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The US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has awarded a Phase II small business innovation research (SBIR) contract to Loc Performance Products, to continue an upgrade of the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle’s (IFV) mobility system.

Under the contract, the company will continue development and evaluation of its recommended Phase I technical approach that enhances the drive’s torque capacity and also adds the quick driveline disconnect feature.

Loc had developed three potential approaches for a future drive design under the Phase I SBIR award, which underwent testing to help TARDEC finalise a design approach that best balances cost, weight and performance for the future drive system.

Besides offering 100% more torque than existing design and reducing energy losses by 20%, Loc’s gear technology is also claimed be capable of maintaining the existing vehicle interfaces, and providing the vehicle with opportunity for future growth.

Designed to help the driver safely engage and disengage the driveline, the quick disconnect technology will also be available for insertion on current final drive, or as an integrated solution to a new and enhanced final drive.

Loc Performance Products Product Development director Chad Darr said Loc’s technology is transferable for cost-efficient driveline upgrades on all military ground platforms utilised in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle’s (HMMWV) geared wheel hub, M1 Abrams final drive, and the assault amphibious vehicle’s (AAV) final drive.

"The combined design and production work will not only engineer innovative capability improvements…but ultimately save millions of dollars by lowering production costs."

”The technology is also transferable to new vehicle programmes like the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) and the ground combat vehicle (GCV) programmes where weight and space claim optimisation are desirable and necessary attributes," Darr said.

Loc Performance Products’ president Lou Burr said the company seeks to utilise the resources provided by the SBIR programme, with its expertise in providing thousands of high value Bradley fighting vehicle, M1, M88, M9 ACE and AAV vehicle final drives.

”The combined design and production work will not only engineer innovative capability improvements that meet the diverse requirements of the US military, but ultimately save millions of dollars by lowering production costs and increasing the mileage between major overhauls," Burr said.

The contract’s value and performance period remain undisclosed.

Image: US Army soldier fuels a Bradley fighting vehicle during field training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, US. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.

Defence Technology