m-atv

An unmanned TerraMax mine-clearing vehicle, followed by equally unmanned TerraMax cargo trucks.

The future of military robotics may not look much like a robot. It may just be a truck that drives itself. That’s the simple, pragmatic approach pursued by Oshkosh — a company better known for trucks than Terminators — with its TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle. But after eight years of experiments for three different military… Keep reading →

AUSA: It may sound ambitious, even hubristic, that the Army wants to fold all its modernization programs into a single 30-year plan. But the long-range look is all about living within limits.

The service wants to keep researching and developing 21st century weapons like the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) truck and the tank-like Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), but it is also knows it must keep 1980s designs like the Humvee and the M1 Abrams tank for years to come. This sets up a nasty cycle. The more the new stuff gets cut, the longer the old stuff has to last, which requires careful investment in maintenance and upgrades. Keep reading →

The bomb exploded like a dusty thunderclap directly underneath the front left tire of the U.S. Army MaxxPro truck, sending the tall, roughly 20-ton vehicle lurching at least 10 feet forward and scattering chunks of the outer hull like amputated body parts.

It was March 19, 2011, in the Pakhab-e-Shana in eastern Afghanistan’s breadbasket Logar Province. The bomb, later estimated at 250 pounds, had targeted a convoy belonging to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division carrying humanitarian aid to the impoverished village. Keep reading →

The Army’s new, streamlined approach to improving its battlefield networks took a big step forward this week when five MRAP armored trucks with the latest digital communications gear shipped out to be tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Testing at Aberdeen is the last major hurdle before fielding what’s called “Capability Set 13″ to Afghanistan-bound soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division this October. It comes just six months after design work began on the vehicle upgrades and just three months after the proposed technologies underwent extensive testing in the New Mexico desert under the new “Network Integration Evaluation” process, which a recent Defense Business Board report held up as a model for more rapid acquisition of new technology. Keep reading →

[updated 4:00 pm with AM General comment] The Army and Marines took a big step towards replacing their vulnerable Humvees and lumbering MRAPs yesterday evening when they awarded contracts to defense giant Lockheed Martin, truck maker Oshkosh, and Humvee manufacturer AM General to develop alternatives for a new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

The military wants the JLTV to combine the offroad mobility of an unarmored Humvee with the protection against mines and roadside bombs of the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) trucks. It’s hard to demonstrate protection to reporters without trying to blow them up, but on Wednesday — just hours before the award announcement — Oshkosh Corp. demonstrated the mobility of its JLTV candidate, which the company calls the L-ATV, by giving reporters a ride. Keep reading →


PENTAGON: The Army showed off an impressive array of battlefield wi-fi gadgetry today in the Pentagon courtyard, exhibiting new-found realism about what gadgets it might not need.

Consider the hardware to connect the individual foot soldier to the brigade-wide command network, which has been stripped down from a 14-pound prototype to a militarized smartphone plugged into a handheld radio. Keep reading →


UPDATED: Lockheed Martin Comments On F-35 Testing Finishing Year 15 % Ahead of Schedule
PENTAGON: If you want some idea of just how closely the Pentagon’s test and evaluation folks are watching Lockheed Martin’s F-35, just open the newly released annual report and thumb through the 12-plus pages of densely packed information about the aircraft.

The overall conclusion is that the most expensive conventional weapon in Pentagon history is doing, well, not too bad — but not nearly as well as it should. Keep reading →