DARPA plans development of new armour technologies for ground vehicles
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a new programme for the development of new ground-vehicle technologies, which would increase mobility, effectiveness and survivability of future armoured fighting vehicles.
The Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) programme seeks a 50% reduction in a vehicle's size, weight and the onboard crew needed for its operation, as well as an 100% increase in vehicle speed.
In addition, the programme aims to develop technologies that are designed to reduce signatures, such as visible, infrared, acoustic and electromagnetic, which enable adversaries to detect, engage and destroy vehicles.
DARPA is also interested in the ability to traverse diverse off-road terrain, including slopes and various elevations.
The improved mobility and soldier capability is expected to enable future US ground forces to more efficiently and cost-effectively deal with varied and unpredictable combat scenarios.
DARPA programme manager Kevin Massey said: "GXV-T's goal is not just to improve or replace one particular vehicle, it is about breaking the 'more armour' paradigm and revolutionising protection for all armoured fighting vehicles.
"Inspired by how X-plane programmes have improved aircraft capabilities over the past 60 years, we plan to pursue groundbreaking fundamental research and development to help make future armoured fighting vehicles significantly more mobile, effective, safe and affordable."
The current trend of heavy, more expensive and less mobile combat platforms has limited soldiers' ability to rapidly deploy and manoeuvre in battlefield and accomplish their missions in varied and evolving threat environments.
The GXV-T programme intends to pursue research, development, design, testing and evaluation of major subsystem capabilities in multiple technology areas, with the goal of integrating the capabilities into future ground X-vehicle demonstrations.
The initial contracts are expected to be awarded before April 2015, while GXV-T technologies will be developed in the 24 months from the contract award date.
DARPA is holding a Proposers' Day on 5 September at its offices in Virginia, US, to familiarise potential participants with the programme's technical objectives.
Image: An artistic impression of DARPA's GVX-T protection technologies. Photo: courtesy of DARPA.