Army's Ultra Light Vehicle Prototype
While existing military vehicle platforms attempt to balance payload, performance and protection, typical trade-offs result in platforms where survivability concerns have driven Gross Vehicle Weights upwards with negative effects on mobility and transportability. Developing a single vehicle that meets survivability, mobility and transportability criteria simultaneously while maintaining affordability has remained a DoD challenge. In early 2010, the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD), along with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), engaged the Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) as the executive agent for the Ultra Light Vehicle (ULV) Research Prototype effort. OSD expressed interest in exploring new "out-of-the-box" ideas as well as collaborating with non-traditional defense partners to rapidly develop a lightweight tactical concept vehicle with four primary research objectives (Payload, Performance, Protection, and Price) while emphasizing occupant-centric survivability. The effort called to investigate, research and develop light weight armor solutions and leverage DARPA-developed vehicular structural technologies. Additionally, the effort seeks to integrate other new, innovative, weight-reducing technologies such as a lightweight diesel engine, hybrid-electric drive, lightweight wheels and tires and improved long stroke suspension. The approach aims to create synergistic survivability; technologies integrated together would produce a greater result than with any of the technologies independently. The development of multiple ULVs for testing and evaluation could also feed data to help shape/inform tactical vehicle programs and technology demonstrator efforts to maximize the overall investment return.