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Posted: 9/13/2005 9:03:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 9:41:53 AM EDT by COLE-CARBINE]
(Note this is an older article I posted but I pulled a lazarus on it because of some new pics...enjoy!)

Better, Stronger, Faster: New Military Vehicle Will Improve Safety and Efficiency for Marine Corps
by Rick Robinson

Those who recall the old Jeep, of World War II fame, may view today's imposing Humvee as a cutting-edge vehicle. Yet the 1970s-designed Humvee has been the military's all-around workhorse almost as long as the Jeep was - and commanders today are calling for a vehicle more suited to 21st century tasks and perils.

Engineers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) recently took on the substantial challenge of developing revolutionary, leap-ahead designs for not one, but two, new Marine Corps vehicles. The GTRI researchers have been joined by an outside team that includes professional vehicle designers. The aim is to unite academic expertise with real-world, advanced engineering and production-level experience.

What's different about this for Georgia Tech is we're actually bringing in very senior people from the auto industry," says Mike Dudzik, associate director of GTRI's Electro-Optics, Environment and Materials Laboratory and GTRI technical fellow. "These are people who are well known for building unique vehicles - the hands-on guys who were basically the innovators of the automotive organizations they led."

The Office of Naval Research (ONR), which is funding the project, is eager for an improved vehicle to aid Marines in the near term. GTRI researchers are working on a technology demonstrator vehicle called the ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol). The ULTRA AP will emphasize high-output diesel power combined with revolutionary armor and a fully modern chassis.

A more long-range project, the ULTRA 3T, will involve GTRI in a ground-up rethinking of military vehicles to reshape the battlefield. The 3-ton ULTRA 3T will unite an array of advanced technologies in a single automotive package. Some of these technologies, such as anti-lock brakes and airbags, are commonly available on production automobiles. Others, such as computerized stability control systems and advanced power-generating capabilities, are truly cutting edge, says Scott Badenoch, GTRI principal scientist and project manager.

The Humvee is still a good vehicle, but it has been incrementally modified until it's reaching the end of its capacity." Dudzik says. "With the two ULTRA programs, we're coming in with an all-new 'disruptive' technology that clearly displaces the sustaining technology of the Humvee."

In both vehicles, Badenoch is leading the team making improvements in three key areas:

Safety with Performance. "The vehicle uses onboard computers to integrate steering, suspension and brakes to provide an unparalleled level of mobility and safety," Badenoch says. "The new vehicle's integrated chassis represents a leap ahead of the most advanced current production vehicles.

Survivability. This factor involves a vehicle's ability to shield occupants from hostile action. The Humvee, designed during the Cold War, incorporated a light aluminum body so it could move fast on hilly European terrain. It has since added armor packages that increase protection, but they slow a fully armored Humvee to a speed that reduces its effectiveness and increases its vulnerability. The armor's extra weight also wears out vehicle parts more quickly, and the lack of air conditioning is a burden in hot desert terrain.

Land mines, Dudzik says, are a major survivability concern. Mines accounted for more than 60 percent of vehicle losses in Vietnam and Desert Storm. Even a fully armored Humvee is vulnerable to mine blasts. The new Marine Corps vehicles must incorporate dramatically increased resistance to explosions.

Power generation. Portable power is the third major issue GTRI is tackling. ONR wants the ULTRA 3T to provide up to a megawatt (one million watts) on the spot to power emerging battlefield concepts such as electro-static armor, which uses electricity for extra protection, and bunker-busting rail guns. Of course, such power could run command posts, communications gear and even power small villages.

ULTRA 3T plans call for a hybrid engine that combines diesel and electric power plants. That setup would not only aid power generation, but offer a silent electric mode when stealth is needed. Moreover, the new engine will give the ULTRA 3T the critical ability to move more swiftly out of harm's way. Pound for pound, today's diesels develop about twice the horsepower of the Humvee's 1970s engine. Plans call for an unloaded ULTRA 3T to go from zero to 60 miles an hour in 4.8 seconds.

Dudzik, whose expertise is in automotive consortium development, believes his team of academic researchers and industry professionals is the right match to develop these complex vehicles successfully, he notes. The team includes Badenoch, an auto industry advanced development and racing professional, who is now research manager of GTRI's Detroit office; Tom Moore, former Chrysler vice president of Liberty Operations, the company's advanced engineering center; Walt Wynbelt, former program executive officer with the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command; and Dave McLellan, the former Corvette chief engineer for General Motors.

"We each bring something to the party," McLellan says. "The military does not design vehicles on a regular basis, so they really don't keep in-house expertise as current as those of us in the automobile industry. At the same time, the GTRI researchers bring their unique research perspective in materials science and the more cutting-edge physics and engineering elements."

If preliminary plans hold, the ULTRA 3T will bristle with a welter of advanced "drive-by-wire" technologies designed to make driving the large, sophisticated vehicle safer than driving a sedan. Drive-by-wire, Dudzik explains, is an emerging computerized approach that's analogous to the systems that allow advanced fighter and passenger aircraft to fly with more stability than any human pilot could achieve unaided.

"Drive-by-wire can make a good driver great and an inexperienced or impaired driver much better," Dudzik says. That's important because many Marines are teen-agers with limited driving experience facing the stress of a battle zone, he adds.

GTRI's ULTRA work is linked directly to "e-safety," an emerging automotive concept that combines computers and advanced technologies to make driving safer, McLellan notes. In e-safety, night driving systems and stability control add security, while radar systems - already available in Europe - actually slow vehicles automatically under certain conditions. Such augmented vehicles are especially important when the driver is very young, very old or impaired.

One ULTRA 3T concept that could find its way into everyday vehicles is 360-degree visibility - a dashboard panorama available on an inboard screen. This approach would eliminate vulnerable windows in the ULTRA 3T, and it would also help many civilians, including the old and impaired who can't easily turn their heads. It should also help save fuel by eliminating wind-resisting outboard mirrors.

Designing a vehicle on a new sheet of paper is exciting, Badenoch says.

"It's very different from designing the next sport utility vehicle or even the next racing car," he adds. "There, you fundamentally know that everything has been done before and what the rules are. Here, we're taking a giant leap forward in technology to transform the battlefield."

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:06:21 AM EDT
new pics....









Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:08:43 AM EDT
From what I can see...as a gunner....me likey! Except.....no easy egress route, and no armored turret.

Second thought....it sucks.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:09:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 9:09:53 AM EDT by 4GodandCountry]
Well, at least the fucking French won't steal the design... those Cock Smokers would never drive

something that God awful ugly.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:09:44 AM EDT
Cool, but I would still like to see direct linkages to stuff like throttles and steering. You can make a fix that might last 5 minutes with a cable tie and a stick, which might be just enough to get out of a tight spot. Drive-by-wire and computer controlled everything..... a grunt can't fix with a little gum and some luck.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:10:07 AM EDT
Interesting seating arrangement.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:10:14 AM EDT
the conceptual pics....



Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:14:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By phatmax:
Cool, but I would still like to see direct linkages to stuff like throttles and steering. You can make a fix that might last 5 minutes with a cable tie and a stick, which might be just enough to get out of a tight spot. Drive-by-wire and computer controlled everything..... a grunt can't fix with a little gum and some luck.



Actually I'm not so sure about that, one thing to consider is that like a plane, it could have redundancy.
Thus in theory you could have multiple lines on the vehicle that if one went, another would switch over.
IIRC I think I remember reading that splicing fiber optic wires(assuming they use something like that) wasn't that big of a deal(ie quick fix). Then again I could be full of shit on that one.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:16:15 AM EDT
To me the visibility out of all those ports looks like a problem.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:19:39 AM EDT
ill have to nose around and see if there is anything interesting to apply for civilain off road use.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:19:50 AM EDT
Driver visability looks very limited, cant even look behind himself. Having 4 people escape through 2 doors is bad, especialy when one is damaged.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:20:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By phatmax:
Cool, but I would still like to see direct linkages to stuff like throttles and steering. You can make a fix that might last 5 minutes with a cable tie and a stick, which might be just enough to get out of a tight spot. Drive-by-wire and computer controlled everything..... a grunt can't fix with a little gum and some luck.



Exactly. Simplicity should not be overlooked. Too much reliance on electronics is a big mistake. The vehicles should be far less complicated than a shuttle launch. E-throttle and E-braking have been teh suck even in hi-end german luxocars, we don't need that crap in a military vehicle where glitches = potential death.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:22:28 AM EDT
teh ghey
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:23:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 9:24:24 AM EDT by ColonelKlink]
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:32:20 AM EDT
The RG-31 and Cougar are both in production now and provide the land mine and blast protection that they are trying to put into this.

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:33:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 4GodandCountry:
Well, at least the fucking French won't steal the design... those Cock Smokers would never drive

something that God awful ugly.



What did the Fwench steal ?
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:34:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2005 9:34:30 AM EDT by hardcorps1775]
amc is coming out with the humvee "cobra" (an almost identical copy of the french vbl) and the army is looking to replace the humvee altogether with working prototypes coming out in june. it was a stupid idea uparmoring them but i guess the .mil didn't want to go backwards and bring all those m113's back into service...you never EVER bring old shit back into service, no matter how good it is! if you do that, congress starts asking embarassing question like "why'd you get rid of it in the first place?". "why do you need all this money is you already have something sitting around that works just as well?"

you don't build your empire like that!!!

humvee cobra:


french vbl:
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:39:21 AM EDT
looks like a truck with a bathysphere stuck in the middle of it.

hope the concept comes about, but I also hope that one isn't it .



Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:40:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hardcorps1775:
amc is coming out with the humvee "cobra" (an almost identical copy of the french vbl) and the army is looking to replace the humvee altogether with working prototypes coming out in june. it was a stupid idea uparmoring them but i guess the .mil didn't want to go backwards and bring all those m113's back into service...you never EVER bring old shit back into service, no matter how good it is! if you do that, congress starts asking embarassing question like "why'd you get rid of it in the first place?". "why do you need all this money is you already have something sitting around that works just as well?"

you don't build your empire like that!!!

humvee cobra:
i15.photobucket.com/albums/a365/hardcorps1775/HumVeeCobra.jpg

french vbl:
i15.photobucket.com/albums/a365/hardcorps1775/FrenchVBL-Parade.jpg



The M113 would be crap here, and not fit the mission. The M1114 does a much better job wth less down tme, more flexibility, and no need to retrain units that never had 113's

The RG-31 is serving us very well and the government is buying as many as the factory can turn out. I would rather see them use the money to shift production to the USA and work out the manufacturing bugs than on all this crap that is not past the design phase and mostly redundant.


Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:45:40 AM EDT
How come "Jiffy-POP" comes to mind when I see these pics?
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:48:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ColonelKlink:

Originally Posted By 4GodandCountry:

Well, at least the fucking French won't steal the design... those Cock Smokers would never drive

something that God awful ugly.



Thats why its a concept, CONCEPT. I know thats hard for a lot of you people to understand. You are so quick to condemn things because they are ugly, instead of realizing the potential benefits of further developing a technology. The final production model, if there ever is one(unlikely), will probably look very different because this is a CONCEPT car. It's only purpose to to demonstrate the feasibility of certain technologies they have incorporated into its design. This vehicle will never go into production, but I am confident that we can learn things from it and incorporate them into other vehicles in the future.



Calm down, kiddo...
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:51:56 AM EDT
rg-31 is the cougar, right? those are top of the line along with the buff and the other south african vehicles.

i'm saying, though, that it was stupid to up armor a utility vehicle that was never designed to be a tank or apc when we have thousands of 113's sitting around gathering dust. we probably lost a few guys while the highers were trying to figure out what to buy next. i can definitely see there might have been a delay spooling these up though.

just out of curiosity, if they'd had some 113's ready to go, and guys trained to use them, are you saying they would have been wrong for iraq? too slow? too big? inquiring minds want to know!

Link Posted: 9/13/2005 9:54:47 AM EDT
You know...I asked a SGT who has been around long enough to remember the 113s. He told me, "Two words. RPG Magnet."

Apparently he htinks they would be worse than the 1114s they cruised around in for a year and ate (and survived - no KIAs in my unit) innumberable IED hits in.
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 10:13:05 AM EDT
I do not remember the M113 having any decent armor protection for land mines short of filling the crew areas with sandbags - you really want to roll past an IED in one of those?!? They are slower than X-Mas - top end around 35-40 on most (downhill with a tail wind) - God forbid you were in a 901 (which was significantly slower). It's not only a RPG magnet; it’s a small arms magnet since it moves soooo slow! They're miserable when the hatches are closed and in MOP4 - add the desert heat….

No thanks I drove them all for years (M577, M113, and M901).
Link Posted: 9/13/2005 11:23:44 AM EDT
Looking at the pics a bit more, it also seems very top heavy-high center of gravity. I wonder if it's "tippy" during cornering?
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