F1 system on track for military vehicles

Technology adapted from Formula 1 is being used on tracked military vehicles to improve their handling and speed across the battlefield.

Engineers at BAE Systems have applied the new Active Damping upgrade system to current variants of the CV90 combat vehicle family – breaking speed records in rough terrain and increasing the CV90’s agility by reducing its pitch acceleration by about 40 per cent.

First introduced into F1 in the 1990s, the Active Damping system works by sensing the speed of the vehicle and layout of the terrain ahead and responding by pressurising the suspension to keep the vehicle on a level plane at all times.

This increased stability is helping to reduce the wear and tear on the armoured vehicles and cut through-life repair costs for each vehicle, despite them being able to travel 30–40 per cent faster on rough terrain.

For the crew of a CV90, the technology means a smoother ride and a reduction in fatigue – an important factor on the battlefield. The reduced vertical motion also increases the gunner’s probability of finding and hitting targets.

The suspension system usually operates on carbon fibre racing cars weighing no more than 700kg, but engineers at BAE Systems adapted it to use on heavy tracked vehicles weighing as much as 35 tonnes.

In recent trials, a CV90 fitted with Active Damping set a new speed record on a rough terrain course, beating main battle tanks.

In a statement, Dan Lindell, BAE Systems CV90 platform manager said: “Adapting the Active Damping system for the first time from a lightweight car to a heavy tracked vehicle such as the CV90 was a unique challenge for us, but this advanced technology will deliver results to our customers in terms of vehicle performance and savings on the through-life costs, as well as providing real benefits to the front line solider.”

The CV90 is designed and built by BAE Systems in Sweden and is one of the largest families of armoured combat vehicles. It is currently used in countries including Norway, Finland and Denmark and has taken part in global operations including UN and NATO collaborations.