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Army seeks to lighten weight of combat vehicles

The U.S. Army says the weight of armored vehicles slows down its deployment time and seeks development of lighter vehicles in the future.
By Richard Tomkins   |   Aug. 5, 2014 at 4:03 PM

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS, Md., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army is looking to reduce the weight of its armored vehicles by 40 percent in years ahead and has reached out to industry and academia for help.

According to the Science and Technology Division at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, the weight equation translates to slower deployment times.

"The problem is the ability to deploy rapidly to turn the tide, to transition very quickly into offensive operations in a very austere environment," Col. Chris Cross, director of the Science and Technology Division at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, said at a recent workshop with military, industry and academic representatives. "The world is complicated and getting more complicated every day. "In order to be more relevant to the nation, we have to be more rapidly deployable.

"If we don't have the ability as an Army to get there rapidly with a significant enough force to turn the tide of events, we may get there too late."

The gathering was called the Combat Vehicle Lightweight S&T Campaign Workshop, hosted by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM, whose representatives said achieving the Army's weight reduction goals will require non-traditional approaches and ideas involving materials science, mechanisms, modeling and simulation, and manufacturing.

"How can materials foster a significantly lighter class of combat platforms? We're going to have to do something different to get the advances that we need to make this happen," said Dr. Patrick Baker, director of the Army Research Laboratory's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate. "We won't do this alone. We're going to have to engage and participate with the outside community."

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