Past history in Iraq and Afghanistan, and current ongoing internal conflicts in many regions around the World demonstrates that any operation undertaken by armed forces must be prepared to deal with mine, IED and UXO threats to both vehicles and personnel. Armoured vehicles represent a very large investment of funds and resources, and the protection of personnel is of course the highest priority.

It is proposed that Uncrewed Ground Vehicles (UGVs) can play a major role in providing the required protection, provided that they are designed to survive mine strikes and remain fully operational.

This family of UGVs can help to provide many of the logistics roles without endangering life of drivers and crew members, adding much more maneouverability to the battle field.

 

How Uncrewed Ground Vehicles can Re-Define the Battlefield

UGVs have found increasing utility in supporting ground forces, including scouting, reconnaissance and counter-IED roles,with increasing integration and combined operation with crewed vehicles and dismounts.

We have identified what we see as the prime use cases for UGVs and created a family of mine-resilient vehicles to address these based on a standardised ABBS Damage Tolerant Uncrewed Ground Vehicle (DT-UGV).

The DT-UGV is highly resistant to the effects of mines and capable of sustaining multiple strikes without becoming immobilised.

  • The spaceframe structure with twin armoured V-hulls carrying the wheels and all motive power elements with quadruple redundancy are a key feature for resilience against damage from mine blasts or ballistic threats.
  • The DT-UGV chassis and running gear are designed to limit the extent of damage from under-wheel strikes so that vehicle function and mobility conserved;
  • The open-frame central structure provides protection for energy storage batteries and control systems, whilst minimising blast effects on the vehicle structure.
  • Hybrid electric power and hub drive to every wheel maximises traction and mobility with redundancy built-in. This also minimises acoustic, and infra-red signatures.
  • Optionally a reserve centreline front wheel station can be lowered into place in contact with the ground if other front wheels are lost due to mine strikes. The semi-tracked version may be preferred for increased traction.
  • Light-weight and low hardware and logistics costs combine to support deployments of multiple vehicles, supporting dispersed (independent) and convoy vehicle movements, enabling manoeuvres using multiple routes with reduced concentration (and reduced vulnerability) of the vehicles.

With the built-in resilience to both mine blasts and direct fire the ABBS DT-UGV concepts bring a whole new capability to the UGV market.

The DT-UGV concept is ideal for:

    • Pathfinder Vehicles in front of Advancing Crewed Vehicles and/or Dismounts
    • Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC)
    • Logistics and Surveillance/Fire Support Applications

Medium size or large UGVs can be used as a mine clearance vehicle. For instance, attaching the front roller system covering the wheel track line and using multiple LRM’s on the arms to prevent them being damaged too much by mine strikes could provide enough resilience and level of clearance to maintain an advance through an area with randomly located mines and UXO such as cluster munitions.

Landmines remain very effective in disabling heavy armoured vehicles, minefields restrict manoeuvre, and attempts to breach them can result in concentrations of vehicles that are then very susceptible to attack.

Enhancing Existing Capability

The existing range of ABBS technologies can be used to enhance protection for third party UGVs and mine-clearance devices.

All of the important technology elements are already developed to TRL 6 or higher and could be integrated into existing designs fairly readily.

VGAM – Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation

By using ABBS’ patented VGAM Technology, these small, fast acting linear rockets can be mounted to mine-clearance rollers to prevent them being thrown into the air by mine-blasts.  They can also be fitted onto UGVs to ensure that the vehicle is not launched into the air by mine blasts, which reduces damage and enhances the vehicle’s ability to continue to operate following a mine-blast.  This could be essential for light-weight CASEVAC designs.

CRBP – Shockwave Mitigating, Energy Absorbing Sandwich Belly Plate System

This belly plate can be mounted underneath the UGV to help protect the important drive-chain systems from mine-blast shock and debris.