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FEATURE ARTICLE  

ISSN 1416-300X Volume 11, Issue 2, July 2008
Sponsored by DRS Technologies Inc.    
+44 (0)1252 734488

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DVD News in Brief

One of the problems of DVD is that it has become too large to cover all the exhibits. Luckily this year, BATTLESPACE was aided again by Rory Gammell who covered the Off-Road area. Access to the Show was much improved this year but there were continuing problems with the Safety Briefing, which although vital, does leave room for improvement. Visitors have limited time at DVD and some were kept waiting on the first day in a queue which stretched right into the Exhibit Hall. One development for 2009, suggested by one member of staff, would be to have the Safety Briefing online so that visitors could watch the safety Brief when registering for the Show and not receive a Pass unless confirmation of seeing the Safety Brief is confirmed. This would apply to Exhibitors, Press and Visitors alike.

OUVS

Whereas last year’s centrepiece was the MPPV Vehicle Requirement now fulfilled by the Mastiff and Ridgback vehicles, this years DVD centred on the OUVS Requirement.

Throughout the year we have been visiting companies developing vehicles for the OUVS Requirement. We started the year trialling the International MXT vehicle at Millbrook. An enhanced MXT was back at DVD 2008 with new Arvin Meritor independent suspension. We will be testing this vehicle later in the year. (See: BATTLESPACE MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS Vol. 7 Issue 01, 10 Jan 2008, BATTLESPACE TAKES THE INTERNATIONAL MXT-MV FOR A DRIVE).

We continued our tour to Italy where IVECO briefed us on its range of military vehicles for OUVS including the LMV. (See: BATTLESPACE MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS Vol. 7 Issue 03, 20 June 2008 AND DVD PREVIEW, IVECO DEFENCE GOES GLOBAL).

We continued our tour to Babcock’s Devonport facility, where our Report is shown below. (See: BABCOCK MARINE –ENGINEERING LAND SYSTEMS).

We have been promised a trip to Mowag in Switzerland to see the DURO range of vehicles for OUVS and to France to see the Renault Sherpa range.

We managed to take a drive in the new Oshkosh Sand Cat vehicle developed by Oshkosh in association with Plasan Sasa armour using a Ford 350 chassis. Its ride and handling were excellent over the Off-Road course.

The Sand Cat, previously called the Caracal, is an armored patrol vehicle built on a Ford commercial chassis cab modified by Manning Equipment offering a level of armored protection to drivers and passengers alike. The Sand Cat protects against all types of 7.62 AP ammo, mines, and IED threats. In addition to lower initial costs, parts and service can be provided globally, wherever Ford has a presence. With a 325 horsepower engine, automatic transmission, excellent performance profile and road handling features, and spacious interior, the Sand Cat is designed for easy manoeuvrability and can be used in evacuation procedures, while blending into urban environments.

Land Rover

Land Rover was exhibiting its latest version of the military Defender range with the new engine based on the Ford transit engine coupled to a new six-speed box.

Defender´s all new 2.4litre Diesel engine produces a class-leading 360Nm of Torque (90 percent of peak power is on tap from less than 2,200rpm to over 4,350rpm) and enhances its legendary capability yet again. In fact, not only is this new engine designed to be fully compliant with EU4 emissions legislation, a unique engine tune has been developed to allow it to tolerate the variable quality, high-sulphur fuels to be found across developing markets. It is also up to 30 percent quieter than the outgoing diesel engine.

Transmission

The Defender´s all-new six-speed transmission. Specially developed for heavy-duty applications, it is lighter, stronger and also provides smoother on-road performance, slicker gear changes and improved fuel consumption. Improved gearshift positioning offers greater comfort and ease-of-use. A lower first gear reduces crawl speed and combines with the increased engine Torque to make towing almost effortless.

The Editor drove the new Defender round the On-Road course and certainly the new drivetrain gave the vehicle a more nimble feel to its predecessor. An interesting factor is familiarity right down to the same squeaks and grunts to previous models! Little driver training will be required to bring users up to speed with this new model, however it lacks the speed and performance of its Wolf predecessor, now out of production.

Armoured Discovery

Having purchased the new Discovery 3 when it was launched three years ago, it was an experience to drive the new armoured version on show at DVD. Given the extra weight, there was no problem with performance and no roll experienced on cornering on the tight snake Millbrook circuit.

The finish of the armour package gave the driver a feeling of security and outsiders will have difficulty differentiating this variant from its unarmoured sister.

Land Rover said that a heavier braking package is fitted for the extra weight. This will be a strong seller in the Diplomatic, Political, Police and Para-Military markets.

Other Vehicles

EPS UK Ltd showed the TOMCAR vehicle on its Stand. Developed in Israel, tested and proven in some of the world's harshest conflict zones, the commercially available Tomcar is a lightweight, highly manoeuvrable all-terrain vehicle that can handle any job thrown at it.

The Tomcar comes in both two and four seat versions, and every model boasts an enclosed roof with integrated roll-cage. All models have a choice of having either petrol or diesel engines. Gets into and out of places its bulky SUV counterparts are unable to, regardless of the drivers' skill level. All parts can be accessed & repaired, or replaced, in the field.

EPS told BATTLESPACE that the Infantry Trials and Development Unit (ITDU) had purchased two Tomcars for evaluation for medevac purposes. The Tomcar has a 1.4 litre turbo diesel engine and has a 1.6 tonne payload enabling the carrying of three litters.

It was not clear whether ITDU is conducting a competition as the IPT had suggested at DVD 05 when it trialled the ATV Corp. Prowler vehicle and the Roush product. These trials never came to any Procurement. As we said earlier, JCB has supplied a similar vehicle to the Belgian Armed Forces and others are looking closely at this vehicle.

Prowler LTATV

ATV Corp., which has supplied vehicles to the US SOCOM in large numbers and to Holland and Spain, told BATTLSPACE that it was keen to sell vehicles into the U.K. MoD and that its latest version met the spec. for medevac purposes

Amos Deacon of ATV Corp. told BATTLESPACE that, “The Prowler ERV platform also comes in a two litter configuration and both configurations have an aft facing seat (interchangeable with the other two) for an EMT. Prowler has All Wheel Drive, chromealloy steel tubing construction (vs common steel stampings welded together), run-flat tyres, full ROPS, worldwide parts and service, wireless remote control 3000lb winch and is competitively priced. The two vehicles were recently trialled at the SOCOM/TACOM NATC Roadeo.”

The Prowler LTATV from Phoenix International Systems' all terrain vehicle division is the only light tactical wheeled vehicle of its class that is purpose-built for the military, with its design and manufacture based on actual field recommendations and evaluation input from actual military operations.
Prowlers offer unique advantages that overcome the severe limitations of generic recreational ATVs (including those "modified for military use") in terms of endurance, reliability, operator control and safety. While similar in size and appearance to a typical ATV, the Prowler RTV is completely different in operation, structural design and performance. Prowlers are faster, more rugged, reliable and stable, and can pull or carry greater payloads than any other ATV-type vehicle made or modified.

The Prowler is the only LTATV that is a proven Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) for the lightest of cargo aircraft. Its weight and dimensional envelope allows it to be easily deployed in aircraft such as the CV-22 and CH-16, CH-47, CH-52 and CH-60 series helicopters.

For deployment in the NH90, with its more restricted cargo or crew access dimension, ATV offers a 'pivot lock' ROPS that eliminates any requirement for disassembly or assembly effort, ensuring immediate deployment of a fully equipped and crewed vehicle upon touchdown.
The Prowler is manufactured with two standard forward seats, with a third rear-facing seat available as an option.

Prowler light tactical vehicles provide a light tactical mobility platform capability for use in non-traditional combat, reconnaissance and logistic support with an unmatched combination of mission-critical characteristics:
* Rugged and reliable performance in any terrain or climate
* Easily deployed, including as an ITV by aircraft such as the CV-22 and CH-46, CH-47, CH-52 and CH-60 series helicopters
* Multi-mission configurable for assault, ISR, SAR or logistic support
* Unparalleled operator protection
Since its introduction in 1992, the Prowler has been deployed by military forces across a wide range of combat, reconnaissance and SAR missions around the world. Prowler field testing has resulted in enthusiastic After Action Reports (AARs) from the military, emphasizing the vehicle's outstanding performance in terms of safety, endurance, reliability and adaptability.
Both vehicles are also offered in UGV configuration.

Creation UK Limited

Creation UK Limited exhibited an uprated Land Rover Defender, ‘Project Z’, with added protection and mobility. The vehicle shown uses the same top hamper as a standard military Defenders with the new protection and mobility added.
Additions include: A new underframe with integral blast plates; a MAN Euro 4 engine similar to the Support Vehicle entering service; Donaldson D10 filtration with scavenge system; Bilsten monotube dampers; transfer box with lockable diff; STANAG Level 2 protection; payload of 2.25 tonnes.

DVD 2009

Both Eurosatory and DVD were awash with new armoured vehicles in the six tonne and below category claiming protection from mines and bullets. However, due to this heavy protection, the effect on the vehicle is severe on its engine, transmission and drivetrain and thus payload is compromised. Once the armour package which approaches 2.5 tonnes and the occupants who now have added protection and equipment are added, there is little room left for the payloads.
Thus we might expect the heavier end of OUVS to be a SV truck in the 6 tonne range, which could be met by more MAN Support Vehicles in the 6 tonne versions.

We will cover this in a future issue, but a clue was given in the new Requirement for an Armoured Tactical Support Vehicle with good cross-country capability. This Requirement dovetails into the Basic Battlefield Mobility Vehicle Requirement made earlier this year. Both Requirements impinge on the FRES fleet and we may see a step change coming in FRES with more truck-types such as an armoured MAN vehicle or the IVECO-KMW Grizzly shown at Eurosatory.

The next stage will be to reinvent the lightweight armoured vehicle using lightweight armoured packages to minimise weight on the vehicle allowing greater payload for occupants, stores, radios and ammunition.

Look out for all these developments at DVD 2009!

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