Thursday, June 3, 2010

BAE CV90 Armadillo

The Global Combat Systems sector of Britain's BAE Systems will reveal the new Armadillo concept of its CV90 armored combat vehicle family at the Eurosatory 2010 trade show outside Paris.The latest iteration in a vehicle line that has won more than 1,100 orders, CV90 Armadillo is intended to bring a high level of flexibility in payload and battlefield utility to a new range of vehicles using common CV90 components, according to the company.

"This is a concept of a flexible family of vehicles of modular type built around the CV90 platform," said Hakan Karlsson, vice president of marketing communications for BAE Global Combat Systems in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.

An ideal armored combat vehicle, Karlsson said, offers a balance between high mobility, high payload and extremely high protection; should have a practical and effective interface for digitally equipped soldiers and the digital battlespace; should be reliable and affordable; and above all, offer a low logistics footprint. This has been the ethos behind the development of the Armadillo build standard, Karlsson told journalists May 27 in a London briefing.

BAE has analyzed the degree of commonality between variants in existing CV90 vehicles, and overlaid on this the benefits of a modular approach to future variants based on the Armadillo standard. Based on cost, engineering effort expended and the number of major common components, the company believes it can achieve between 65 percent and 88 percent commonality for turreted, personnel carrier and specialist engineering vehicles.

The real payoff for the Armadillo comes in its available payload of 16 metric tons, according to Karlsson. In its armored personnel carrier form, the CV90 Armadillo will weigh in at 26 metric tons, leaving 9 metric tons of payload availability, which can be traded off against higher levels of protection.

The standard level of protection is already high. "Resistance to mines in the 8-10 kilogram area is already considered pretty good - we have achieved protection well in excess of the 10 kilogram bracket; we are setting new standards with the Armadillo program," Karlsson said.

Armor protection also is high, at "well above Level 5," and the entire vehicle architecture has been built with ease of interoperability with tomorrow's digital soldier in mind.

Equipped with a Saab LEDS150 hard-kill self-protection system, a BAE Lemur remote weapon station, and external fire suppression equipment to deal with urban warfare attacks from Molotov cocktails and the like, the Armadillo family will include ambulance, mortar, personnel carrier, command-and-control, logistics support and recovery variants, depending on customer demand.

Future development may well examine other variants, such as a vehicle-launched bridge, with a continued focus on improving the payload/protection balance, according to Karlsson.

Questioned on the degree to which the design had taken into account the development of soldier modernization programs, Karlsson responded that there are several challenges that need to be balanced.

"We need to provide adequate power and cooling, ensure we can cope with handling and sharing tactical information with the crew, and also maintain a useful level of useable payload and space," he said.


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