This technology effort's objectives are to provide an integrated survivability solution that will protect ground combat vehicles from a proliferation of advanced threats. With ever changing threats and missions, the integrated survivability approach allows for flexibility in meeting mission needs. Detection avoidance, hit avoidance, and advanced protection technologies will be developed and integrated to enhance overall vehicle survivability.

Detection avoidance technologies include signature management and visual perception. Signature management efforts are focused on exploring vehicle signatures in the visual, thermal, radar, acoustic, and seismic areas and in various atmospheric conditions. Visual signature analysis will be enhanced through the use of visual models and laboratory experimentation of visual perception.

Hit avoidance technologies protect ground vehicles through the use of sensors and counter measures. The sensors detect incoming threats and the countermeasures confuse or physically disrupt incoming threats. The Army is developing electronic countermeasure and sensing technologies to defeat current and future smart munitions. By the end of 1997, active protection against smart horizontal munitions and countermeasures to defeat laser designated threats will be demonstrated; competing active protection technologies will be evaluated. By 2000, a reduction in hit probability from the current 0.80.9 to 0.2 will be demonstrated.

Advanced protection technologies include the development of armor, laser protection work, and the exploration of non-ozone depleting substances to use for fire suppression. Armor plays a synergistic role with detection and hit avoidance on the modern battlefield. It provides the last line of defense. Armor can also protect against mine blasts and, by 2000, a mine survivable contingency peacekeeping vehicle will be demonstrated. Laser protection technologies are being developed to prevent blinding and eye damage of vehicle crews due to the use of lasers on the battlefield. Laser protection for all unity vision devices (STO #IV.S.07) will provide eye safety against enemy agile wave length laser threats. The work in this area is twofold. First, non-linear optical materials developed commercially and at other DoD agencies will be characterized. Second, work to design and integrate a retrofittable optical surveillance system is being performed. Finally, in the area of advanced protection technologies, is the exploration of non-ozone depleting substances for fire suppression use. Work in this area will focus on demonstrating environmentally and toxicological acceptable replacements for Halon 1301 in fire suppression systems in crew occupied compartments of ground combat vehicles.

None of the aforementioned technologies alone can ensure survivability and mission flexibility. The integrated survivability approach ensures the proper mix of these technologies so that survivability and mission flexibility may be achieved.

Major Technical Challenges

Cost of the currently identified technologies are prohibitive for application to all vehicles. Many of these technologies have significant weight, volume, electrical power, and thermal loading requirements. Insertion of these technologies into fielded systems can be costly and time consuming.

d. Mobility

Goals and Time Frames

The mobility technology effort focuses on the "move" function of tracked and wheeled land combat vehicles. Mobility components for ground vehicles include the suspension, track wheels, engine, transmission, and fuels/lubricants.

To increase both the survivability and lethality of combat vehicles, technology plans are in place to nearly double the cross-country performance of combat vehicles over the Abrams/Bradley baseline by 2005. Military vehicle cross-country speed is usually limited by the driver’s ability to tolerate the vibration energy transmitted from the suspension. Increasing on-board computational capability has made it possible to actively control both the spring and damping rates of "active" suspension systems, reducing structural vibration and shock.

The vehicle track accounts for 8 to 10 percent of the gross vehicle weight, presents a costly maintenance burden, and emits a significant acoustic signature. Quiet, lightweight band track is being adapted from the commercial market. Demonstrations of lightweight band track for 20-ton vehicles will occur by 1997.

While all vehicles except the tank and its derivatives use diesel engines, they all operate below their commercial horsepower ratings. By 2000, military diesel engine power density will increase by 33 percent through application of advanced fuel injection systems, high efficiency, broad range turbo machinery, and low heat rejection techniques.

Power requirements of combat vehicles are increasing rapidly to accomplish the goals of advanced weapons, survivability systems, and increased mobility. Because electrical power will be shared among propulsion, survivability, lethality, and auxiliary systems, energy management becomes a new driver in combat vehicle design. Electric drive systems allow real-time control of power distribution without the addition of redundant power systems. With electric drive, the engine, transmission, and output to the wheels/drive sprockets no longer have to be co-located, allowing greater flexibility in overall vehicle design. Hybrid electric drive versions of the M113, Bradley, and HMMWV will be demonstrated in 1997.

Major Technical Challenges

For electric drives, major challenges include the requirements to greatly increase the available auxiliary power, reduce the cooling system size by a factor of six, and reduce the total transmission volume by 30 percent.

For advanced track systems, the major challenge is to extend lightweight conventional track durability while reducing operational and support costs.

For fuels and lubes, the major challenge is to define performance tradeoffs for development of a single engine/powertrain lubricant, as a single lubricant would greatly decrease operational and support requirements.

e. Intravehicular Electronics Suite

Goals and Time Frames

The goal of this subarea is to develop a standardized framework within which to integrate technologies for electronic embedded vehicular weapons system. This will enable current and future ground vehicles to maintain superior combat effectiveness and to function effectively on the digital battlefield. The Intravehicular Electronics Suite has two primary technological focuses: the integration of the electronics into the vehicle, and the natural and seamless interconnection of crew with the electronics.

The Intravehicular Electronics Suite will provide the necessary integration flexibility to support the wide-ranging battlefield digitization functionality in vehicular weapon systems over the next decade. It is the first step toward creating a general purpose electronic platform for multipurpose sensors and sensor fusion. Through a balance of flexibility and rigidity, the system will allow for improvement in the performance and capability of the system. This improvement can be incremental or continuous, adding or upgrading the processors, memory, or software functionality necessary to keep pace with the demands of the battlefield. This reliance on commercial, open standards for this electronics suite, coupled with the ability to continuously improve the system, will delay obsolescence of the system. The Army will be able to utilize state-of-the-art hardware at any time from multiple sources with minimal risk or development.

To achieve the first focus, future ground vehicles and upgrades to the current fleet will have to comply with both the Army’s C41 Technical Architecture for integration with the Force XXI battlefield and the VETRONICS Open Systems Architecture (VOSA) for vehicular integration. The cornerstone of the VOSA is the utilization of commercial, open standards wherever possible to provide structured flexibility within the weapon system. This structure will allow for substantial reductions in development time and cost. In addition, the flexibility of systems built to the VOSA guidelines will enable the Army to utilize a continuous product improvement methodology, instead of the more expensive block-upgrade approach, to maintain weapon system capabilities at a near state-of-the-art level.

The structure and flexibility of the VOSA will also contribute to attaining the second focus, interconnecting the soldier with the electronics. Research into Soldier-Machine Interface (SMI) design and specialized electronics hardware will result in new and innovative designs for implementation into vehicular electronics systems. The VETRONICS System Integration Lab (VSIL), the first system built to the VOSA guidelines, will provide a mechanism to validate both architecture performance and SMI implementation. The VSIL, scheduled for completion in 1997, will validate the architecture performance and interoperability of a VOSA system. By 2000, the VOSA will be operational within on-vehicle demonstration platforms.

This total system integration will increase the efficiency of the weapon system by providing synergism among all elements of the vehicle system. The net effect of this synergism should be a dramatic increase in combat effectiveness with a reduced crew workload.

Major Technical Challenges

Specific technical challenges include:

In the IntraVehicular Electronics Suite subarea, validated crew performance of advanced crew station through warfighter experimentation. Defined Weapon System Technical Architecture (WSTA) portion of the Army C4I Technical Architecture. This architecture will be implemented across ground vehicle, missile, artillery, and dismounted soldier domains.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Ground Vehicles is shown in Table IV-S-1.

Table IV-S-1. Technical Objectives for Ground Vehicles

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Table IV-S-1. Technical Objectives for Ground Vehicles

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