Military vehicles have always been in the forefront of advanced vehicular technology. Indeed, turbochargers, anti-lock brakes, and even cylinder bores were once originally utilized for vehicular warfare.
The average car today owes its functionality and specs to technology formed within the crucible of war.
Military innovations continue to create an impact today both in the military and civilian use. Advancements in military vehicle systems continue to experience an upward trajectory as military vehicles adapt to the ever-changing landscape of theatre.
To meet the demands of asymmetrical warfare, armored vehicles are at the forefront of vehicle conceptual design, development, and production. These top high-tech features underpin the advancements applied to combat and tactical military vehicles today.
In recent years, new initiatives have been brought forth to introduce artificial intelligence and machine learning to ground vehicles.
The role of artificial intelligence is to disseminate enormous volumes of acquired data and turn them into actionable intelligence. The integration of advanced computer algorithms to forward-deployed military vehicles will provide insight in cognitive computing for target systems, horizontal video object and persona identification, and video support.
While still in the early stages of prototypes, with researchers meeting with top U.S. military officials to brief the industry on current capabilities, expect artificial intelligence to play a crucial role in upcoming military engagements.
Modular designs in military vehicles are nothing new. In fact, modularity and adaptability of vehicle components have been commonplace since the 1980s, when their desirable, cost-saving attributes were first implemented in ground vehicles.
Despite this, advancements continue to be made throughout modular systems.
The recent war efforts in the Gulf Arab States highlighted the need for modularity among military vehicle fleets. The enormous task of crew survivability due to asymmetrical threats such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and ballistic threats paved the way for new modular models.
These advanced warfighters created a more adaptable vehicle fleet while lowering cost, increasing performance and tactical mobility. Unconventional warfare requires vehicles to be adaptable to varied missions over long timeframes. A modular fleet provides superior tactical responses, cost and agility benefits to that of a conventional fleet.
The increase in electronic warfare or the ability to weaponize the electromagnetic spectrum to disrupt military capabilities continues to become a visible threat.
Advacement in military technology provides military forces the ability to control the electromagnetic spectrum and deny adversaries the opportunity of disruption. In armored and support ground vehicles, RF jammers have gone into full production to defeat current and emerging radio-controlled IED threats.
Further technological advances include full military integration, from naval, airborne, cyber, and ground forces. Protection across all platforms provide a complete picture of the battle scene and provides increased protection against electronic warfare.
Vehicle lightweighting technology
The continued emerging threat from asymmetrical warfare makes vehicle lightweighting a priority for any military force. Ground vehicles must be more agile and expeditionary to combat the ever-changing global threat environment.
Likewise, this desire to remain adaptable to various mission requirements means vehicles require increased survivability and additional protection measures. This will typically lend to heavier vehicles, reduce their tactical mobility, increases fuel consumption and responsiveness.
Lightweight methodology utilizes lightweight, high-strength metals such as aluminum alloys and titanium in place of steel. As well, the introduction of run-flat technology and Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) further reduces vehicle weight. This improves mobility, increases fuel efficiency, transportability, and reliability.
Similar to artificial intelligence, certain military defense contractors have developed new prototype controllers.
This prototype controller eliminates the need for multi-layered computing systems in army vehicles. These are replaced with an open architecture processor that uses a single, interchangeable processing unit. This provides easy maintenance and increased mission flexibility.
This prototype controller gives military vehicles new flexibility in terms of armored vehicle protection. Working with self-defense systems, it provides situational awareness, recon capabilities, driver support, and platform protection. It can operate in any environment and can track and detect multiple threats simultaneously, capable of defeating a variety of inbound threats.
The advancements in technology continue to push the boundaries of operational efficiency throughout all phases of military campaigns. The relative role of these high-tech features means increased troop survivability, increased combat protection, and efficient tactical mobility. While it may be some time until these high-tech features make their way to commercial vehicles, once they do, roads and its passengers will be all the safer for it.
Senior International Business Development and Sales Manager, NIMR Automotive LLC
Miles Chambers joined NIMR Automotive in October 2016 as Senior International Business Development and Sales Manager. In this capacity, Miles oversees NIMR Automotive’s expansion to Global markets, particularly into Europe and Southeast Asia. In addition to his responsibilities at NIMR Automotive, Miles is the Chairman of the Azerbaijan-South Africa Chamber of Commerce.