Daily Archives: Sep 12, 2011

Supacat have added a new, lightweight, super agile military variant of the Rally Raid proven Wildcat into its military, special purpose vehicle family. The new Wildcat offers a high performance, off road vehicle for special forces, border patrol, reconnaissance, rapid intervention and strike roles.

“Compared to other ‘Modified Off The Shelf’ vehicles, the Wildcat is on a different level in terms of performance and durability” said Jamie Clarke, Sales and Marketing Manager, Supacat. ”It has the race results to prove it can perform in the desert and other environments, it is light and agile yet big enough to carry the sub-systems required on operations. As military vehicles have become heavier and more expensive due to increased protection requirements, we perceive that there is a gap in the market for a platform like the Wildcat.

Supacat has transformed the Wildcat Rally Racer into a special purpose military vehicle optimized for special operations and quick reaction operations. The prototype displayed by the company also carried the new Thales / Kongsberg Super Light remotely operated weapon station. Photo: Supacatvehicle

According to Supacat, the new vehicle is filling a significant gap that currently exists between lightweight and less expensive high mobility platforms such as quad bikes and the heavier, more specialist and well renowned Jackal. The company teamed with Wildcat Design Authority, QT Services, the developer of the vehicle to transform the race car into an affordable, off-road military variant of the Wildcat 500 DKR which was proved highly effective in off-road races such as the Paris-Dakar race. Beyond the prototype phase, Supacat will be responsible for militarizing the vehicle, including systems integration and volume production. As other Supacat specialized vehicles such as the Jackal and SPV400, the Wildcat will be offered with lightweight armor protection, weapons and communications systems, to meet specific requirements.

The military Wildcat prototype was displayed armed with Thales supplied version of the Kongsberg Super Light remotely operated weapon station, fitted with 600 rounds in the ready round bin. The weapon is controlled by a joystick or 'thumb controller' with the target viewed by daylight or night camera on the display inside the vehicle. Photo: Supacat

According to Clarke, Supacat has a history of successfully using the motorsport industry to enhance its vehicles, for example, the Jackal has over 14 motorsport companies in its supply chain. However, the Wildcat represents a new level of integration of motorsport solutions for military use as it is the first time an entire platform is adapted into a military vehicle.

The Wildcat has a tubular space-frame chassis and state of the art suspension with an outstanding reputation for rugged reliability. With a Gross Vehicle Weight of 2580kg and size (3800mm x 1755mm) it is easily air portable. Maximum speed is 106 mph (170km/h) and range is 2000km. The Wildcat is available with specially developed air conditioning to greatly reduce crew fatigue. It also shares some parts with Land Rover so the logistic footprint is reduced for any military customer who already has Land Rovers in service. Supacat will be displaying a militarized variant of Wildcat at DSEi in September.

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Supacat is unveiling the production standard Supacat Protected Vehicle 400 (SPV400) at the DSEi 2011 exhibition in London. According to Supacat, the production standard level attributes to the vehicle’s level of reliability, improved ride and handling performance, achieved through the past 12 months development program.

“The new production standard SPV400 is a significantly improved vehicle from the early prototypes". Photo: Supacat

A rear view of the production version of the SPV400. Photo: Supacat

The first prototypes of the SPV400 were used for the evaluation and assessment of the new vehicle for the UK MoD’s MoD’s Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) requirement. The vehicle was one of the two finalists for this program, eventually won by Force Protection Europe’s Ocelot. Despite the LPPV setback Supacat continued to develop the SPV400 light protected patrol vehicle to meet international demand for this new class of vehicle in military and non-military markets. “The new production standard SPV400 is a significantly improved vehicle from the early prototypes. We have achieved new levels of reliability, handling and overall usability in the automotive design that surpass those required by LPPV”, said Nick Ames, Managing Director, Supacat. “This is a vastly different vehicle from the one we had twelve months ago and we’re proud of the progress we’ve made”.

Through these tests the vehicles were subjected to over 10,000 km of reliability testing with over 70% conducted off-road, more than doubling the total trials distances undertaken during the LPPV assessment. The 7th production vehicle displayed here also features improved maintainability, a revised driver interface and new front end styling.

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Zephyr protected vehicle designed by Creation is displayed at DSEi 2011 in a new configuration, reflecting the latest upgrade variant. The vehicle is now available in two- and three-axle configurations. Zephyr’s protection architecture features a composite ‘occupant survival cell’ employing a V-form belly plate and an integral blast mitigation system. The vehicle offers basic protection specified for minimum STANAG 4569 level 2 mine protection and level 2-3 KE protection. Fragment protection is taken to level 4.  ‘LifeSeat One’ blast protecting seats were also installed, isolating the passenger from extreme body shock and skeletal injury potential resulting from IED and mine blasts.

Zephyr Multi-Role Vehicle (MRV) from Creation UK. The platform has been configured to provide a wide range of missions, both combat, combat support, logistics etc. Photo: Creation UK

Zephyr design concept envisaged a fully functional rolling Mine Resistant Underframe (MRU), configured with protected, soft-skin or demountable top cabs, citadels or other structures. Production ready units have sofar focused around protected patrol vehicle requirements, whilst concurrent design and pre-production studies have addressed other applications including specialist vehicles, pick-up utility vehicles, light logistics cargo carriers, and demountable shelters. Combat support configurations also include troop carriers, command and control, weapons mounted installation kit (WMIK), reconnaissance and battlefield ambulance. The vehicle has seating layouts accommodating from two to twelve occupants, with more space allocated mission systems and weapons fit.

As part of the recent upgrade Zephyr was equipped with extreme-duty nitrogen-based suspension, replacing airbag systems which were considered more vulnerable in combat. The MRU can accommodate a range of powertrain options, dependent on end user preference and specification. The power train elements including the cooling pack, engine, automatic transmission and transfer box are mounted on a quick change ‘cassette’ offering rapid access and removal. This permits main powertrain components to be removed for major repair of maintenance in about one hour. The high pressure sealed nitrogen strut unit features an integral damper and internal bump stop offering an intrinsically safe – and retained mobility failure mode. Additional features include fully integrated health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS) and the capability to support exportable power requirements. The new system, carries no additional weight penalty.The vehicle is sized to enable air transportability within C130 and above – or underslung below CH47. Depending on configuration and protection level, the three-axle variant is designed to meet and exceed improved medium mobility (IMM) criteria with a 4 tonne payload.

Zephyr Multi-Role Vehicle is offered in 4x4 and 6x6 armored, blast protected configurations. Photo: Creation UK

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Universal Advanced Systems and Creation is displaying the ‘LifeSeat One’ blast protecting seats at DSEi 2011. The new seats are isolate the passenger from extreme body shock and skeletal injury potential resulting from IED and mine blasts. According to the developer, the latest iteration of the seat shown at DSEi, installed in the two-axle Zephyr MRV have performed exceptionally well in trials. The unit is now entering volume production and has been downselected for a number of major UK and European programs. The Life Seat One is already fitted to Universal’s Ranger 002 and 003 armor protected vehicles.

The new LifeSeat One from Universal Advanced Systems employs advanced, dynamic energy absorbing technologies (part of which is visible in the back seats' twin coil and shock absorbing mechanism providing a stroke length of up to 90 mm. The seat is designed to reduce blast loads of over 100g down to 20g. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

The seat bucket has hydraulically damped and upwardly limited vertical free movement on its mounting frame. The frame – not the seat bucket itself – is mounted to the side of the vehicle and there is no fastening or rigid fixture between the floor of the vehicle and the underside of the seat. In the event of a blast therefore, the seat will rise in a controlled ascent, mitigating any severe shock being transmitted to the spine through the seat structure.

At the heart of the design are two captive vertical tubes to which the seat bucket is attached by linear bearings. Two high performance telescopic hydraulic dampers with concentric coil springs and a progressive elastomer buffer are installed between the mounting frame and the lower section of the seat bucket. The seat bucket itself is fabricated in two parts, to allow a soldier in full battle dress to sit firmly with a 4-point Securon harness for restraint.

Tests with a fully instrumented dummy and a 95 percentile weighted mannequin have demonstrated that body travel is strictly controlled and progressive – significantly reducing skeletal shock and potential organ damage.

In 2010, both the blast-mitigating seat package and the two-axle Zephyr variant were utilized for a range of specialist scientific and fully instrumented blast tests. The work was part of two major multi-stakeholder collaborative programs for the UK MoD – Blast Event Vehicle Integrity System (BEVIS) and Military Accident Data Recorder (MADR). The programs were led by leading motorsport technology group, Cosworth, with the involvement of a number of specialist scientific and research organizations, as well as Creation.

The tests, verified to undisclosed international standards, have proved not only the blast mitigating capability of the Zephyr vehicle and the special seat design – the occupant survived injury free – but have led to the successful development of a groundbreaking and advanced engineering data, vehicle integrity and incident analysis program, which will significantly impact on future design and survivability of protected vehicle platforms.

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The new family of light protected patrol vehicles soon to be inducted in service will require new support systems, particularly recovery systems enhancing the mobility and self recovery of such vehicles, and recovery vehicles capable of moving and operating in confined urban spaces where the LPPV will typically operate. Two british companies addressing these requirements debut such systems at DSEi 2011.

The Lightweight Recovery Vehicle (LRV) making its international market debut at DSEi 2011 was developed by Penman-EKA, a newly formed joint venture between recovery vehicle specialist EKA, and Penman.

The EKA recovery equipment is integrated onto a specialist ‘skid’ built by Penman, which closely matches the operational requirements for both recovery and automotive performance. In operation, the new unit is effectively similar to a downscaled version of the larger SuperCompact equipment. Photo: Penman


The new vehicle was designed as a powerful yet manoeuvrable recovery platform designed to support the new class of protected lightweight vehicles. These small, protected vehicles may require rescue from narrow and confined locations such as village streets – where heavier, full-width recovery vehicles cannot penetrate. The first LRV vehicle to be built is based on the DURO 3 6×6 re-roled logistics chassis from General Dynamics Europe, forming a compact, 2.16 metre width LRV. It incorporates key elements from the EKA SuperCompact system incorporated with the fleet of Support Vehicle (Recovery), currently in service with the UK MoD, thereby reducing and simplifying logistics support. According to the developers, the concept has been designed for application and integration with other suitable vehicle platforms.

The EKA recovery equipment is integrated onto a specialist ‘skid’ built by Penman, which closely matches the operational requirements for both recovery and automotive performance. In operation, the new unit is effectively similar to a downscaled version of the larger SuperCompact equipment.

The recovery boom assembly comprises a telescopic rectangular section, the inner box of which carries the recovery bar assembly. The boom provides a maximum lift rating of 6 tonnes and a maximum casualty vehicle weight capability of 15 tonnes. An 8 tonne constant-pull capstan winch is fitted and, in order to anchor the vehicle when winching to the rear, two 8 tonne rated anchor spades are provided to enable two-part pulls to be carried out.

Safe stand-off remote operation of the recovery system is controlled from a chest pack with a 10 metre umbilical, connected to a frame mounted control box on the vehicle. The chest pack features graduable paddle joysticks (suitable for gloved operation) for boom in/out, boom up/down and recovery bar levelling.

Apart from the specialist ‘skid’ onto which the recovery system is integrated, Penman has upgraded and modified the vehicle platform to meet anticipated operational requirements. An additional cab seat is provided within the fully armoured tilt cab – as are riot grilles and a cab escape facility. Up-rated heavy duty springs, shock absorbers and off-road tyres have been added to further enhance the vehicle’s all-terrain performance. Other features include full fitment for current in-service ECM and EECM, including power provision and cooling.

The first LRV vehicle to be built is based on the DURO 3 6x6 re-roled logistics chassis from General Dynamics Europe, forming a compact, 2.16 metre width LRV. Photo: Penman

Multimount winch system offers self-recovery solution for new or legacy fleet

The Oldbury Multimount winch system includes front and rear winch carriers, supporting flexible installations. Photo: Oldbury UK

Enhancing the mobility of military vehicles can also utilise self-recovery capability, employing powered winch systems. A typical system developed by Oldbury UK uses a patented Multimount system developed for the next generation of protected and soft-skin vehicles. The system comprises front and rear winch ‘carriers’, integrated onto the platform, utilising the vehicle’s existing lifting / recovery eyes and standard towing pintle and jaw. The winch itself can be mounted quickly and simply fitted or released, without using special tools. The system accommodates commonly available winches. The use of a single winch covering both front and rear self-recovery requirements reduces both payload and on-board inventory. The unit can be lifted and installed by two persons.

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