TARDEC manages five Technology Focus Areas that reflect our primary duties as the Army's research, development, engineering, testing and analysis specialists for ground vehicles and equipment. TARDEC provides technical expertise, systems engineering support and innovative solutions across these broad categories to improve our forces' technological readiness and operational capabilities.
Ground Vehicle Power and Mobility
Our Ground Vehicle Power and Mobility (GVPM) group develops solutions that meet customer needs and ensure our Soldiers have mission-capable combat and tactical vehicles that operate reliably in any environment. GVPM provides technical support to customers, other TARDEC teams and government agencies in many vehicle power and mobility systems.
Advanced technology solutions include combat and tactical vehicle powertrains, thermal management technologies, vehicle auxiliary power units, advanced batteries, vehicle onboard power generation and electrification, high performance lightweight track systems and suspension systems for tracked and wheeled vehicles.
When combined with the testing resources in TARDEC’s world-class Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory (GSPEL), GVPM teams provide research, development and engineering support for advances such as reducing fuel consumption, enhancing mobility and increasing electrical power. The resulting benefits for the warfighter include extended operational range, improved reliability, increased onboard electrical power for situational awareness, networked operations, improved lethality and survivability and increased capabilities to effectively complete the mission.
Ground Systems Survivability (GSS)
Ground Systems Survivability seeks to be recognized as the Army ground vehicle survivability integration leaders focused on a design that is flexible, modular, adaptable and smart for Occupant Centric Survivability. This is executed through technology maturation, integration, demonstration and analyses to meet mid- and long-range ground vehicle survivability objectives for current force requirements and to ensure technological growth for future force requirements.
GSS engineers are focused on providing ground vehicle platforms with affordable and manufacturable integrated armor solutions, integrated hit avoidance technology suites, occupant and underbody protection technologies, enhanced vehicle fire protection, laser protection technologies, mechanical countermine and other associated systems to mitigate current and emerging threats. A significant ongoing effort is the Occupant Centric Platform (OCP) design program, which seeks to build vehicle protection around the Soldier while reducing weight to maintain agility. OCP evaluates the impact of each safety measure by installing systems on engineering test bed vehicles with the goal of reducing casualties by 50 percent over baseline.
Ground Vehicle Robotics (GVR)
Ground Vehicle Robotics develops robotic technologies and robotic systems for manned and unmanned ground vehicles. In the past decade approximately 8,000 unmanned platforms have been fielded for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. These platforms have performed in explosive ordnance/counter-IED, surveillance, reconnaissance and Soldier support roles.
GVR engineers work with the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office (RS JPO) to provide robotic technologies and engineering support for the joint service programs managed by the JPO. TARDEC works with RS JPO to develop Robotics Interoperability Profiles (IOPs), which define standards for modularity and common interfaces for researchers and suppliers. IOPs promote lower-cost and easily upgradable components that provide joint service and multi-national interoperability.
GVR Engineers are also developing new power and energy solutions, mobility technologies to extend missions, machine perception and behavior performance to allow robots to work in teams, and extended range and tele-operation of unmanned platforms to enhance the reach of robotics.
Force Projection Technology (FPT)
The Force Projection Technology area is the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) executive agent for ground fuels and lubricants, and the lead DoD Lab for water supply and wastewater treatment. FPT provides the research, development and engineering support for all ground fuels and lubricants, water purification and handling, military bridging, material handling, mechanical countermine and counter-IED equipment. Before fielding any synthetic or alternative fuels, or lubricant technologies, FPT scientists and engineers ensure products meet performance and environmental requirements.
Force Projection facilities include petroleum, oil and lubricants laboratories, water laboratories and equipment test areas, and a freshwater test site and Dynamic Structural Load Simulation Laboratory at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. TARDEC tests water purification, packaging and distribution systems at the U.S. Navy base in Port Hueneme, CA. FPT also manages the Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility at Southwest Research Institute and the Army Petroleum Laboratory.
Vehicle Electronics and Architecture
The Vehicle Electronics and Architecture (VEA) technical area was formed in January 2009 to develop electronics and electrical power technologies, processes and capabilities, while maintaining the overarching architecture of hardware and software systems that support Army ground vehicles. The VEA group recently reorganized itself to better support the evolving electronic architecture needs of its partners. TARDEC’s VEA now consists of three main groups—Electrical Power, Vehicle Architectures, and Systems Integration Laboratories & Customer Support—with teams supporting multiple subgroups.
The Electrical Power group includes power architecture and management, electrical power components research and development and auxiliary systems. Its primary focus is integrating electronic items with respect to size, weight, power and other environmental issues, as well as providing power for sensors and the capability to communicate data. The group also works with low, medium and high-voltage power.
Vehicle Architectures is made up of the subgroups electromagnetic environmental effects, intra-vehicle data networks, computers and component thermal, plus the Vehicular Integration for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance/Electronic Warfare (C4ISR/EW) Interoperability (VICTORY) architecture team. The Vehicle Architectures group works to develop hardware and software that enables communication and data sharing among various electronic devices and computing elements within a vehicle.
Systems Integration Laboratories (SILs) and Customer Support
The SILs and Customer Support group is primarily composed of the engineers and facilities that support the program management offices. Current support activities include matrix engineers for PM-Heavy Brigade Combat Team, PM-Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), PM-Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP), PEO Combat Support & Combat Systems Support, and the Integrated Logistics Support Center. This group also maintains SIL facilities to support PM-SBCT and PM-MRAP, and is working to develop the VEA Research SIL component for the Research Development Engineering Command Common SIL initiative.
Major Programs supporting the current and future ground vehicle fleets:
VICTORY architecture was developed as a solution to the “bolt-on” approach of adding C4ISR systems in ground vehicles, which inhibits space for the crew and functionality, and impacts size, weight and power. VICTORY alleviates these issues by designing these systems directly into the platform. It provides a framework architecture, standard specifications and design guidelines input.
VEA Research SIL
The VEA Research SIL provides a system-of-systems integration work space to support vehicle modernization efforts, demonstrate advanced technologies and build workforce expertise. Comprised of two separate labs — the VEA Research SIL housed at TARDEC and the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) SIL located at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) — the SIL will be linked through the Defense Research and Engineering Network to create end-to-end simulation and evaluation capability.
Electrical Power Standards
The development of an electrical power architecture will allow seamless electrical integration of any load that converts or consumes electrical power. Similar to the VICTORY architecture, but for electrical power, it creates commonalities of loads and power conversion devices for any ground vehicle that adopts the standards. Creating and adopting common voltage standards and electrical power architectures for new start and modernization programs leads to common components and plug-and-play ability between platforms, common implementations and control schemes that reduce training, and a common approach to achieving safety for high voltage systems.