The Pentagon's New Concept Vehicle Ditches Armor For Speed
This new ground vehicle concept is way outside the box.
For over 100 years, protection for ground vehicles has always meant adding more armor, but that's not the case with DARPA's new concept vehicle. While the practice of adding armor yields more mass, cost, and protection, this vehicle's approach is to be much faster and utilize interesting technology to stop potential threats.
Meanwhile, modern weapons have significantly outpaced armor improvements. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to break the "more armor equals more protection" cycle by introducing the Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program.
According to DARPA, the program's mission is to:
- Reduce vehicle size and weight by 50 percent
- Reduce onboard crew needed to operate vehicle by 50 percent
- Increase vehicle speed by 100 percent
- Access 95 percent of terrain
- Reduce signatures that enable adversaries to detect and engage vehicles
To accomplish these goals, DARPA will develop advanced technologies in the following areas:
- Stealth – Reducing all traces that a vehicle is present. This includes visibility and other detection methods such as infrared and electromagnetic traces.
- Augmentation – This technology is what pilots have been using in cockpits for decades. It overlays graphics over their line of sight to enhance situation awareness. Augmentation technology has also found its way to cell phones and tablets, here and example of augmented reality in mobile devices.
- Agility – Naturally, anything that's lighter can move faster. But, DARPA plans to take it a step further by implementing technologies that will deploy without driver assistance, such as active repositioning of armor (0:30 of video) and dodging maneuvers (0:35 of video).
- Enhanced Mobility – The ability to navigate through rough terrain.
The following video of DARPA's concept vehicle focuses on agility rather than armor and it's unlike anything you've ever seen. Check it out: