Army Recognizes Efforts to Strengthen Forces
This year, the Army honored 153 science and technology (S&T) experts with Research and Development Achievement (RDA) Awards to recognize the best achievements coming from the 13,000 engineers, scientists and researchers who work on S&T advancements that make a difference for Soldiers.
Four of the awards honored TARDEC teams.
TARDEC associates won three Outstanding Collaboration awards for C4ISR integration, advanced Reactive Armor Tiles and the RPG Defeat System, and one Outstanding Technical Leadership award for the Caiman EFP Kit project. The Army announced the RDA Award winners in May for projects developed in 2012.
TARDEC Engineers Envision Future Mobility Designs
TARDEC engineers are venturing into uncharted vehicle development territory by exploring future mobility systems that align with the Army's 30-year vision. The Mobility Demonstrator project drives the engineering team to envision future concepts and reshape the designs for Army vehicle systems.
In the spirit of TARDEC's organizational motto to "challenge the existing paradigm,"Ground Vehicle Power and Mobility (GVPM) engineers assembled the team to propose innovations. In October 2012, the Mobility Demonstrator team began exploring advanced concepts that offer modularity, advanced drive trains and flexible components through a variety of technologies and systems including common chassis, wheels-to-tracks transformation systems, advanced suspension systems, high power-dense engines, electrified propulsion systems, advanced energy storage systems and thermal management systems.
Heidi Shyu relays long-range objectives
The Army's top acquisition executive, Heidi Shyu, told TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) associates that the Secretary of the Army's toughest challenge will be balancing priorities and filling capability gaps in an uncertain fiscal environment. She also praised associates doing the research and development that keeps the Army mobile and vehicles survivable.
"I have a world of respect for what you're doing. You're doing such an awesome job," commented Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASAALT) and Army Acquisition Executive, during an April Town Hall address in the TARDEC Auditorium. "It's so important for us to work together toward the same goals — it's the only way we will be successful. We're all here to support the Soldier. There is no other reason for us to be here."
Team's Efforts Protect Soldiers, Environment
A couple of years ago, the heating, cooling and refrigeration industry discovered that a substance known as R40 in refrigerant products was contaminating previously reliable blends and posing the risk of explosions. The Army believed it had these counterfeit blends in many of its Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles and other military vehicles.
TARDEC formed a Counterfeit Refrigerant Impact Team to investigate how to keep the potentially dangerous counterfeit refrigerant blend from being used in Army vehicles and recommend actions to protect Soldiers and the environment. That group's efforts have now been recognized with the Secretary of the Army's Environmental Award and the Secretary of Defense's Award for Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition, Small Program (being presented in a July 10 presentation at the Pentagon).
Brainstorming Design Session Breaks Down Creative Barriers
When U.S. Army Tank, Automotive, Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) engineers, students from a respected Detroit automotive design school and Soldiers with recent experience overseas work together on ground vehicle design over the same drafting tables, you have an event where creativity meets functionality in a novel way for the Army.
At a recent Innovations Solutions Training Event, TARDEC engineers welcomed College for Creative Studies (CCS) design students, along with highly experienced Army warrant officers from Fort Lee, VA, to collaborate on ideas for two current TARDEC projects: a Mobility Demonstrator and a Virtual Window for armored vehicles. The Mobility Demonstrator is a future vehicle that can be either tracked or wheeled and focuses on flexibility. The Virtual Window allows Soldiers seated in the back of an armor-encased vehicle, such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, to see what’s behind them before opening the rear doors.
Leno Drives Army’s Original Fuel Efficient Demonstrator
The Army has a long-term goal of increasing the fuel efficiency of its entire fleet and the Fuel Efficient Demonstrator (FED) vehicles were built to help accomplish that. Late night talk show host Jay Leno has a goal of exploring all things automotive on his web series “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
Those two objectives came together recently when Leno welcomed Army Materiel Command’s (AMC’s) Commanding General, GEN Dennis L. Via, and AMC Chief Technology Officer Dr. Grace Bochenek to his online program to showcase the FED Alpha — the first of two vehicles TARDEC and teams of industry and academic partners developed to evaluate fuel-saving systems on a military platform.
Heftier UGV Offers More Lifting, Hauling Strength
A small car can’t pull a heavy trailer. Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) don’t have a compact car’s fuel efficiency. A perfect, one-size-fits-all vehicle doesn’t exist. The same goes for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).
Soldiers use UGVs— such as the 40-pound PackBot or the larger, 115-pound TALON — to detect and defeat roadside bombs, gain situational awareness, detect chemical and radiological agents, and increase the standoff distance between Soldiers and potentially dangerous situations. Just as SUVs offer utility smaller cars can’t match, larger UGVs provide capabilities not available with smaller platforms.