A concept vehicle designed to illustrate potentialtechnology options for improving survivability and mobility in futuremilitary combat vehicles is being shown publicly for the first timeat a military technology meeting in Virginia.
The event, "Modern Day Marine Expo," is being held at the Marine Corps Air Facility in Quantico, Va. (Sept. 13-15).
Theconcept vehicle, known as the ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol), was built tohelp the U.S. military evaluate multiple science and technology options-- including ballistic and mine protection -- that could benefit futurevehicle design. The concept vehicle combines proven vehicletechnologies with advanced materials and engineering concepts.
Researchand development for the ULTRA has been conducted by the Georgia TechResearch Institute (GTRI), which led a unique team of researchengineers from both GTRI and the automotive industry. The researchinitiative has been sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
"Bybringing together experienced commercial vehicle designers with expertsin advanced materials and cutting-edge engineering, we are providing atest bed for evaluating technologies that can help the military developtrue 'leap-ahead' concepts," said David Parekh, GTRI's deputy director."By including persons with high-performance automotive engineering andNASCAR expertise as part of our team, we were able to root thisadvanced concepts project in real-world vehicle design."
TheULTRA AP emphasizes high-output diesel power combined with advancedarmor and a fully modern chassis. The design matches the best of moderncommercial automotive technology with racing experience, explained GaryCaille, a GTRI principal research engineer.
In the ULTRA AP, theGTRI/industry team has made improvements in two key areas by taking asystems approach to survivability and safety:
Survivability: Thisfactor involves a vehicle's ability to shield occupants from hostileaction. The ULTRA AP will feature novel design concepts and researchadvances in lightweight and cost-effective armor to maximize capabilityand protection. The new armor was designed at GTRI in partnership withthe Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. Thevehicle also incorporates a "blast bucket" designed to provideballistic, blast and enhanced roll-over protection. New vehicle designsmust incorporate dramatically increased resistance to explosions causedby mines and improvised explosive devices, Caille noted.
Safetywith Performance: The ULTRA design explored the use of on-boardcomputers to integrate steering, suspension and brakes to provide anunparalleled level of mobility and safety, Caille added. The newvehicle's integrated chassis represents an advancement over the mostadvanced current production vehicles.
The ULTRA AP project hasbeen supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as part of itsmission of investigating and assessing new technologies for militaryuse. By providing the ULTRA AP concept vehicle for the U.S. MarineCorps and U.S. Army to study, ONR expects to spur innovative thinkingand gather feedback on the ideas being demonstrated.
Indeveloping the ULTRA AP, GTRI brought together a group of industryprofessionals that included Scott Badenoch, an auto industry advanceddevelopment and racing professional; Tom Moore, former Chrysler vicepresident of Liberty Operations, the company's advanced engineeringcenter; Walt Wynbelt, former program executive officer with the U.S.Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command, and Dave McLellan, theformer Corvette chief engineer for General Motors.
The ULTRAproject is linked directly to "e-safety," an emerging automotiveconcept that combines computers and advanced technologies to makedriving safer, McLellan noted. In e-safety, night driving systems andstability control add security, while radar systems -- alreadyavailable in Europe -- actually slow vehicles automatically undercertain conditions.
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