Driving Vehicle Technology & Innovation – MST Magazine Article

As a vehicle integrator with a heritage of developing military platforms for worldwide conflicts, developing next generation technology to meet the needs of global defence organisations is critical for NP Aerospace.

Every year the Vehicle Systems, Services & Spares Business Unit expands its technology roadmap working with industry and presents key developments to military organisations to encourage an exchange of ideas. This year was no exception.

The company hosted a Vehicle Innovation Day at UTAC Millbrook proving ground for the UK Ministry of Defence and partners to showcase new vehicle integration technologies. The event included activity being delivered via the UK Protected Mobility Engineering & Technical Support contract managed by NP Aerospace. Innovations included new offroad drive systems, modular hybrid technology, mortar system integration and Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA), alongside vehicle build innovation from OEMs new to the UK and vehicle maintenance programmes.

Innovation Presentation

The event included a presentation from NP Aerospace Director of Engineering David Wilson and David Petheram SVP & MD, covering topics such as battlefield electrification, spiral development, future land mobility programmes and green energy. It highlighted the importance of linking innovation to key military aims and objectives such as green energy, pan platform technologies which reduce cost and complexity and features which decrease user cognitive burden.

Since the company’s last innovation day at HORIBA-Mira in 2022, NP Aerospace has proven various new technologies such as autonomous drive, the introduction of hybrid electric drive on the Foxhound and Jackal and the re-engineered Mastiff XC for advanced offroad performance. The next steps are looking at how to productionise HED technologies, the introduction of GVA systems to have better comms in theatre, and how to integrate the latest battery technologies onto a variety of platforms.

Mastiff XC New Spiral Development

The latest iteration of the Mastiff XC was test driven on the UTAC Millbrook off road course. The vehicle system developed in conjunction with Horstman now features a spiral development which reduces burden on the user, reduces power draw and improves performance. The vehicle delivers greater speeds for adjustment and features a new thinner bar armour solution.

New to the UK Vehicle Platforms

The Nurol Makina team showcased new vehicle build innovation via the NMS-L 4×4 vehicle and Ejder Yalcin ‘Dragon’ vehicles which have been used on operation in Turkey, Estonia, and other European countries. The platforms have a unique bolt on vehicle architecture which enables faster panel replacements and offers a cost effective solution in theatre.

TECHNOLOGY PARTNER SHOWCASE

NP Aerospace continues to expand its industry partnerships working with companies bringing new innovations to the defence sector that have a positive impact on vehicle operational performance and through life support and maintenance.

Frestems: Modular Battlefield Ambulance Architecture

The team from NP Aerospace showcased a new ambulance system alongside the Ridgback vehicles, demonstrating easy access in case of emergency.

Ultra PCS: Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) & Drone Integration

The new Electronics Architecture Kit (UltraEAK) from PCS comprises of a data network ‘ring’, smart power distribution and Platform Gateway Interface (PGI) software. The EAK was integrated onto a Coyote vehicle, featuring a front and rear mounted crew station, with forward and rear cameras and the integration of a tethered drone. The GVA system demonstrated how a ‘walk on fit’ could be accommodated and offers a universal approach to centralised command systems.

ST Engineering: MRO Programmes, Hybrid Technology & Mortar Systems

The team from Singaporean company ST Engineering were in the UK to demonstrate Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO), Hybrid Technology, 120mm Ground Deployed Mortar Systems. The Hybrid system builds on the work NP Aerospace has completed on the TD6 HED programme, offering a modular approach for heavy wheeled applications which can be applied to any vehicle fleet, with options to scale to varying weight classes of vehicles. The MRO activities will cover how NP Aerospace can support military organisations with data collection, and the development of machine learning to provide the insights and predictive maintenance activities required to improve fleet availability.

ITS Interactive AESPs

ITS showcased new interactive AESPs which move technical vehicle publications into a software driven easy to use platform. These provide both a base for further expansion of digitization and the development of platform digital twins. Interactive parts ordering and maintenance software is particularly beneficial for smaller manufacturers, enabling them to have an online presence.

Future Vehicle Developments

The NP Aerospace Vehicle Systems, Services & Spares Business continues to expand its vehicle integration technology portfolio working with global organisations. Contact David.wilson@npaerospace.com for more information.

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