When most of us think of armor, we imagine the archaic iron suits worn by medieval knights. While extremely limiting the wearer’s speed and mobility, the armor protected the knight from blows and stabs. Modern ground warfare has been dominated by heavily armored, slow moving vehicles that are reminiscent of those immobilizing suits worn by knights. But the U.S. Military is working to change that.
In August, 2014, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the launch of its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program. The program is bent on revolutionizing modern armored units.
Attempting to move away from the slower, bulky units that are often limited to roads, the GXV-T program is investigating ways to improve the mobility and survivability of U.S. Military vehicles through means other than just bulking on more armor. Researchers are currently looking into alternatives that include avoiding detection, engagement and hits by enemy forces.
The primary goal of the GXT-V program isn’t to replace one type of vehicle, but rather to overhaul the U.S. military’s entire concept of armored units. GXV-T’s technical goals include reducing vehicle size, weight and crew size by 50%, increase vehicle speed by 100%, improve access to diverse terrains by 95%, and reduce detection signatures.
DARPA plans to develop GXV-T technologies over a 24 month period after initial contracts are awarded. Contracts are expected to be awarded by April, 2015. The GXV-T program intends to pursue research, development, design and testing of new units or major components of them. So far, there are only a few sketched drawings of possible prototypes. But the pictures depict a hyper transformation of unit types that are a far cry from M1Abrams tanks.
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Military Connection: New Look for Armored Units: By Debbie Gregory