Stronger, more agile vehicles that can carry military personnel into battlefields unscathed are the aim of a new US defence project.
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) programme involves an array of partners in the defence industry such as BAE Systems.
The British-based defence company and Navistar Defense, of the US, were recently awarded a $40.5m (£25.6m) grant by the US government to participate in a 27-month technology demonstration phase of the JLTV programme.
The BAE Systems-Navistar team will submit seven prototype vehicles and four trailers for evaluation and testing by the US Army.
The team is working on a family of blast-resistant vehicles called Valanx, all of which are equipped with lightweight armour and a V-shaped hull design.
US automotive supplier Arvin Meritor will manufacture the Valanx’s lightweight independent suspension and drivetrain.
The team launched its first Valanx prototype in February and will design and fabricate variations of the vehicle next year. The prototypes will be tested in 2010 and a final vehicle design chosen in 2011.
’We believe the Valanx provides the foundation for a family of vehicles that will offer unmatched strength, protection and support for soldiers for decades to come,’ said Kevin Thomas, director of product creation for Navistar Defense.
In addition to making vehicles stronger and more agile, BAE Systems is also hoping to make them more intelligent.
The company is researching various autonomous and semi-autonomous technologies that could be integrated on to manned vehicles to reduce crew workload and create greater situational awareness.