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Modern Day Marine Expo
Quantico, VA - October 2007

Photos: Noam Eshel

Vehicles and armor protection: New vehicle programs were among the highlights presented on Modern day Marine 2007 (MDM) expo, held early October at Quantico, VA. Naturally, MRAP attracted much attention, but the upcoming Joint Tactical Light Vehicle (JLTV), destined to begin replacing the current HMMWV caught even more interest, demonstrating industry and Pentagon determination to pursue this ambitious program, despite the extraordinary investment on the huge MRAP program. The exhibition provided the stage for display of some of the concept vehicles developed for the Marine's, currently undergoing evaluations. The most attractive at MDM07 was the Combat Tactical Vehicle Technology demonstrator (CTV-TD) currently undergoing automotive testing at the Nevada Automotive test Center (NATC). (more...)

New vehicle programs were among the highlights presented on Modern day Marine 2007 (MDM) expo, held early October at Quantico, VA. Naturally, MRAP attracted much attention, but the upcoming Joint Tactical Light Vehicle (JLTV), destined to begin replacing the current HMMWV caught even more interest, demonstrating industry and Pentagon determination to pursue this ambitious program, despite the extraordinary investment on the huge MRAP program. The exhibition provided the stage for display of some of the concept vehicles developed for the Marine's, currently undergoing evaluations. The most attractive at MDM07 was the Combat Tactical Vehicle Technology demonstrator (CTV-TD) currently undergoing automotive testing at the Nevada Automotive test Center (NATC).

Considering the excessive weight and challenging issues confronting strategic and tactical mobility, vehicle manufacturers are realizing that there is a potential gap between the 'light' up-armored HMMWV and the heavy MRAP, which could be exploited by a lightweight, 'compact' mine-protected armored vehicle, offering improved mobility without compromising protection. Two companies introduced such vehicles at MDM – Protected Vehicles with the new 'Protector' and Force Protection, displaying the 'Cheetah'.

As expected, some versions of the MRAP were on display here, including the latest version of the MaxxPro from International and the RG-33, equipped with a observation and surveillance mast produced by Gyrocam systems and BAE Systems' Lemur remotely operated weapon station designed to detect and intercept IEDs at standoff range. A similar system was shown by Elbit Systems' EFW subsidiary, on a technology demonstrator HMMWV which employed the CREW Counter-IED jammer, a lightweight weapon station and an elevated electro-optical payload, designed to provide standoff-detection and interception of IEDs. A new ground penetrating radar offering stand-off detection of IEDs, unveiled by AAI.

Other protected vehicles are promoted to offer enhanced protection beyond the level MRAP currently provides. Among the 'Post MRAP' vehicles presented at MDM 07 was the Blackwater Grizzly. The Bull, a beefed-up MTVR truck, applied with an EFP protected cabin did not make it to MDM – the 4x4 version just returning from testing at the Army's Aberdeen proving ground was sent to Washington, to participate at the AUSA convention.

Blast protected seats are becoming a hot product among services tasked with Global War on Terror. Vehicle designers recognize the need to protect vehicles, passengers and crews not only from bullets, mines and IEDs, but also from the devastating blast-effects suffered by occupants during such attacks. Potential applications of such seats are in the new MRAP vehicles and future JLTV, as well as for Strykers, M915, M113, HMMWVs and the new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and FutureCombat System's Manned ground Vehicle (MGV). Among the companies displaying blast protected seat technologies at MDM were seat specialist Global Seating Systems (GSS), ArmorWorks, BAE Systems and Plasan Sasa.

Armor protection is not the only aspect the USMC is focusing on. Other elements are mobility and stealth. These are the attributes where the new type of air-deployable all-terrain vehicle should excel. The US Marine Corps is looking for a light strike vehicle transportable internally in CV-22, CH-53 and C-130. Such vehicles will enable Marine recon units to carry out long range deep penetration raids and long-range patrol missions. The Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) is conducted through a joint program with the U. S. Special Operations Command; the Marine Corps being the lead service. At Modern Day Marine 07 several vehicles were displayed claiming for this title. Among the all terrain vehicles on display at MDM 07 were two types of the Growler, a Tomcar and a new hybrid-electric powered ATV called HyDRA.

Urban combat environment can be particularly dangerous to soldiers remaining in disabled vehicles. Rapid recovery is therefore imperative, and military users are examining many alternatives to facilitate rapid, safe recovery of disabled or damaged vehicles without putting the crew or rescue teams at unnecessary risk. A number of systems on display at MDM 07 reflected the growing interest in those simple but effective vehicle recovery solutions.

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Cheetah view photo

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