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Mobility Air, Sea, Land
New deal, new needs
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armada Compendium Mobility 2010
Recent military operations have highlighted the usefulness of air logistics in
moving personnel and materiel quickly and safely to remote areas in scenarios
characterised by rough terrain and hazardous roads.
Roy Braybrook, inputs
from Eric H. Biass
ne lesson from current conflicts
has been that strategic air sup-
plies remain undesirably depend-
ent on overflight rights and refuelling
facilities. Increased unrefuelled range
thus remains a long-term objective.
Another lesson is that the airlift of
large, heavy loads is possible only with
fixed-wing aircraft that require long run-
ways with strong paved surfaces. Existing
systems can thus deliver such loads to few
destinations in undeveloped countries.
The principal (technically-fillable) gap
in the spectrum relates to the ability to
take medium-weight ground combat
vehicles into small, badly-surfaced land-
ing areas, close to their point of use.
Oversized and Overweight
Recent ground operations have required
the use of Mrap (mine-resistant, ambush-
protected) vehicles. They have also
necessitated the fitment of external grills
(bar/cage/slat armour) to vehicles
exposed to hostile fire, in order to prema-
turely detonate incoming shaped-charge
warheads. Combat vehicles have thus
grown heavier, while expanding in height
and width, increasing demands on trans-
port aircraft cabin dimensions.
Mrap vehicles can weigh over 20
tonnes. Recent US Army planning for its
ill-fated Future Combat Systems includ-
ed vehicles that grew to over 27 tonnes.
This would have limited their carriage to
strategic transports that are incapable of
using small, badly surfaced airstrips.
That programme was cancelled in 2009,
and replaced by the BCT (Brigade Combat
Team). However, it will take years to estab-
lish the size and weight of the BCT-GCVs
(Ground Combat Vehicles), which are to
be compatible with the Boeing C-17, but
not the smaller Lockheed Martin C-130.
Prototype GCVs will appear only in 2015,
leading to initial deliveries in 2017.
The US Army feels that the ability to move
GCVs quickly from land or sea bases into
the battle area would give it a game-chang-
ing advantage over any opponent.
The technological solution is seen as
an advanced rotary-wing aircraft, the
JHL (Joint Heavy Lift) project. This is
reportedly to have a maximum payload
of 27 tonnes, a radius of 465 km, a cruise
speed of 555 km/h, a ceiling of 14,000 ft,
an external lift capability and provision
for in-flight refuelling.
Support for the armys JHL has come
from the US Navy and Marine Corps,
who believe that a vtol transport would
validate their own breakthrough sea bas-
ing concept for future sea-to-land opera-
tions. The army is partnered in JHL with
the US Special Operations Command,
Darpa and Nasa.
On the other hand, aircraft required to
carry loads of around 27 tonnes (three
times the payload of a Bell Boeing MV-
22B) may well not be compatible with the
decks of the ships from which landings
would be carried out.
There appears to be scepticism in the
American defence industry as to whether
JHL will ever be funded. One concern is
that (even if four-engined) it would
require development of a new power-
plant, far more powerful than any exist-
ing American turboshaft.
In the early 1970s there were several
helicopter projects aimed at rivalling the
56-tonne Mil Mi-26. However, in 1975
Congress ruled that the 33.3-tonne Siko-
rsky CH-53E was adequate.
Interest in super-large helicopters then
lapsed until the turn of the century. In 2005
the US Army awarded five JHL concept
design and analysis (CDA) contracts, the
requirement being to transport a 20-tonne
baseline (and later a 26-tonne objective)
FCS vehicle over a 460 km radius from ver-
he A400M
Grizzly, here
caught by
Armadas cam-
era at Farnbor-
ough 2010, is a
answer to the fact
that new means
are absolutely
required to meet
new threats to world peace. Making
new with old is not an answer.
On the Cover
Transforming Aerial
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
tical take-off. With short take-off the
radius was to increase to 925 km.
These studies led to the US Armys pre-
ferred JHL solution being some form of
High Efficiency Tilt Rotor, which appeared
very similar to the Karem Aerospace Opti-
mum Speed Tilt Rotor (OSTR), exploiting
in forward flight the slowed-rotor technol-
ogy of the Boeing A160 drone. In 2008
Lockheed Martin teamed with Karem to
further develop the OSTR concept under a
two-year CDA extension contract from the
US Armys Aviation Applied Technology
Similar JHL-CDA extension contracts
were reportedly awarded to Bell Boeing
for the Quad Tilt Rotor project, and to
Sikorsky for the coaxial-rotor X2 HSL
(High Speed Lifter). Nasa awarded Siko-
rsky a study contract for the Variable-
Diameter Tilt Rotor (VDTR) concept.
However, the US Army has yet to secure
funding for a JHL technology demon-
Boeing press briefings still include
illustrations of alternative concepts, such
as the Darpa/Boeing Disc Rotor, the Bell
Boeing Fastr (Folding Advanced Stopped
Tilt Rotor) and the Piasecki X-49A
VTDP (Vectored-Thrust Ducted-Pro-
peller) Speedhawk. It may also be noted
that the recently launched Darpa Mission
Adaptive Rotor research programme is
aimed at developing rotors with variable
speed and geometry to produce major
improvements in payload and range and
decrease noise and vibration. It thus
appears that a wide range of concepts are
still in the running for JHL.
Although the US Army is independently
laying the technological foundations for
the JHL, this represents only that services
candidate for the US Air Force-led Joint
Future Theater Lift (JFTL) programme,
which was launched in January 2008.
The latters own contribution is the
former Advanced Joint Air Combat Sys-
tem (Ajacs) based on a super-stol rather
than vtol approach. Although Air Force
officials have stressed that all options
(including tilt rotors) are open, it seems
likely that the Ajacs would employ some
form of powered lift, as investigated in
although it plans to develop the ability to
use short, soft and rough airstrips.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin and
Northrop Grumman have all worked on
Ajacs/JFTL studies, laying the foundations
for a production aircraft that can carry 30
tonnes for 2800 km at over Mach 0.8, and
using runways of less than 600 metres.
Industry has evidently concluded that the
optimum approach is a flying wing design
with upper surface blowing.
It appears that Boeing was selected in
2008 to perform further wind tunnel test-
ing under an Air Force Research Labora-
tory Speed Agile contract. Lockheed
Martin was contracted to develop
improved structures with the Advanced
Composite Cargo Aircraft, a Dornier 328
with rear fuselage and tail redesigned in
the latest materials.
The multi-service JFTL programme
envisages a payload of 25 to 32.66 tonnes,
a radius of 925 km and a landing distance
of less than 1500 feet. The initial capabil-
ities document was approved in October
2009, and the project is now in the con-
cept refinement phase.
Closely resembling
its CH-53E
progenitor, the
Sikorsky CH-53K
shown in this artists
impression will be
even more
capable. Seven
development CH-
53Ks and 200
production aircraft
are planned.
Shown at Berlins ILA 2010, this German Army Sikorsky CH-53GS is one of 20
equipped with T64-GE-100 engines and upgraded communications, defensive
weapons and missile countermeasures. (Messe Berlin)
the late 1970s under the Advanced Medi-
um Stol Transport programme. This test-
ed the Boeing YC-14 and McDonnell
Douglas YC-15, which respectively used
upper surface blowing and externally
blown flaps.
The Air Force approach to the JFTL is
to develop a super-stol, fixed-wing,
stealthy Mach 0.8 replacement for the
C-130H, primarily to perform tactical
transport missions at increased cruise
speeds and using smaller airfields. In
addition, it would carry army vehicles
into and around the battle area. In
essence, the air force prioritises speed
and range over airfield performance,
An analysis of alternatives is due to be
completed by mid-2011, allowing a choice
to be made between the US Army vtol
and the Air Force super-stol concepts.
First flight of a prototype is planned for
2018, leading to initial operational capa-
bility around 2024. The production of 50
to 150 aircraft is envisaged.
Current Helicopters
The heaviest rotary-wing aircraft cur-
rently flying is the Rostvertol-built 56-
tonne Mil Mi-26, which has a maximum
payload of 20 tonnes. Although it first
flew in 1977, the Mi-26 remains in low-
rate production. Two were built by Ros-
tvertol in 2009.
The Russian armed forces and para-
military services operate around 60 Mi-
26s. Russias Ministry of Defence has
decided to launch a life-extension and
modernisation programme in 2015 to
2020 for its existing Mi-26s and to resume
procurement, with deliveries continuing
until 2025. The Mi-26 may form the basis
for a new collaborative development
between Russian Helicopters and Chinas
Avicopter, on which a memorandum of
understanding was signed in 2008.
Eurocopter is working
with Boeing on a
tandem-rotor project,
shown in model form at
ILA 2010 in Berlin. It is
aimed at replacing the
US Armys CH-47F and
fulfilling Franco-German
needs for a Future
Transport Helicopter.
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
Lower down the scale, the 33.3-tonne
Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is to be
replaced in US Marine Corps service by
the 39.9-tonne CH-53K. Under its Heavy
Lift Replacement programme, the serv-
ice plans to buy seven test CH-53Ks, with
first flight in 2013. Service entry is sched-
uled for 2018. Current plans call for 200
production CH-53Ks, the last to be deliv-
ered in 2028.
Thus far, the only substantial exports
of the CH-53 family have been to Ger-
many and Israel, both of which are carry-
ing out upgrade and life-extension pro-
grammes. France, Germany, Singapore,
Taiwan and Turkey are all potential cus-
tomers for the CH-53K, and Israel has
already selected it.
An anticipated Franco-German
requirement (for around 35 and 60 aircraft
respectively) envisages a Future Transport
Helicopter with a larger cabin than the
CH-53K and a maximum weight of
around 35 tonnes. The German Air Force
sees a need to carry 70 troops or a payload
of 14 tonnes for a range of 300 km.
A 24-month study of European needs
was launched under EDA (European
Defence Agency) auspices in May 2009.
It is expected to support the adoption of
a derivative of the CH-53K, Mi-26 or
Boeing CH-47F Chinook. The European
programme could be launched in 2014,
for fielding between 2020 and 2025.
Eurocopter is working with Boeing on
a 33-tonne tandem-rotor design, which
could carry 56 troops or a 13-tonne pay-
load for 300 km. The aim in this case is to
replace the US Armys Boeing CH-47
Chinook, in addition to serving Franco-
German needs. Sikorsky is reportedly
proposing for France and Germany a
standard CH-53K.
Many operators have favoured the
smaller, less expensive Boeing CH-47 over
the CH-53. The latest version of Chinook
is the 25.4-tonne CH-47F, which entered
service in 2007. The US Army plans to
acquire 452 in the form of 190 new-build
aircraft and 262 remanufactured CH-
least 50 CV-22Bs are to be produced for
The 13-tonne Mil Mi-8 first flew in
1961, but the Mi-8/17/171 series is still
manufactured. In 2009 Ulan-Ude built 60
Mi-8/171s, and Kazan Helicopters a fur-
ther 79 Mi-8/17s. At Berlins ILA 2010,
Russian Helicopters announced develop-
ment of the Mi-171M, which runs the
more powerful Klimov VK-2500 engines
(although maximum weight is
unchanged) and is intended to replace
the whole Mi-8/17/171 series. Ulan-Ude is
scheduled to complete the first prototype
Mi-171M in 2011 and begin series pro-
duction in 2013.
The longer-term replacement for the
Mi-8/17/171 family may be the 15.6-tonne
Mi-38, which first flew in 2003, powered
by P&WC PT127s. The programme has
been set back by American pressure on
P&WC regarding PT127 licence manu-
facture in Russia, and by engine delivery
delays following the Russio-Georgian
war of 2008. It has now been decided to
use Klimov TV7-117B engines. The TV7-
equipped third prototype is due to fly
This Bell Boeing
MV-22B from VMM-
263 squadron has
just landed a 22nd
Expeditionary Unit
mass casualty
evacuation team at
a simulated US
embassy during an
exercise in North
Carolina. (US
Marine Corps)
The Beechcraft King
Air 350 series has
attracted substantial
military orders,
both as a light
transport and as a
sensor platform.
This example is one
of 24 operated by
the Iraqi Air Force.
(US Air Force)
More than 12,000 examples of the Mil Mi-8/17/171 family have been built, and
production continues today. This Mi-17 is one of 18 operated by the Afghan National
Army Air Corps. (US Air Force)
later this year, and in 2011 the Russian
defence ministry is expected to invite
proposals for a new medium-weight
transport helicopter. Series production of
the civil version is to start in 2013.
Western Europes largest helicopters
are the 15.6-tonne Agustawestland
AW101, of which over 180 are on order for
ten countries, and the 10.6-tonne NH
Industries NH90, of which 489 have been
ordered for 14 countries. In June 2010
Agustawestland reached an agreement
with Boeing, under which the AW101 will
become part of a Boeing proposal for the
VXX project to replace the US Navys
Marine One presidential helicopter.
Drone Helicopters
The US Army and Marine Corps are both
interested in the use of drone helicopters
to supply forward outposts. Initial tests
have employed the 5.44-tonne Kaman/
Lockheed Martin Unmanned K-Max and
the 2.95-tonne Boeing YQM-18A
(A160T Hummingbird) and are expected
to be followed by operational evaluation
in Afghanistan.
47Ds. In addition, 61 CH-47Ds are to be
rebuilt as MH-47Gs for Socom (US Spe-
cial Operations Command). Contracts
have been signed with Canada, Italy, the
Netherlands and one other country (pre-
sumably Australia) for a total of 41 CH-
47Fs. Britain plans to buy up to 24.
The US Marine Corps complements
the CH-53 with the 23.5-tonne Bell Boe-
ing MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, of
which it is authorised to receive 360. The
US Navy is to acquire 48 MV-22Bs and at
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
Practical experience may lead to a
more capable air vehicle in the form of an
optionally-piloted version of the 10.66-
tonne Sikorsky UH-60L. The US Army
Roadmap for UAS states that the serv-
ice expects to begin fielding a sustain-
ment/cargo UAS in the mid-term (2016
to 2025).
Long-term US Air Force plans include
a large multi-role drone, MQ-L, which, in
its second and third evolutions (MQ-Lb
in 2030, and MQLc around 2047), will
include air mobility operations in its
Turning to conventional fixed-wing
transports, there is considerable activity
at the lightweight end of the market. The
7.5-tonne Beechcraft King Air 350ER is
enjoying substantial military sales, both
as a light transport and as a sensor plat-
form. It may well be adopted as the US
Air Force Air Mobility Commands Lima
(Light Mobility Aircraft), of which 60
examples are required.
In the 19-seat category, some 844
examples of the de Havilland Canada
DHC-6 Twin Otter were completed when
production ended in 1988. The British
Colombia-based Viking Air has now
acquired rights to the DHC series, and is
building the 5.67-tonne Twin Otter 400.
Recent orders include six for the Vietnam
Navy. Viking has offered a modernised
22.3-tonne DHC-5 Buffalo with PW150A
engines to meet a 17-aircraft Canadian
Forces fixed-wing Sar requirement.
In the 19-seat category, Indonesian
Aerospace (IAe) is developing the
seven-tonne N219 while Frances Sky
Aircraft (a subsidiary of GECI Interna-
tional) is developing the SK-105 Skylan-
der. Switzerlands Ruag Aviation has
started production at Oberpfaffenhofen
in Germany of the 6.4-tonne Dornier
228NG, with glass cockpit, five-blade
propellers and Hindustan Aeronautics
IAe will probably be the site for all
further manufacture of the 24-seat, 8.1-
tonne EASDS-Casa C-212, of which 477
have been sold to 92 operators. Airbus
Military is also responsible for the 16.5-
tonne CN-235, of which 258 have been
sold to 42 operators (including IAe pro-
duction) and the 23.2-tonne C-295, of
which 82 have been sold to twelve opera-
tonne An-32 was designed for hot/high
operations in India. The Indian Air Force
is to upgrade and extend the service lives
of 80 of its remaining An-32s.
Chinas Xian Y7 is a copy of the An-
26, and its civil version, the 21.8-tonne
MA60, has P&WC PW127J engines. The
military MA60M has a rear loading ramp.
The civil series has progressed through
the 60-seat MA600, which first flew in
2008, to the 80-seat MA700, which has a
T-tail and fuselage-mounted undercar-
riage. Antonov is helping in the design of
the MA700, which is expected to fly in
The 31.8-tonne Alenia Aeronautica C-
27J Spartan was selected in 2007 as the US
Army/Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft
(JCA), with L-3 Communications as prime
contractor. Control of the JCA pro-
gramme then switched to the US Air
Force, and the planned build total was
reduced from 78 (of an eventual 145) to 38,
all to be flown by the US Air Force.
Alenia has so far received orders for
21 C-27Js under the JCA programme,
and eight more are planned in the Penta-
gons FY11 budget. The company has
orders for over 40 C-27Js for six other
services, but most sales are now expected
to be made via L-3 Communications
Switzerlands Ruag
Aviation has
production in
Germany of the
Dornier Do 228
light transport. This
upgraded Do
228NG has a
glass cockpit and
propellers. (Messe
A total of 258
Airbus Military CN-
235s have been
sold to 42 services,
including the Royal
Saudi Air Force,
which operates four
in the VIP transport
role, primarily on
behalf of the royal
family. (Airbus
All five Airbus Military C-295s ordered by the Mexican Air Force are to be delivered
by the end of 2010. The Mexican Navy has two C-295 transports and has ordered
four of the maritime patrol version. (Airbus Military)
and Americas Foreign Military Sales
Under US Air Force contract, Alenia is
currently delivering 18 C-27s (refurbished
ex-Italian Air Force G.222s) to the
Afghanistan National Army Air Corps.
One heavier twin-turboprop project is
the 39-tonne FF5000MV by the Illinois-
based Freight Feeder Aircraft (FFAC).
Although the baseline FF5000 is
designed primarily to transport commer-
cial pallets, a military version is planned,
and presentations have been made to a
number of potential operators, including
the South African Air Force. A prototype
of the FF5000 is under construction by
FFAC and Metalcraft Technologies.
Twin Turbofans
After decades of turboprop dominance,
the tactical transport market is witness-
ing a number of turbofan projects. For
example, in 2007 an inter-government
tors. Recent orders for the CN-235
include eight for the French Air Force,
which already has 19.
The 24-tonne Antonov An-26 is sched-
uled to be replaced in Russian Air Force
service by the 20-tonne Ilyushin Il-112V,
with an initial batch of 34 reported. The
Il-112V is due to fly in 2011 and will be
produced by Vaso at Voronezh. The 27-
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
agreement was signed between India and
Russia on the joint development and pro-
duction of a Multirole Transport Aircraft
(MTA). However, it is not clear whether
Hindustan Aeronautics and Ilyushin Avi-
ation have yet formed the associated
joint venture, which will require each to
invest $ 300 million in development
The MTA is seen as a 68-tonne project
with two Aviadvigatel PS90A-76 turbo-
simply said, partnerships are still to be
finalised. It is often alleged that France
may join in, buying twelve aircraft if
Brazil buys the Dassault Rafale as its
F-X2, but a Brazilian Air Force official
strongly emphasised that the two were
separate issues (Embraer has since con-
firmed that Chile and Brazil signed a
declaration of intention for the former
nation to participate in the programme,
whereby Enaer would build part of the
merly C-X) has been delayed by two
years due to structural weaknesses. The
first of two prototypes was rolled out in
July 2007, but flew only on 26 January
2010. The JASDF is expected to buy
around 40 C-2s to replace not only the C-
130 Hercules but also the 45-tonne
Kawasaki C-1. Kawasaki is considering
forming a joint venture with a foreign
company to develop a civil version of the
XC-2, designated YCX.
The most successful
light transport in its
class, approxi -
mately 480
examples of the
EADS-Casa C-212
have been sold. All
production will
probably now be
assigned to
Aerospace. (Airbus
These Lockheed
Martin C-130Js at
Bagram AB,
Afghanistan include
Air National Guard
aircraft from the
143rd Airlift Wing
based at Providence,
Rhode Island, and the
146th AW from Point
Mugu, California. (US
Air Force).
All Antonov An-24s and -26s in Russian Air Force service are eventually to be replaced
by the Ilyushin Il-112V. This Hungarian Air Force An-26 was pictured at Berlins ILA
2010. (Messe Berlin)
The 20-tonne Ilyushin Il-112V is due to
fly in 2011, and be manufactured by
Vaso at Voronezh. In the international
market it will compete with Airbus
Militarys 16.5-tonne CN-235 and
23.2-tonne C-295. (Ilyushin)
fans and room for 82 troops or 74 para-
troops. It is to carry a 20-tonne payload
over a range of 2250 km. India is expect-
ed to buy 45 MTAs and Russia up to 100.
First flight was scheduled for 2014, but
that date may already be slipping.
Antonov is proposing a less expensive
alternative to the MTA in the form of the
An-178, a derivative of the 99-seat, 43.7-
tonne An-158, which first flew in April
2010. The An-178 would have a maximum
payload of 15 tonnes, and could fly with-
in two years of go-ahead.
Brazils 72-tonne Embraer KC-390
transport/tanker Hercules-replacement
is benefiting from a $ 1.3 billion develop-
ment Brazilian Air Force contract signed
in 2009. The service formerly announced
an order for an initial batch of 28 KC-
390s on 21 July 2010 during the Farnbor-
ough Air Show (see our title illustration).
Embraer officials said that first flight is
scheduled for 2014 with an initial opera-
tional capability in 2015, followed by,
final clearance in 2016. While the cur-
rent emphasis is on signing up risk-shar-
ing partners in South Africa, Portugal,
Chile and Colombia, the same officials
structure, thence the Chilean Air Force
buy six planes). The KC-390 will accom-
modate 80 troops, but the maximum pay-
load, it was also announced, would grow
from 19 to 23 tonnes and that it would be
able to carry seven 436-litre pallets
instead of six initially. More interestingly,
Embraer said that it would be able to
carry, one Stryker without needing to
dismantle anything off the vehicle.
Heading the twin-turbofan category,
Japans 141-tonne Kawasaki XC-2 (for-
Quad Props
The 74.4-tonne Lockheed Martin C-130J
Hercules continues to dominate this mar-
ket sector, with orders at mid-2010 stand-
ing at 288 for 13 countries. The US Air
Force currently plans to acquire a total of
168, mostly the stretched C-130J-30 ver-
sion, which can accommodate eight pal-
lets (rather than six). This increased fleet
reflects the decision to phase out the
C-130E by the end of FY14.
The plan will leave around 238
C-130Hs, most of which are to be upgrad-
ed with Laircm (Large Aircraft Infrared
Counter-Measures), a surface-to-air fire
look-out capability and the Avionics
Modernization Program. Boeing has
been responsible for AMP development,
but the production of most AMP kits will
be competed, as will half of the installa-
tions, the rest being done by the US Air
Force Warner Robins Air Logistics Cen-
ter in Georgia. A second phase will deal
with Afsocs Hercules.
Chinas Avic Aircraft has reportedly
frozen the design of the 77-tonne Y-9, a
derivative of the 61-tonne Y-8, an unli-
censed copy of the An-12. However, it
appears that no prototype will be built
unless government funding is provided. It
may be replaced by a more modest devel-
opment of the Y-8.
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
The 132-tonne Antonov An-70 first
flew in 1994, but development was
delayed by the loss of the first prototype
in 1995 following a mid-air collision, the
heavy landing of the second in 2001, and
withdrawal of Russian support in 2006. In
2009 Russia and the Ukraine agreed to
restart collaboration on the An-70, sub-
ject to the satisfactory completion of joint
state trials and a shares-swap that would
give Russias United Aircraft a control-
ling stake in Antonov.
The current An-70 position appears to
be that, in addition to the remaining pro-
totype, a batch of five aircraft is being
built. Two of these, destined for the
The first of five A400M development
aircraft, the Grizzly One, had its maiden
flight on 11 December 2009, followed by
the second on 8 April 2010. The third had
its maiden flight during the summer and,
according to an Airbus Military official at
Farnborough, the fourth is expected to
take to the air by the end of this year. Cer-
Russian Air Force plans to have some of
its Il-76MDs upgraded with new avionics
and the PS-90A-76 turbofans of the Il-
76MF, and to buy at least 38 Aviastar-
built Il-476s with the same engines, a
two-man flight deck and a modified wing.
The first Il-476 may fly before the end of
The lead aircraft in
this line-up of Boeing
C-17 Globemaster IIIs
is owned by Air
Education and
Training Command,
and is assigned to the
97th Air Mobility
Wing based at Altus
AFB, Oklahoma. (US
Air Force)
A total of 52 C-5s are
to be upgraded to
C-5M Super Galaxies.
Three test aircraft and
the first production
aircraft will have
been delivered by the
end of 2010. (Messe
Russia has agreed to rejoin the Antonov An-70 programme, subject to the successful
completion of joint state trials and a shares-swap that would give United Aircraft
control of the Ukrainian company. (Antonov)
It is still not clear whether India and
Russia are going ahead with the
Multirole Transport Aircraft, despite the
2007 signature of an inter-government
agreement and a planned flight in
2014. (Ilyushin)
Affectionately named Grizzly by its test
crew hence the picture stencilled by
the front access door of the first
example it appears that Grizzly will
be the new name of the A400M,
which made its air show dbut at
Berlins ILA in June, where this picture
was taken. Based on a renegotiated
development and production contract,
at least 170 will be built for the seven
launch customers. (Armada/EHB)
Ukrainian Air Force, are due to be com-
pleted by the Kiev-based Aviant in 2011.
The Russian Air Force evidently expects
to receive one or two An-70s in 2014 or
2015. Volga-Dnepr Airlines plans to be
the launch customer for the An-70T com-
mercial version, and Polet Airlines has
also expressed interest.
By the time these words are printed,
representatives of EADS and seven gov-
ernments should have signed a new devel-
opment and production contract for the
141-tonne Airbus Military A400M (see
cover photograph), replacing the original
unworkable 20 billion deal for 180 air-
craft. The launch customers are expected to
provide an additional two billion Euros for
development, and a Euro 1.5 billion loan is
to be repaid from export profits. Britain is
expected to reduce its order from 25 to 22
aircraft and Germany has the option of cut-
ting back from 60 to 53.
Quad Jets
One A400M substitute currently offered
to South Africa is the stretched 210-tonne
Ilyushin Il-76MF, which so far exists only
in prototype form. As a sweetener,
Ilyushin is proposing to establish an Il-76
maintenance base in South Africa. The
In the same weight class as the Il-76,
Xian Aircraft is developing the wide-
body Y-20, which looks (from models
exhibited) very like the C-17. The Y-20
was due to be unveiled at the end of 2009
but is running late.
Boeings 265-tonne C-17 Globemaster
III has been outstandingly successful. US
Air Force orders now stand at 223, of
tification of the plane should be achieved
towards the end of 2011 or early in 2012.
The emphasis is now on persuading South
Africa to reactivate its order for eight
A400Ms (cancelled in late 2009) and to
find new buyers, such as Chile and (in the
longer term) the US Air Force.
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
which 43 have been added by Congress.
Exports stand at a total of 25 for Aus-
tralia, Canada, Nato, Qatar, Britain and
the United Arab Emirates, but India is in
the course of ordering ten and Saudi Ara-
bia is expected to place a double-digit
order soon. The proposed C-17FE deriv-
ative would have a smaller, all-composite
fuselage and is aimed at JTFL.
All 111 US Air Force Lockheed Mar-
tin C-5 Galaxies (built as 60 C-5As, 49
C-5Bs and two C-5Cs) were originally to
have been given the avionics modernisa-
tion programme (AMP). However,
approval to begin retiring C-5As is now
working its way through Congress, which
may allow the first 17 C-5As to be retired
in FY11, with a corresponding reduction
in AMP numbers.
Current plans are to have 52 C-5s (49
C-5Bs, two C-5Cs and one C-5A) given
both the AMP and the Reliability
Enhancement and Re-engining Program
(Rerp) by 2016, producing C-5M Super
Galaxies. The first four C-5Ms are to be
delivered by the end of 2010.
Through the 18-nation Salis (Strategic
Airlift Interim Solution) programme, the
392-tonne Antonov An-124-100 operated
by Volga-Dnepr and Antonov Airlines,
has become a key element in supporting
operations in Afghanistan. In 2008 an
agreement was signed by the govern-
ments of Russia and the Ukraine on
restarting production at Aviastar. Accord-
ing to Antonov (at Berlins ILA 2010), the
new model will be the An-124-200 with
modernised avionics and flight deck, and
an 80% increase in fatigue life.
Dwarfing the
diminutive 6.4-
tonne Dornier
Do228NG, the
392-tonne Antonov
An-124-100 is
operated by Volga-
Dnepr Airlines.
Russia and the
Ukraine have
agreed to restart
An-124 production.
(Messe Berlin)
Bridging Continents
The past year has witnessed some interesting activity in the world of sea mobil-
ity, particularly as regards amphibious support ships. Several countries are
looking to augment their capabilities with new vessels, while others turn to pre-
owned craft to enhance their portfolio of amphibious support assets. Natural
disasters such as the Haiti Earthquake in January this year underscore the need
for the worlds navies to possess amphibious support ships that not only act as
a platform from where humanitarian aid can be dispatched, but that can also
host hospitals to tend the sick and injured, and command centres from where
the relief effort can be co-ordinated.
The Spanish Navys Navantia SPS
Juan Carlos I is one of the newest
designs, which will become Australias
Canberra class
Thomas Withington
n fact, as we shall see in this article,
some of these ships can turn themselves
into major urban centres in their own
right, as they can house almost any essen-
tial trade found in a city, from bakers to
physicians, dentists and engineers the
latter to run their own electric power-
plants and even the modern three-dimen-
sional radar equipping contemporary
amphibious support vessels that can be
pressed into service as surrogate air traf-
fic control radar when similar land-based
facilities have been destroyed or are no
longer functioning. Perhaps even more
importantly, some are designed to be cer-
tified as civilian ships, with military assets
being optional, which would theoretically
enable them to access any harbour when
they are in clean configuration.
Russia Rethinks
In August 2009, Russia took the radical
step of purchasing a foreign-designed
ship for service with its navy in the form
of a Mistral class amphibious support
vessel from the French shipbuilder
DCNS. Although at present the Russian
government is only considering the pur-
chase of a single unit, this could increase
to four ships that would be built jointly in
Russia and France. Russia's decision to
purchase the Mistral class vessels owes
much to the nation's changing maritime
posture. Moscow has realised the impor-
tance of power projection in its nearby
littoral regions, notably the Baltic and
Black seas.
Fusing the Mistral class ships together
with a robust amphibious assault capabil-
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
ity, which could be reinforced with air-
craft such as the Kamov Ka-50 attack hel-
icopter, will give Russia a thorough 21st
Century amphibious warfare capability.
Current plans call for the first two exam-
ples of these ships to be deployed with
the Pacific and Northern Fleets, although
this latter deployment could cause some
friction with Russia's Baltic neighbours
mindful of the power projection capabil-
ities this signifies. For example, in Febru-
ary 2010 Lithuania's Minister of Nation-
al Defence pledged to raise the issue of
Russia's Mistral acquisition with other
European Union Defence Ministers. The
Mistral sale has also triggered misgivings
in some parts of the United States
defence establishment with Defense Sec-
retary Robert Gates, noting his concern
regarding the sale of the Mistral vessels
to Russia, the step change that this may
confer on Russian amphibious warfare
capabilities, and how this may alter the
balance of power vis--vis amphibious
capabilities in Russia's coastal regions. It
is interesting to note that, short of
expressing concern regarding the Mistral
sale to Russia, Mr. Gates and his col-
leagues are said to be in a weak position
regarding the veto of any sale, as Mistral
vessels do not contain any American
technology, making it difficult for Wash-
ington to block the sale.
At any rate, Russias Defence Minis-
ter, Anatoli Serdunikov, announced in
late August 2010 that the purchase was
not sealed and that Russia had decided to
launch an international tender, which
opens the doors to several contenders like
South Korea and possibly Spain with a
variant of its Navantia Juan Carlos I.
Reports in December last year also
spoke of Russia evaluating some other
amphibious support ship designs. In par-
ticular, Moscow was reportedly looking
at Navantia's BPE (Buque de Proyeccin
Estratgica/Strategic Projection Vessel)
design, from which the Royal Australian
Navy's Canberra class vessels are
derived. One attraction of this design,
which is lacking in the Mistral class, is that
although these ships lack both a ski jump
and a through-deck design for the use of
fixed-wing aircraft.
The acquisition of the Mistrals would
be a major enhancement for the Russian
navys amphibious warfare capabilities,
which, at present, include Project
1171/Tapir class and Project 775/Rop-
ucha landing ships. The Tapir vessels, of
which the Russian fleet is thought to
comprise four, displace up to 4775 tonnes
when fully loaded and can accommodate
up to 440 troops. However, these ships
are not getting any younger, having been
launched in the mid-1960s.
Meanwhile, around nine of the Rop-
ucha class landing ships remain in service.
These vessels are slightly smaller than the
Tapirs, displacing around 4663 tonnes fully
loaded, capable of carrying up to 25
armoured personnel carriers and using
bow and stern ramps for the loading and
unloading of vehicles, troops and cargo.
These ships are slightly younger than the
Tapirs, having entered service in the mid-
1970s, but this still makes them over three
decades old. These two classes of landing
ship are reinforced by four Project
1232.2/Zubr class Landing Craft Air
Cushion vehicles, however, for the pur-
Natural disasters
such as the
earthquake in the
Caribbean island of
Haiti earlier this year
once again
underlined the
important role that
amphibious support
ships can perform in
bringing much-
needed humani -
tarian supplies into
disaster areas. (US
Russia is expected to
purchase a Mistral class
amphibious support vessel
as a much-needed
supplement to its naval
fleet. However, these
plans have brought
controversy with some of
Russias neighbours, who
are nervous about the
ships intended use.
Like Canadas
Protecteur class
vessels, the Royal
Netherlands Navys
HNLMS Zuiderkruis
is similarly aged.
The Dutch plan to
replace this vessel
with three combined
replenishment and
amphibious support
craft known as the
Joint Logistics
Support Ship. (Nato)
poses of this discussion, these ships cannot
really be considered bona fide amphibious
support ships, as their role is still fast trans-
port to the shore; as such they are essen-
tially beefed-up landing craft.
The advent of the Mistrals would, at a
stroke, vastly increase the quantity of
materiel that could be carried to support
an amphibious operation, and they could
act as a command centre platform for
such operations, and a flat-top deck
which could be used to support helicop-
ter missions. With these capabilities in
mind it is easy to see how Russias neigh-
bours regard the Mistral acquisition with
some suspicion.
New Mistral
For its part, France operates two of the
Mistral class, the Mistral and the Ton-
nerre, and is expected to receive a third
unit as part of a nationwide economic
stimulus effort. The keel for this new ship
was laid down on 18 April 2009 and she is
expected to be launched by the end of the
year as the Yser, taking her name from
the Battle of the Yser involving the
French Fusiliers Marins during the Great
it features a ski jump over the bow, which
could enable the Russians to operate
fighters. The Russian Navy is no stranger
to ski jump aircraft carrier operations
and has used such a structure on its
Admiral Kuznetsov class ships for its
Sukhoi Su-27Ks (Nato reporting name
Flanker). Moreover, the Russian Navy
is thought to be interested in the Rotter-
dam class built by Damen Schelde Naval
Shipbuilding in the Netherlands,
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
War, when a section of the Belgian coast-
line was secured by the Allies. The Mistral
vessels displace around 21,300 tonnes
and can accommodate up to 900 person-
nel. Within the well deck there is space
for four landing craft and the ship can
carry up to 230 vehicles. Meanwhile, for
the air assault mission, a total of 14 heli-
copters can be accommodated. These
capabilities make the Mistrals some of
klijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy)
since 1975. The new vessels will constitute
a quantum leap compared to the capabil-
ities of the Zuiderkruis. They will also
more than double the current capability
of the Royal Dutch Navy as far as
amphibious support ships are concerned.
At present, the fleet operates a pair of
Rotterdam class Landing Platform
Docks that displace 12,750 tonnes (in the
170 armoured personnel carriers, or 33
main battle tanks can be carried along
with either four or six Landing Craft
Vehicle Personnel Mk 3 or Landing Craft
Utility Mk 4 vessels. Like Canadas Joint
Support Ship concept (see below), the
Dutch Navy is on the lookout for a vessel
that can perform the amphibious support
mission, carry helicopters, treat casualties
in a floating hospital and act as an under-
way replenishment and conventional sea
lift platform. In total, the navy would like
to acquire three units, although such a
diverse range of missions could give the
vessels a considerable cost.
Although now a
comparatively old
vessel, the Canadian
Forces Maritime
Command HMCS
Protecteur continues to
support underway
replenishment and
amphibious missions.
She has a total
displacement of
24,700 tonnes, and
can accommodate
two Sikorsky SH-3
Sea King helicopters.
(Canadian Forces
Maritime Command)
The Protecteurs sister ship is the HMCS
Preserver. These two vessels will
ultimately be replaced by the same
number of new vessels which are
expected to perform amphibious
support and also underway
replenishment. (Canadian Forces
Maritime Command)
Inside, the Joint Logistics Support
Ship concept will have 2000 lane-metres
of space and a flight deck sufficient for six
helicopters (or two Boeing CH-47 Chi-
nook-sized aircraft), plus a lift, cranes and
two masts for replenishment at sea. The
ship will be designed around a roll-
on/roll-off configuration with a stern
ramp for the transfer of troops, materiel,
and vehicles. However, it has not, so far,
been reported whether these new vessels
will be outfitted with a well deck for land-
ing craft. A complement of up to 150
crewmembers is expected, along with
accommodation for the same number of
passengers. For self-defence, these ships
will be outfitted with two Thales Goal-
keeper close-in weapon systems, a pair of
30-mm remote weapon stations and four
12.7-mm machine guns. The budget for
the acquisition is around 365.5 million
The USNS Watkins, a
ship of the US Navys
Military Sealift
Command is connected
to the heavy lift cargo
ship the MV Mighty
Servant in the
foreground. The
Watkins was able to
transfer her cargo
down to the Mighty
Servant on a ramp from
where it was loaded
onto hovercraft. (US
The sixth example of
the San Antonio class
of amphibious support
ships in the US Navy is
the USS San Diego. To
be home-ported in the
city of the same name,
this ship is due to be
commissioned into
naval service in 2011.
(US Navy)
the largest amphibious support craft out-
side the United States.
A third vessel would represent a
major enhancement for the French Navy,
which has no doubt been wondering how
it managed to cope for so long without
the impressive capabilities offered by the
type. There is even some discussion of
whether the keel for a fourth example
could be laid down, although it is unclear
if this vessel would equip the French
Navy, or would instead be the first in the
class for the Russian Navy.
Going Dutch
The Dutch, meanwhile, as of January
2010, have embarked on their Joint
Logistics Support Ship (JLSS) pro-
gramme. This programme, which will be
fulfilled by Damen Naval Shipbuilding in
the Netherlands, is intended to yield a
vessel displacing 28,000 tonnes with a
view to replacing the 16,256-tonne
HNLMS Zuiderkruis replenishment ship
that has been in service with the Konin-
case of the first-of-class Rotterdam) and
16,800 tonnes for the HNLMS Johann de
Witt, which is 14 metres longer.
Together these two vessels can carry a
full marine battalion at a maximum speed
of 18 knots across a 3728-km range. In
terms of aircraft, the Rotterdam class can
host two Agustawestland AW-101 sized
helicopters, and up to four similarly-sized
aircraft in the hangar. As far as vehicles
and landing craft are concerned, up to
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
with delivery of the first vessel occurring
in 2014. In addition, the design has been
mooted as a possible contender for any
restarted Canadian Joint Support Ship
programme (see below), however this
design would almost certainly
need to be augmented with ice-breaking
M80 Stiletto
While Canadas amphibious support ship
ambitions may have foundered, this can-
not be said for the US Navy. The services
M80 Stiletto vessel, which uses an inno-
vative M-shaped hull, deployed on 13
only does this make the Stilleto suitable
for amphibious and coastal operations,
but also a rigid hull inflatable boat can be
deployed from the vessel to perform the
stop and search of other craft.
Furthermore, M-hull vessels could also
be designed in such a fashion that they
could be physically linked together to pro-
vide a large platform for the storage of
materiel, which would dovetail nicely with
the US Navys sea-basing concept. Sea-
basing takes its influence from the Mul-
berry Harbours used by the Allies during
the World War Two D-Day landings. The
concept focuses on building a large sea-
based logistics hub that could be located
over the horizon, out of reach of enemy
shore weapons, for the provision of troops,
vehicles and supplies to units performing
amphibious and coastal operations.
The Stiletto is unlikely to be procured
as a series of vessels as it has been used
solely as a test bed, however it may well
prove some important technologies that
the navy can spin out into future designs
of amphibious support vessels. Essential-
ly, the vessel could help to iron out some
of the issues relating to M-shaped hull
vessels before the US Navy takes the
ambitious step of designing its next gen-
eration of naval support ships around this
hull configuration.
San Antonio
October 2009 saw Northrop Grumman
deliver the USS New York, a San Antonio
class amphibious support ship. Until now,
the US Navy had been experiencing
some challenges regards the introduction
of these new amphibious vessels. Any
complex piece of military equipment will
always suffer some growing pains upon
service entry, although the USS San
Antonio, the lead ship in the eponymous
class, had been particularly unlucky as the
cost of the ship rose from $ 700 million to
over $ 1.7 billion.
Sea trials of the San Antonio experi-
enced problems with the vessels steering
systems in March 2007, and other repairs
were also necessary, which lead to the
ship first being deployed on a mission
two-and-a-half years after the navy had
accepted her into service. When deployed
to the Persian Gulf in 2008 as part of an
operational mission, the ship suffered
Returning to her
homeport of Norfolk
Naval Station, the US
Navys USS New York
is named after the
state and not the city.
Steel salvaged from
the wreckage of the
World Trade Center
was used in her
construction. (US
The US Navys
Improved Navy
Lighterage System is
being procured to
replace the antiquated
lighter fleet that the
service is currently
reliant upon. The new
lighterage system has a
modular construction
increasing its flexibility.
(US Navy)
As well as being used
for the transfer of
materiel from ship to
shore, the vessels of US
Navys Improved Navy
Lighterage System can
be configured as a
ramp to allow ships to
disgorge their cargo on
the shore or beach
when insufficient port
facilities are available
for this task. (US Navy)
capabilities, which may well add cost and
complexity to the project.
Joint Support Ships
Canadas navy needs a new support ship
to replace the HMCS Protecteur and
HMCS Preserver supply ships, which have
been in service since the late 1960s. The
Canadian Forces Maritime Command had
intended to acquire three multi-purpose
vessels, known as Joint Support Ships
(JSS) to perform amphibious operations
support, in addition to sealift and at sea
replenishment. The command issued a
Request for Proposals to this effect in
2006, with delivery earmarked for 2012.
Two bidders, Thyssenkrupp Marine Sys-
tems of Germany and Canadas SNC-
Lavalin Profac were eventually shortlisted
to provide two competing designs for the
JSS requirement. However, as of August
2008, the programme was terminated
amid reports alleging the unsuitability of
the designs submitted for the request for
proposals. The result is that, for the time
being, the Royal Canadian Navy will have
to solider on with its existing Protecteur
class vessels, which are not getting any
younger. However, this does potentially
leave the door open for the further acqui-
sition of up to three amphibious support
vessels at a later date for the force.
June last year to support counter-nar-
cotics missions as part of the Joint Inter-
agency Task Force South in the
Caribbean Sea. The Stilettos ground-
breaking design allows the vessel to reach
maximum speeds of 51 knots, while dis-
placing up to 60 tonnes. The ship can also
operate at speed in shallow waters, given
its 76-cm draft. Crucially, the hull design
attenuates wave erosion and also gives
the shock mitigation characteristics of a
conventional hull with the stability of a
multi-hulled craft. In terms of reducing
the visual signature of the vessel, the
crafts wake is assuaged by its design. Not
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
leaks in oil pipes lubricating the power-
plants. It is difficult to pin down exactly
what has caused these problems. Some
reports in the general media cite prob-
lems experienced with the three-dimen-
sional computer-aided design tools used
during the ships development. The USS
New Orleans, the next vessel in the class,
also suffered problems and did not
deploy on a mission until two years after
it had been commissioned.
While the problems suffered by these
vessels have no doubt been a serious
inconvenience for the navy, the work
undertaken in repairing them will hope-
fully at least afford some understanding
on how to remedy faults earlier on in the
production schedule for later vessels,
three of which are still to be launched, to
ensure that the disruption to the San
Antonio class service lives is minimal
once these future ships enter service. The
US Navy, to this end, is still awaiting the
delivery of the USS San Diego, USS
Anchorage, USS Arlington and the USS
Somerset, the latter of which should enter
service by 2012. In total, the San Antonio
class will replace four separate series of
amphibious support ships. These include
the Austin class, the Anchorage class
dock landing ships and Newport class
tank landing craft.
Lightening the Load
Ships are vital for sea mobility but so is
lighterage. Lighterage is the term navies
confer on small craft designed to trans-
port cargo or personnel from ship to
shore. Lighterage includes amphibians,
landing craft, discharge lighters, cause-
ways and barges. However, lighters do
have one important difference in that
they tend to have a flat shape, enabling
them to carry loads, and also to be linked
together to form ramps over which vehi-
cles can drive from a ship to the shore in
situations where port environments are
either destroyed on non-existent. The US
Navy has always carried its lighters on the
forces Maritime Prepositioning Ships
operated by Military Sealift Command,
and the service has recognised the impor-
tance of this humble, yet vital, craft pour-
ing investment into the Improved Navy
Lighterage System.
In 2003 Marinette Marine was awarded
a fixed-price contract for the production
of the Improved Navy Lighterage System
(INLS). The system consists of powered
and non-powered floating barges that can
be assembled as warping tugs, roll-on/roll-
off discharge facilities and causeway fer-
ries. The completed lighters will be deliv-
ered to Naval Amphibious Construction
Battalion One in California, Naval
Amphibious Construction Battalion Two
in Virginia and the Expeditionary Warfare
Training Group in Florida. Since its entry
into service, the Improved Navy Lighter-
age System has been used to support US
Navy operations during the Haitian earth-
quake earlier this year.
This new lighter design comprises
three sections, one of which houses a
powerplant and a control station, which
connects to an intermediate flat platform
and thence to a beach section which con-
nects to the shore with a ramp. This entire
ensemble can be ready for use in less than
two hours and can carry its cargo to the
beach at speeds of up to twelve knots an
important improvement compared to the
4.5 kt of the preceding lighters used by
the service. Moreover, in terms of flexi-
bility, these new craft can comfortably
operate in conditions of up to sea state
three, which is a step forward compared
to previous lighters which were restricted
to operating in conditions of up to sea
state two.
However, thanks to its flexible design,
should an amphibious support ship need
to transfer cargo to the shore, the lighters
can be assembled together to form a roll-
on/roll-off facility that could stretch 73
metres in length and 21 metres in width
and be assembled in less than 24 hours.
One concept of operations for the ro-ro
facility calls for vehicles to drive off their
ships onto the discharge facility and from
there onto waiting lighters or landing
craft to be transferred to the shore. Once
again, this harks back to the navys
guiding philosophy of sea-basing (see
above) which is designed to keep the
logistics supporting an amphibious force
as far out to sea, and hence out of danger,
as possible.
Looking towards the future, Asia
appears to be the driving force behind an
expected rash of acquisitions as far as
amphibious ships are concerned. The
Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 shook a
number of navies around the region into
realising that their capabilities to deal
with natural disasters were inadequate.
Moreover, an increasingly blue water
focus of navies such as South Korea and
Taiwan means that amphibious support
vessels have become part of a wider port-
folio of naval capabilities that these
forces want to be able to perform at
Canberra Class
The Royal Australian Navy is already
ahead of the game in constructing two
Canberra class Landing Helicopter
Docks named Canberra and Adelaide,
which are expected to be commissioned
in 2011. At present, the force makes use
of the HMAS Tobruk Heavy Landing
Ship, which was commissioned into the
fleet in 1981. Displacing 5893 tonnes, the
Tobruk has an 8000-nm range at 15 kt and
The Japanese
Maritime Self-Defense
Force has recently
inducted the first of its
Hyuga class
helicopter carriers into
service. The force may
move ahead with
plans to acquire a
large 19,812-tonne
vessel to support
operations. (US Navy)
The Royal Australian Navys HMAS Tobruk landing ship is now a little long in the tooth
and efforts are afoot to replace this vessel with the two new Canberra class
amphibious support ships that the navy will acquire shortly. These will greatly increase
the forces capabilities. (US Navy)
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
can carry up to 16 main battle tanks or 40
armoured personnel carriers, along with
520 troops. As regards aviation, two Boe-
ing CH-47 Chinook-sized helicopters can
be accommodated on the main cargo
deck and a single similar-sized aircraft on
the rear flight deck. At a stroke, the intro-
duction of the Canberra class adds two
ships that each displace up to 27,851
tonnes and can carry up to 1000 troops
and 150 vehicles. On the flight deck and
in the hangar, 24 helicopters of Sikorsky
S-70B Blackhawk size can be conveyed
and a ski jump also outfits the vessel. This
useful bit of foresight prepares the ships
for the eventual operation of Lockheed
Martin F-35B Lightning II Short Take
Off and Vertical Landing aircraft at a
later date.
North of Australia, Japan has
enhanced its amphibious warfare capa-
bilities with the introduction into service
of the first vessel in the Hyuga class of
helicopter carriers, which was commis-
sioned on 18 March last year. This ship is
the largest vessel operated by the Japan
Maritime Self-Defense Force since the
Second World War, displacing 18,000
tonnes fully loaded. On the flight deck
the Hyuga can carry up to eleven heli-
copters. A second ship, to be named Ise, is
expected to be commissioned in 2011.
She will join the Hyuga to support Japan-
ese naval operations. However, two heli-
copter carriers maybe insufficient for
Japanese needs, and reports are circulat-
ing that the force may acquire a vessel
displacing around 19,812 tonnes and
accommodating up to 14 helicopters, plus
4000 troops and 50 trucks. As well as sup-
plementing the Hyuga class, this huge
ship would reinforce the 22 assorted tank
landing ships, mechanised and utility
landing craft and hovercraft that the
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force cur-
rently operates.
A Passage from India
Australia and Japan are not the only two
Asian powers enhancing their amphibi-
ous warfare capabilities. In 2009 the final
example of the Shardul class of tank land-
ing ships, the INS Airavat, was commis-
sioned into Indian naval service. Displac-
ing 5649 tonnes, the ship joins its two sis-
ters, the Shardul and Kesari, each
accommodating up to 500 troops, ten
armoured vehicles and eleven tanks, plus
a single helicopter landing spot. The entry
into service of the Airavat represents the
latest step in the long-running moderni-
sation of the Indian Navys amphibious
capabilities, the centrepiece of which was
the recent entry into service of the former
US Navy Austin class amphibious sup-
port platform USS Trenton, which was
renamed INS Jalashwa.
Additional amphibious support ves-
sels are expected to enter service in the
future, although the size of these ships,
along with the number to be procured,
has yet to have been decided. The expan-
sion of the Indian Navys amphibious
capability is being eagerly watched
around the Asian region. While events
such as the Indian Ocean tsunami were
instrumental in highlighting the short-
comings of the amphibious capabilities of
several navies in the Asia-Pacific region,
there is no doubt that amphibious capa-
bilities can also be used for offensive
operations. Along with its new aircraft
carrier in the form of the ex-Russian
Navy Kiev class ship, the Admiral Gor-
shkov, the Indian Navys emerging
amphibious posture will give the force
impressive power projection tools
around the Asian region.
Design for Life
Should India embark upon a further
acquisition of amphibious support ves-
sels, the country will, along with Canada
(which is also in the market for new
amphibious platforms see above), have
several design concepts from which to
choose. The efforts of the French, Dutch
and United States, with their respective
Mistral craft, JLLS concept and San
Antonio class, betray three different
philosophies as regards the design of
amphibious support vessels.
The French, for their part, have made
considerable use of commercial design
and building standards in their Mistral
ships, prompting some naval observers to
consider them as essentially militarised
car ferries with a flattop deck. Yet the
French design has illustrated that it is
possible to build a vessel in such a man-
ner and these vessels have been in con-
sistently high demand around the world
to support humanitarian missions.
The Dutch, meanwhile, have opted to
fold a number of rolls such as transport,
replenishment and amphibious landing
support into one vessel, reducing the
need to procure additional platforms for
these missions, which may help to reduce
acquisition costs, although they still have
to be constructed and cost overruns are
always a danger in new naval pro-
Finally, the United States has devel-
oped a tailor-made amphibious support
vessel in the form of the San Antonio
class, designed from the ground up as a
military ship. These three approaches
illustrate that there are no right or
wrong answers as regards the design of
amphibious support ships and that invari-
ably a number of different design
approaches exist to suit navies of all sizes
and budgets.
The Japan Maritime
Self-Defense Force
deploys helicopter
carriers in the form
of the JDS Kunisaki
amphibious support
ship the third in
her class and seen
here in the centre of
this picture. She can
carry up to 40
vehicles and 330
troops. (US Navy)
Formerly the USS Trenton, an Austin
class amphibious support ship of the
US Navy, this vessel now serves with
the Indian Navy as the INS Jalashwa.
She is the latest acquisition in a long-
running initiative by the navy to
upgrade its amphibious support
capabilities. (US Navy)
The LAV Technology Demonstrator represents the ongoing commitment by General Dynamics
Land Systems to deliver unmatched expertise and technical superiority in light armor technology.
Based on the LAV platform that has delivered consistently on missions across the globe, the
LAV Technology Demonstrator benets from lessons learned through over 40 million operational
kilometres. It now offers enhancements that will keep eets at the forefront of light armor
technology: Improved survivability, lethality, mobility, power and situational awareness.
The Best Just Got Better
Establishing a new level of performance
Paolo Valpolini
ven truck cabins are increasingly
being armoured with logistical con-
voys now an obvious target for insur-
gents. The other effect of the growing
roadside bomb threat is that now units
deploying for operational purposes tend
to prefer travelling off-road, making it
much more difficult for insurgents to pre-
dict a convoys route. This, however, pre-
supposes a higher reliability of mobility-
related subcomponents, such as wheels,
because tracked vehicles are now a
minority in the vehicle fleets used down-
range. While tracks have proven their
effectiveness in cross country operations,
especially in wintertime, it is the advent of
new types which combine medium-heavy
vehicle high mobility with less damage to
local road systems that might bring them
back to a more prominent status.
Logistical Mobility
If tactical mobility for combat units is an
obvious must, logistical mobility is of
paramount importance to support it. If
this was obvious in war situations with a
linear front (the first Gulf War was first of
all a logistical victory), it becomes even
more important in non-linear scenarios,
where logistics convoys do not move in a
friendly environment, but in the same
high-risk environment as their opera-
tional colleagues tasked with increasing
security and stability.
The number of attacks against logistics
convoys the latest in early June in Pak-
istan at time of writing show well the
importance that insurgents (for political
or economical purposes) give to the sup-
ply chain. This chain is directly linked to
combat mobility, as fuel is a major compo-
nent. Since it is often impossible to consis-
tently assign a combat force to protect
them (in the mid-2000s in Iraq escorts
were limited to a few Humvees armed
with 12.7-mm machine guns and 40-mm
automatic grenade launchers), some logis-
ticians started to up-armour transport
cabins in typical soldier do-it-yourself
style as a remedy to the slow delivery pace
of officially issued protected trucks.
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
Mobility: More and More a
Wheeled Business
It is more and more difficult to split land mobility subjects from those which fall
into well defined categories such as light armoured vehicles, for example. This
stems from the fact that in todays combat operations military units have to face
threats, mainly from roadside bombs, that can hit any vehicle on the move what-
ever their task (combat or support), which means that most if not all the vehicles
that move along the Iraqi and Afghan roads are now heavily armoured de facto
making them light armoured vehicles, Mraps or medium armoured vehicles. In
other words, very few unarmoured vehicles are still used for operational pur-
poses, and most of these fall into the special forces equipment category.
Mercedes-Benz Actros 8 x 8 high-
mobility truck equipped with an
armoured cabin
Even front engine
trucks such as this
Mercedes Zetros
6 x 6 are being
equipped with
protected cabins.
The trend was, however, not a new
one, and since the operations in Bosnia-
Herzegovina some nations had begun to
provide some degree of protection to
their logistic vehicles.
The US Army is currently moving on
with its Long-Term Armor Strategy
(Ltas), which, in the lower segment, looks
at Hummer recapitalisation, but in the
heavier one takes care of FMTVs (Fami-
ly of Medium Tactical Vehicles),
HEMTTs (Heavy Expanded Mobility
Tactical Truck), the M915 truck family
and all relevant trailers. In the first
instance though, recapitalisation focuses
on new technologies that might improve
fleet performances in a programme
known as Emip (Expedited Moderniza-
tion Initiative Procedure), while in the
upper scale the Ltas focuses on the sec-
ond generation of tactical wheeled vehi-
cles armouring strategy.
This comes in the form of a baseline
kit known as A-kit to provide basic pro-
tection against ballistic, mine and blast
threats, but which at the same time offers
provision for the installation of add-on
B-kits able to cope with higher threat
areas. Why two kits, one may ask? Well,
this allows to shift B-kits amongst vehi-
cles according to needs and thereby
reduces the need for a whole fleet of
heavily armoured logistic vehicles.
Since 2008, one of the companies that
has most benefited from the Ltas pro-
gramme is BAE Systems. In mid-April
2008 it was awarded a $ 43.6 million con-
tract to manufacture 730 Ltas A-Kit-con-
figured cargo vehicles. This covered the
initial production and full-scale ramp-up
of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehi-
cles (FMTV) Ltas variants (both the 2.5-
tonne payload 4 x 4 and the five-tonne
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
tract worth up to $ 2.2 billion, with $ 1.65
billion of funding already agreed, for up
to 10,000 Ltas FMTVs, and also included
a one-year option for the procurement of
10,000 additional vehicles, which materi-
alised in November.
One month later a follow-on contract
for 761 B-kits went to BAE Systems,
which followed a previous contract award-
ed in March 2007. This was followed in
February 2009 by yet another order for up
to 5108 B-kits and yet another in April for
500 FMTV ten-tonne dump trucks in Ltas
configuration. The subsequent bid for the
FMTV A1P2 re-buy contract was won by
Oshkosh; this five-year contract includes
up to 12,415 trucks and 10,926 trailers. The
FMTV family comes in 14 truck and three
trailer variants. Following a protest filed
by the two other competitors, the contract
was confirmed in February 2010, leading
to the production of 2568 trucks and trail-
ers with the first units being delivered in
late May 2010.
The FMTV family is certainly not the
only one to benefit from the Ltas treat-
ment. Oshkosh has been asked to
redesign its 8 x 8 HEMTT to provide an
Ltas cabin compatible with B-kits. Known
The MAN HX81
high-mobility truck
has been down-
selected for the
Australian bid.
Oshkosh has won
the last contract for
US Army FMTVs,
which has a
potential to include
over 12,000 units.
The US Long-Term Armor Strategy is to equip all trucks with a basic armour solution,
but upgradeable with add-on kits. Here an Oshkosh HEMTT A4, the latest version,
which adopts the Ltas cabin. (Oshkosh)
as the HEMTT A4, the new version has a
new 500-hp Caterpillar engine (55 hp
more than its A2 forerunner), improved
suspension, a cabin fitted with integrated
under-cab protection and an integrated
mounting for Gunners Protection Kit and
machine gun mount. These trucks are part
of the US Army FHTV (Family of Heavy
Tactical Vehicles). Oshkosh also applied
the Ltas concept to its LVSR (Logistic
Vehicle System Replacement), a 10 x 10
for which first full production order came
in early 2009. In parallel, orders for new
and recapitalised HEMTT A4s as well as
for B-kits for those vehicles also came in.
The first HEMTT A4 was delivered in
April 2009. The most recent order was
filled in late June for 1900 A4s and 350
PLS (Palletized Load System) the latter
fitted with the same Ltas-compliant cab-
ins as the A4.
Mercedes-Benz in Germany is mar-
keting its full range of logistics vehicles
equipped with armoured solutions of dif-
ferent types, according to vehicle capaci-
payload 6 x 6). BAE Systems Ltas is a
system designed for the FMTV and
includes a different cab and vehicle ele-
ments allowing for significant increases
in weight. A follow-on modification
included a further 103 A-kits. That same
year, in June, the US Department of
Defense awarded BAE Systems a con-
ties. In the lighter range, the Unimog
U5000 is available in three different con-
figurations: one as personnel transport
with a two-seat single cab and an
armoured body, the second with a four-
seat double cab and armoured body,
available for command post, ambulance
or other configurations, and the third
with single cab and unprotected body.
The latter version, however, has the most
heavily protected cab; Levels 2 ballistic
and 2b anti-mine, but still leaving a two-
tonne payload capacity, while the first
two models respectively protected to 2/2a
and 1/1 standards.
The Zetros series of four to ten-tonne
trucks is provided with Level 3/3b pro-
tection. The cabins are said to withstand
a 50-kg TNT-equivalent blast, although
the range is not indicated. The armoured
Actros 8 x 8 family of trucks still offers a
payload capacity of up to 15 tonnes and
provides their two-man crews ballistic
protection of up to Stanag Level 3, mine
protection of Level 3b (eight kg AT-mine
under belly) and a 50-kg TNT blast and
high-velocity fragment protection.
Eurosatory 2010, however, saw the
launch of the Actros 4151 AK 8 x 8 offer-
ing an even higher level of protection
up to Level 4 ballistic and Level 4b
against mines together with superior
protection against roadside and car
bombs. This result comes from an optimi-
sation of the cabin structure which
allowed packing more protection and to
fit new seats with five-point safety har-
nesses. The Actros 4151 AK 8 x 8 on show
earlier in the armoured version have
been tested for the GTF (Geschtzte
Transportfahrzeuge) programme.
As for the export market, the Actros
won the Canadian bid in 2007, 83 8 x 8
armoured trucks having been delivered
in 2007-08 under the main contract plus
13 additional trucks as part of the option,
and they are now operating in
Afghanistan. Currently the Actros is bid-
ding for the Australian Land 121 Over-
lander Phase 3 Medium/Heavy capa-
bility while the Zetros is offered for the
Medium segment. The vehicles were
shortlisted in 2009 after a competitive
evaluation testing; following the request
for tender issued last May the selection
and the contract signature are awaited
for 2011 and the overall requirement
should involve over 2000 vehicles in max-
imum option guise.
Another company that is bidding for
the Australian contract is MAN Military
Vehicle Systems Australia, which is pro-
posing the HX Series high-mobility truck
system. The HX Series includes 4 x 4, 6 x
6 and 8 x 8 chassis in different versions
all can be equipped with modular or inte-
grated armoured cabs. The Modular
Armoured Cabin (Mac) comes in a kit
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
A German Army MAN Multi-FSA equipped with an armoured cabin produced by
KMW. (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann)
Two solutions can
be adopted for
truck cabins,
integral steel
armour replacing
standard cabins,
and add-on
armour, the latter
requiring an
original cabin
sufficiently strong.
that is fixed to the standard cabin and
provides protection against ballistic
threats (Level 2) and against mine threat
(Level 1). The advantage is that it can eas-
ily be installed by two men and removed
and mounted on another truck if needed.
A heavier solution is the Integrated
Armour Cabin (IAC), which comes in the
form of an armoured cabin in itself pro-
viding a higher ballistic protection, Level
3, and a much higher mine protection of
Level 3b (against an eight-kilo anti-tank
mine under belly). The IAC also allows
the installation of a remotely-controlled
weapon station on top of the vehicle for
self-defence purposes.
MAN, which since March 2010 put its
military production under the hat of a
new company, Rheinmetall MAN Mili-
tary Vehicles, with Rheinmetall holding a
51% stake and MAN 49%, also fields
another family, the SX series, in which SX
stands for extreme mobility. Its box frame
has an even higher torsion resistance
was the recovery version, but the new
cabin is transferable to the other variants.
Mercedes-Benz provided numerous
trucks to the German Bundeswehr, and
currently all three models mentioned
An Iveco DV M170
33 WM High
Mobility 4 x 4 truck
with protected cab;
armour solutions
have been
developed with IBD
Deisenroth from
Germany. (Iveco)


Protection at its Very Best.
The Actros 8x8 with STANAG levels 4/4b plus a unique performance package.
Maximum safety, extreme performance and uncompromising
reliability are of decisive importance to armed forces operating
in the field. Mercedes-Benz sets new standards now with its
all-wheel-drive Actros 8x8 equipped with a highly-protected,
integrated armoured cab and a unique performance package.
Its state-of-the-art drive technology, permanent all-wheel-drive,
differential locks on all axles, tyre pressure control system and
easy handling, enable the Actros 8x8 to reach its objectives,
even on the toughest missions.
Bes ioecion woildwide. Ievel 4/4b as delined by
S1AXAt 459 IEIs, AEP Vol. II, EFPcaable
(Exlosive Foimed Piojeciles)
L o 80 tioss Velicle Weigl (tVW)
3 eim. ieai axle weigl a lull owing seed ol 80lm/l
13 liling caaciy wil 2.80 m ieai axle
375 lW (510 l) owei ouu
mees le ligles emission sandaids. Euio 5
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
than the HX series, which together with
progressive coil spring suspensions allow
speedy movement on uneven terrain,
hydro-pneumatic load-regulating shock
absorbers being proposed as an option.
The SX series is offered in 6 x 6 and 8 x 8
chassis carrying various configurations,
the latest being the SX45 8 x 8 heavy tac-
tical recovery vehicle shown at Eurosato-
ry 2010.
The MAN HX represents the core of
the British Army support fleet with over
7000 trucks planned. Some 280 such vehi-
cles were given a protected cabin with
add-on armour from NP Aerospace, pro-
viding Level 2 ballistic and Level 1 blast
protection. Germany ordered 160 SX 8 x
8 trucks which will be known as Multi A4
FSA all equipped with the IAC cabin.
They will enter service in early 2011.
MAN is obviously bidding for the Ger-
man GTF programme with its armoured
cabin trucks. Austria, Denmark and Nor-
way have also adopted the IAC for their
MAN trucks. Denmark acquired 143 HX
and SX trucks in 6 x 6 and 8 x 8 versions,
including 20 equipped with the IAV,
while the remaining feature the Mac
cabin. Leveraging the high commonality
between the two armies, Rheinmetall
MAN eyes with optimism the tender that
should be launched at the end of 2010 by
the Netherlands with a view to replacing
its fleet of tactical and logistic trucks.
Until now IAC cabins were provided by
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), while
Mac add-on kits were coming from various
providers. Since last March, synergies
between Rheinmetall and MAN will lead
to in-house solutions, a Rheinmetall
designed IAC cabin being already under
development while add-on kits will mostly
come from Chempro, a company con-
trolled at 51% by Rheinmetall, the remain-
ing stakes being owned by IBD Deisen-
roth, the German armour specialist.
(6 x 6) and AT 410T (8 x 8) are available
with different wheelbases and with a bal-
listic steel cab with up to four seats. Com-
pared with the original non-armoured
cab, this increases the kerb weight by
between 2.2 and 3.5 tonnes, depending on
model and protection level, but accord-
ingly reduces effective payload capaci-
ties, and still leaves them respectively in
the 10, 15 and over 20-tonne classes.
Armoured cabins are provided by KMW
and the ballistic, anti-mine and roadside
bomb protection levels can be tailored
to customer needs within the limits of
the vehicle.
The Trakker family is in service with
various countries. In Britain Iveco is pro-
viding a fleet of AT 380 45, most of which
equipped with the protected cab. Ger-
many has 150 trucks of the Trakker fami-
ly in service, all with the protected cab,
but an additional 78 were delivered with
decontamination equipment.
The Iveco high-mobility family
includes three main types, the M170 (4 x
4), the M250 (6 x 6) and the M320 (8 x 8),
with different wheelbases and a basic
non-protected cabin designed to accept
The Iveco DV High Mobility family is developed in various versions on 4 x 4, 6 x 6
and 8 x 8 chassis. (Iveco)
Derived from the
commercial Trakker
series, Iveco DV
medium mobility
trucks are equipped
with steel armoured
cabins produced by
Wegmann. (Iveco)
An Italian patrol in
southern Iraq
mounted on Iveco
DV VM90 non-
armoured vehicles
in 2004. New
threats such as IEDs
have considerably
changed the
mobility paradigm.
The Iveco DV portfolio includes two
families of trucks; one based on the com-
mercial Trakker chassis and the other on
the High Mobility line, both with 4 x 4 to
8 x 8 configurations with and without
armoured cabin. The Trakker-based
trucks known as AT 190T (4 x 4), AT 380T
add-on ballistic armour. The Removable
Protection Kits (RPK) have been devel-
oped by Iveco DV together with IBD
Deisenroth of Germany. Iveco provided
400 M250.45 WM eight-tonne 6 x 6s to
Belgium, together with 350 RPKs, while
many versions of the high-mobility fami-
ly are in service with the Italian Army, a
number of them equipped with RPKs for
downrange operations. The same applies
to Spain, one of Iveco DVs main cus-
tomers (the company having a produc-
tion line in that country), which acquired
150 RPKs to be installed on its trucks
deployed in Afghanistan. Spain should
soon issue a new tender for protected
4 x 4s for which Iveco will certainly bid
against principal rivals identified as Sca-
nia and Renault Truck Defense.
Renault Trucks Defense's range of mil-
itary trucks consists of two main products:
the Sherpa Medium tactical truck (6 x 6
and 4 x 4) designed for military needs and
the Kerax logistic truck (4 x 4, 6 x 6, 8 x 4
and 8 x 8) a commercial vehicle mili-
tarised by Renault. They both are avail-


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V ili d d bili j Versatility and adaptabi b lity are just as as
im i po ortant to the tra ans nsfo orm rmat atio ion n of of ttod od od day ay a s s
fffg fg f ht ht htin ing g fo forc rces es as th the e inntr trod oduc ucti ti tion on o o oof f f ne ne ne n w w
ttte tee tech ch chno nolo loogy gyy its tself. The HUM M UMVE VE VEEE

c con onti ti t nu nu n es es es
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of of o ccho ho hoic ice. e W Wit ith h a a GV GVW W of of oove ver r 61 6100 00 kk kg g g an and d
tth the e ad ad dap apta tabi bili lity t tto o supporrtt tr tran ansf sfor orma mati tion on, ,
no other vehicle compares.
Ve Vers rsat atil ilit ity y fo for r to toda day ys s ch chal a leng nges es, , Ad Adap pta tabi bili lity ty ffor or ttom omor orro row ws s mi misssio ions n .
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
able with armoured cabs and self-defence
weapon stations (directly or remotely
operated). Several options are available
depending on the level of protection
required, the vehicles payload capacity
and their configuration. The Service des
Essences of the French Army is for
instance operating a fleet of Kerax 4 x 2
tractor trucks fitted with armoured cabs.
Higher levels of ballistic, mine and road-
side protection are available for the
Kerax 8 x 4 and 8 x 8 variants.
The Kerax 8 x 8 fitted with an
armoured cab was shown at Eurosatory
2010 with a Panhard/Sagem Wasp remote-
ly-operated weapon station, as the French
army is looking for such a solution for its
Porteur Polyvalent Terrestre pro-
gramme, which might involve up to 2500
new trucks. Designed for military needs
since its inception, the Sherpa Medium is
able to receive armoured cabs with high
levels of ballistic, mine and roadside bomb
protection without compromising its all-
terrain mobility and payload capacity.
Some 200 Sherpa Medium 6 x 6s (GBC
ADR) have also been ordered by the
French Army, part of them fitted with
armoured cabs, especially for ammunition
transport. The same type also serves as the
base of the Nexter Caesar artillery system
ordered by France and Thailand.
Renault has also developed an Mrap
variant of the Sherpa Medium 6 x 6.
Other companies also propose trucks
with armoured cabs. Scanias are avail-
able with the Exchangeable Cabin devel-
oped by Centigon, Sisu of Finland offers
its 10 x 10, 8 x 8 and 6 x 6 models with the
Sisu Armoured Cabin accepting add-on
armour up to Level 3 ballistic and mine
protection, Tatras 810 and 815-7 models
offer Level 1 protected cabins, while the
Panhard TC-54 five-tonne high-mobility
truck is also provided with a protected
cab. Numerous manufacturers in Russia
and in other countries also offer protect-
ed crew cabins for their logistic trucks in
order to adapt them to todays battlefield
Armoured-borne Logistics
While trucks were originally developed
as non-protected vehicles and subse-
quently fitted with armoured cabins, the
opposite is also true: to provide logistical
support to mounted patrols operating at
a distance from camps, and in order to
give them vehicles with similar mobility, a
number of vehicles of the Mrap and
lighter categories, born as full light
armoured personnel transport assets, are
becoming available in logistics versions
which, thanks to the smaller protected
volume, normally feature a higher pay-
load capacity compared to their standard
versions. The need for this kind of vehicle
is such that from the outset the US JLTV
programme included two utility versions
the Cat. B vehicle for the US Marine
Corps and the Cat. C vehicle for both the
army and the marines.
Turning to logistics derivatives, the
Oshkosh M-ATV utility variant provides
top protection to its three crew members
(one being the gunner) while retaining a
2.3-tonne payload capacity with a 6 x 8-ft
expanded cargo bed. Force Protection
Armoured cabins
are normally
produced by
subcontracors; here
a Centigon cabin
mounted on a
Renault Trucks
Defense vehicle.
(Renault Trucks
Forward view of a Renault Trucks
Defense Kerax equipped with an
armoured cabin. (Renault Trucks
Despite certain criticism, the irresistible rise of the wheeled vehicle is not likely to show
any signs of respite in the near future as exemplified by Swedens recent order for no
less than 113 armoured Patria AMVs (here a South African MCV) to the tune of SEK
2.5 billion. All vehicles are to be delivered by end-2013. (Patria)
developed the Tactical Support Vehicle
out of its Cougar/Mastiff 6 x 6 family.
Navistar Defense developed the 6 x 6
International Maxx Pro into a full 20-foot
ISO container transporter with a two-
man cabin (and a third optional seat).
Thales Australia, for its part, offers the
single-cab utility vehicle version of its
Bushmaster troop transport vehicle. At
17.2 tonnes laden mass, the vehicle has a
payload capacity of over 5.7 tonnes and is
the only one to feature independent sus-
pensions. Its 4.1-metre-long tray can
accept an ISO half-container. The cab pro-
tection can be tailored to customer needs
thanks to add-on armour. The utility Bush-
master has been downselected for the Aus-
tralian Land 121 Phase 3 contract.
KMW has developed a pick-up ver-
sion of its Dingo 2 with a three-man pro-
tected cabin and a three-tonne payload
capacity. The rear tray can be provided as
a platform or with a twist lock system for
transporting containers and mini-shel-
ters. The cabin roof can host a remote-
control weapon station for self-protec-
tion. Unveiled at Eurosatory 2010 by
GDELS-Mowag, the new Eagle has a
utility version with a two-crew cab and a
3.6-tonne payload capacity and it is high-
ly probable that if and when the Eagle
Hutchinson Industries, Inc
460 Southard Street
Trenton, NJ 08638, USA
Ph: +1-609-394-1010
ApprcximateIy 70% cf aII ccmbat
tires need tc be repIaced due tc
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tbe tire side waII. Tbe RUTCRIN50N
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frcm sucb ccstIy damages wbiIe
aIIcwing tbe vebicIe tc ccmpIete tbe
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Irom damaging rocks & debris
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When the rules of the game keep on changing, Plasan is always one step ahead. Plasan
is a world leader in the design and manufacture of armour and survivability soluons
for emerging threats in the most asymmetric baleelds.
M-ATV Courtesy of Oshkosh Defense
armada Compendium Mobility 2010
6 x 6 will see the light of day a utility ver-
sion will be part of the offer. Iveco DV
has also developed a logistics variant of
its LMV based on the latest chassis.
Stretched by some 300 mm compared to
the earlier models to bring the wheelbase
to 3.53 metres, it is equipped with the
short cab and can accept a 2.6-tonne pay-
load on its rear tray.
Other light armoured vehicles will cer-
tainly follow this example, as they offload
logistical missions to smaller carriers that
are more apt to closely follow mounted
patrols on long-term missions.
Tyre Improvements
The wheel has definitely dominated the
track in current missions. Both have their
pros and cons:
wheeled mobility still needs to be
improved, not only for operations in
increasingly harsh terrain, but also in
terms of reliability, notably its vulnerabil-
ity to punctures where it would be least
useful to control such effects through a
progressive degradation of the vehicles
while tracks still are the best way to cope
with the most difficult cross-country situa-
tions, there still is a need to further devel-
op types that do not damage local road sys-
tems. The other problem with tracked
vehicles is more subjective, but important,
as they convey a much more aggressive
image to a local population, which makes
it antonymous with the idea of the peace
they are supposed to restore.
Various solutions are being proposed
to improve wheel reliability. These range
from run-flat systems, through self-seal-
ing tyres, to non-inflatable tires. Ironical-
ly, the latter solution would swing one
right back to the automotive industry ori-
gins, when WW I trucks were mostly
a non-pneumatic tyre. Although it has
already been tested, its development is
only expected to be finalised by late 2011.
Researchers looked for the best structur-
al solution, considering many designs
offered by nature, which led them to opt
for a honeycomb structure. Obviously
not using pressurised air, it provides
structural rigidity, flexibility and
improved heat dissipation, while reduc-
ing vibration and wear. According to the
developers, the adopted hexagonal cell
pattern duplicates at best the ride feel of
pneumatic tyres.
The requirement from the US Army
Research Laboratory is to develop a tyre
that can withstand the same payload as
current Humvees, that is 1815 kg, which is
fully within the current parameters, while
being able to sustain a speed of 120 km/h
over 100 km with a 10% damage to the
honeycomb structure. The tyre will be
Technologies is
developing a non-
pneumatic tyre for
Humvees that
should be ready for
production in late
2011. (Resilient
Air-Seal Products in
Britain is offering a
new sealing system
that is inserted into
the wheel and fills
punctures in near-
real-time or, when
this is impossible,
to ensure a
controlled deflation.
(Air-Seal Products)
The armoured version of the TC54
Renault Trucks Defense tactical truck.
lighter than that of a standard Humvee
equipped with a run-flat insert. Labora-
tory ballistic tests have already been car-
ried out and showed that damage caused
to the tyre and honeycomb structure by
small and medium calibre rounds gener-
ated only very limited performance
degradation. The stiffness of the polymer
used to build the NPT, as it is called, can
be tuned according to the load and com-
fort required. Unsurprisingly, a more
flexible material provides a smoother
ride but a limited loading while larger
and heavier vehicles would require a
more rigid polymer. To speed-up the
development of the NPT, Resilient Tech-
nologies teamed with Cooper Tire and
Rubber in November 2008.
In the meantime, the current aim is to
allow users on the battlefield to maintain
mobility even when one or more wheels
have been punctured or damaged by
enemy fire. Hutchinson provides a full
range of solutions not only to allow the
damaged vehicle to maintain a high per-
centage of its mobility, but also to reduce
puncture rate. Internal beadlocks answer
the primary requirement to maintain the
traction when the wheel deflates; without
such a system the pneumatic would slip
over the rim and the damaged wheel
would no longer contribute to the vehicle
traction, and even worse, would lead to a
equipped with rigid wheels, often made of
iron and wood definitely a non-punc-
ture solution, but with serious drawbacks
in terms of current traction and comfort
However, Resilient Technologies in
co-operation with the University of Wis-
consin-Madison, is currently working on
www. FutureNaval Pl ansSummi t. com
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total separation of tyre and wheel. The
beadlock is also a key element when air
pressure is decreased to augment tyre
The Hutchinson beadlock is thus com-
patible not only with the majority of tires
and rims but also with central tire infla-
tion systems (CTIS). However, the bead-
lock does not allow running at speed on a
punctured tire over a long distance, one
reason why Hutchinson now also offers
the Runflat VFI (Variable Function
Insert), which not only acts as a beadlock
but also provides an interface between
the rim and the tyre to enable a totally
deflated tyre to continue to run for longer
periods of time.
This solution is a standard fit on many
military vehicles. Both the beadlock and
the VFI integrated system represent a
wheel weight increase of between 15 and
25%. While it indeed remains a penalty, it
is only relative when weighed against the
advantage of still being mobile and there-
fore alive. However, Hutchinson has
developed an aluminium rim that saves
up to 60% weight compared to a standard
steel wheel. In addition, the two-part
bolted rim encloses the CTIS and further
reduces overall weight, number of com-
ponents and mounting time. It is also pro-
vided with a cover to protect the CTIS
and the hub.
The rims can be custom designed and
are used on many vehicles such as the
Stryker and the Iveco LMV, and still
allow having a wheel equipped with a
VFI system at a lesser weight than a stan-
dard mount.
At Eurosatory 2010 Hutchinson
launched the latest of its mobility
enhancement features the Tire Shield.
Developed under, no pun intended, the
pressure of US Forces experience in
A Resilient
Technologies tyre
showing its
capability to
absorb shocks on
uneven ground.
A Panhard VBL demonstrates Hutchinson systems at Eurosatory 2010. The front wheel
is protected by the new Tire Shield while the rear is deflated and still works thanks to
the Runflat VFI. (Armada/PV)
Hutchinson developed the Tire Shield, visible on the front wheel, to answer a US
requirement. US forces in Afghanistan are suffering a high damage rate due to the
puncturing of tyre walls. (Armada/PV)
Afghanistan where many tyres suffered
sidewall damage from rocks, it comes in
the form of a reinforced rubber disk
which is mounted on the tyre side. It also
protects wheels from damages inflicted
by stabs or screwdrivers. First tests
showed that such a solution may reduce
rock-inflicted damage by a mere 10%,
which, considering the whole chain of
events involved, is after all a substantial
saving since, quite apart from the cost of
the tyre itself, the true cost of replacing
high number of wheels in theatre
involves the transportation and logistic
paraphernalia required to make the
wheel available to the end user. Deliver-
ies of the Tire Shield began in summer
Another major provider of runflat sys-
tems is Runflat International in Britain,
whose Tyre Support Inserts (TSI) are
made of specially developed plastics
instead of rubber. This reduces their
weight by about 30% and gives them
anti-ballistic properties, as they do not
generate splinters inside the tyre if hit by
a projectile. Single-piece Runflat TSIs are
also easy to install in a tyre without spe-
cialist fitting equipment. Known as TSI
T. +44 ,020 7368 9300
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armada Compendium Mobility 2010
Combat, the military insert is in service
with European and Middle East cus-
tomers. Runflat International also pro-
duces a new range of alloy wheels.
South Carolina-based Dynamic Run-
flats, part of the Defense Venture Group,
developed a multi-segmented runflat sys-
tem known as Dynamic Runflat System,
with bead blocking positive locking
devices. In March 2010 the company
entered into an agreement with BASF
Polyurethane Solutions to exploit
BASFs proprietary elastomer technolo-
gies, and more specifically the Elastocast,
to manufacture the runflat assembly, and
the Elastofoam, used to hold the elas-
tomer inserts in place within the tire cav-
ity. BASF polyurethane materiel proved
to be extremely ballistic tolerant, as
proven by runflat inserts surviving hits
from12.7-mm calibre rounds.
Europlast-Nycast in Germany pro-
vides runflat systems for numerous Bun-
deswehr wheeled vehicles, among them
the new Boxer as well as the Fuchs and
the Dingo.
While runflat systems certainly offer
good performance, avoiding pressure loss
in a wheel in case of puncture is even
better. Air-Seal Products in Britain has
developed an aramidic-fibre-based
sealant that blocks even huge gaps in a
tyre. When other gum-based products
react chemically with the tyre compo-
nents, hardening once in place, and are
normally injected into the tyre following
the puncture and deflation, the Air-Seal
ing the chances of an instant catastrophic
failure (blow-out) and allow the driver to
move to a safe place.
Fibres constitute the backbone of the
tyre sealant: the stronger the fibres, the
stronger the tyre repair. The strongest
fibres are state-of-the-art synthetic fibres
such as those used in bulletproof vests.
The fibres have variable lengths and
degrees of branching, the more varied the
fibres, the faster the seal forms and the
more permanent the seal will be. Those
fibres are inserted in a liquid which is the
medium by which the fibres and fillers
reach the area of the puncture in the tyre,
the problem being to avoid separation
between the two components when the
tyre is at rest, a problem that Air-Seal
says was solved in its product. The Air-
Seal sealant can work in synergy with
run-flat systems and central tyre inflation
systems, each enhancing the performance
of the other, further augmenting the
chances of the vehicle not to turn itself
into a sitting duck.
Different grades of product are avail-
able. The military world prefers the
Armor-Seal Grade, which is capable of
The latest developments from Soucy has allowed the firm to offer band tracks for much
heavier vehicles than the M113, as evidenced by this CV90 Armadillo unveiled at
Eurosatory 2010. (Armada/PV)
Soucy International
of Canada is the
leading manu -
facturer of band
tracks; here a
Soucy track
mounted on a
Norwegian M113
pictured in Kabul in
The Dynamic Runflat System is a multi-
segmented insert with bead blocking
positive locking devices. (Dynamic
plugging holes up to 30 mm across heav-
ier-ply tyres. The forerunner of the cur-
rent product was subject to a military trial
in May 1994 and subsequently used dur-
ing Operation Gabriel the British Army
deployment to Rwanda that year. In May
2008 further trials were completed: the
outline for the trial was to seal three-and
five-mm holes, but that criterion was then
raised to ten and 20-mm holes, the Air-
Seal Armor-Seal grade tyre sealant easily
coping with that size of penetration.
Currently the Air-Seal is installed in
the Jackal and Coyote vehicles in
Afghanistan as well as in the ATVs and
their trailers, which are operating at very
low pressures.
sealant is inserted into the tyre before
mounting and spreads within the tyre
with rotational centrifugal force. This
seals any puncture in near-real-time, with
the driver even possibly not noticing the
The air pressure in the tyre forces mil-
lions of fibres and fillers suspended in the
sealant to interlock to form a plug, which
prevents any further loss of air. If the tyre
sealant is contaminated due to oil or
grease, or if the tyre itself is structurally
damaged, then Air-Seals sealant cannot,
and will not, form a lasting plug, as fibres
will be unable to grip the sides of the
wound in the tyre. It will, however, gener-
ate a controlled deflation, greatly reduc-
Relax - its a Diehl Track.
Running Gear:
System Tracks
Mine Protection
Roof Protection
Ballistic Protection
Diehl Remscheid GmbH & Co. KG
Vieringhausen 118
42857 Remscheid
Phone +49 21 91 976 -0
Fax +49 21 91 976 -206
Soucy band tracks are also being used
on the tracked version of BAE Systems
Hgglunds SEP and have been thor-
oughly tested on the CV90 with good
results. Soucy tracks also equipped the
latest version of the CV90, the so-called
Armadillo, which was unveiled at
Eurosatory 2010.
Another company involved in the
same business, Diehl Remscheid of Ger-
many, has developed an innovative band
track design. Currently available for the
BV 206 all terrain vehicle, it differs from
other available rubber tracks in being
subdivided into four segments. The Band
Track 325Bs segments are each 1.45
metres long and weigh 52 kg. Vehicle kits
are delivered on two pallets, each with
eight segments, since the BV 206 has four
tracks. The fact that the track can be
opened allows its replacement in the
same way as with normal tracked vehi-
cles. Once the track has been opened at
one of its separation points, the vehicle
backs up and then engages a new track,
while one-piece tracks need the vehicle
to be lifted, their replacement requiring
six people and 60 minutes of work versus
a two-people and 20-minute job for the
Diehl tracks. Moreover spare segments
can be carried on board the vehicle
and the repair can be easily carried out in
the field.
Torsion stability, lateral force take-up
and lateral guidance are obtained
through extremely stable steel traverses,
the supporting structure is enclosed by a
robust and high-traction rubber profile.
The 325B has been fully qualified and is
in service on German Army BV 206s.
Diehl Remscheid is leveraging this expe-
rience to develop segmented band tracks
for heavier vehicles, first in the 20-tonne
and then in the 35-tonne classes.
Compendium Mobility - Air, Sea, Land 2010
Supplement to issue 5/2010
Volume 34, Issue No.5, October/November 2010
is published bi-monthly in Zurich, Switzerland.
Copyright 2010 by Internationale Armada AG,
Aeulestrasse 5, LI-9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
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Armada International, ISSN 0252-9793, is published bi-monthly
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ISSN: 0252-9793
vehicles have to deploy on roads or in
urban environments (tracks have been
seen kicking off heavy rubber pads into
the crowd or tearing up tarred roads in
former Yugoslavia).
Soucy in Canada has been the compa-
ny that mostly believed in rubber band
tracks for armoured vehicles. The compa-
ny started developing those systems in
the mid-1990s under a contract from the
US Army Tank Automotive Command.
Later in that decade it proposed com-
plete track systems including rubber
band track and plastic drive sprockets
and idlers for armoured vehicles in the
M113 category. Those tracks are being
used in Afghanistan onboard Canadian,
Danish and Norwegian M113s, and exem-
plify the first operational deployment for
such type of tracks.
New tyres are also entering the mar-
ket. Michelin, by large the principal mili-
tary tyre manufacturer, introduced at
Eurosatory 2010 its new XZL2, which has
the same payload performance of the
widely used XZL pneumatic, but allows
10 to 15 km/h-higher top speeds. This
enables trucks equipped with off-road
tyres to increase their speed on-road
while maintaining off-road capabilities
and toughness. The XZL2 features a
redesigned tread pattern that offers
greater speed capabilities and improved
tread life over a wide range of terrains.
The new tyre is ready for production in
395/85R20 size, and weighs five per cent
less than the previous model. Different
sizes are under development.
Softening Track Impact
Last, but not least, tracked vehicles can
acquire some new capabilities if their
tracks are modified to cope with new mis-
sion requirements. This does not mean
that all of them will necessarily abandon
their current track types, which in some
areas perfectly suit the operational needs,
cross-country movements being their
daily routine. However, some situations
would certainly command the use of
band tracks, particularly when heavy
A complete track
made with four
segments of the
325B model
manufactured by
Diehl Remscheid.
Available for the
BV206, the
company is
developing new
models for heavier
vehicles. (Diehl
AM General 19
AxleTech International 23
Ceradyne 19
Defence IQ 25
Diehl Remscheid 27
Future Naval Summit 23
General Dynamics LS 13
Hutchinson 21
LAAD 2011 27
Lockheed Martin C4
Mercedes-Benz 17
Plasan 21
Textron Marine & Land C3
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