Vehicle Electronics and Architecture
The Vehicle Electronics and Architecture (VEA) technical area was formed in January 2009 to improve TARDEC’s responsiveness to its enterprise partners’ emerging needs and to better address requirements. VEA, part of TARDEC’s Research Technology and Integration (RTI) Group, aims to develop technologies, processes, and capabilities while maintaining the over-arching architecture of hardware and software systems that support Army ground vehicles. VEA encompasses the requirements for developing the right engineering integration solutions.
The VEA group has reorganized itself in order to better support the ever-evolving needs of partners in terms of electronic architecture. 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 on 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 subgroups electromagnetic environmental effects, intra-vehicle data networks, computers and component thermal and 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.
There are several major programs that VEA is working on that will help enhance and support the current and future ground vehicle fleet.
The VICTORY architecture is being developed as a solution to the “bolt-on” approach to integrating C4ISR systems into ground vehicles, which inhibits functionality, negatively impacts the vehicle’s size, weight and power and limits space for the crew. VICTORY will reduce these issues by embedding these systems directly into the platform. It provides a framework architecture, standard specifications and design guideline input.
The development of a Common SIL will create a system-of-systems integration laboratory capability to support vehicle modernization efforts, demonstrate advanced technologies, and build the expertise of the workforce. Comprised of two separate SILs – a VEA Research SIL housed at TARDEC and a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) SIL located at the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center — the Common SIL will link together through the Defense Research and Engineering Network to create an 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.