The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting (AM) is the largest land power exposition forum in the USA, with a global canvas. Taking place over three days, the AM focuses on showcasing holistic development of the Land Forces. The theme for AUSA 2022, held in Washington DC from 10 to 12 October 2022, was ‘Building The Army of 2030’ with focus on ‘continued transformation’ and was designed to ‘deliver the Army’s message by highlighting the capabilities of Army organizations and presenting a wide range of industry products and services’.
AUSA 2022 comes in the midst of the US Defence Force’s multi-front deployment, focusing on Europe and the Indo-Pacific, to cater for existing global security challenges including the Russia-Ukraine War.
AUSA 2022 had a footfall of close to 65,000 visitors/ attendees, with about 700 exhibitors from more than 80 countries.
Technology Demonstrated at AUSA 2022
This article focuses on some of the important cutting-edge military technology displayed at AUSA 2022 as also product improvements in existing platform/weapon system designs that might find relevance/be of interest in the purview of the Indian Armed Forces’ push to modernise and develop/incorporate disruptive technologies in the near future. These are enumerated in succeeding paragraphs.
Raider-X Fast Reconnaissance Helicopter: Lockheed Martin (LM). The Raider-X has been developed by LM in response to the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) prototype competition for vertical-lift aerial platforms. The fully composite coaxial main rotors and a rear-facing ‘pusher’ tail-rotor, along with fly-by-wire controls, composite fuselage and retractable landing gear, provide enhanced responsiveness/manoeuvrability, greater top speed/reduced drag, enhanced low-speed hover, more efficient acceleration/braking and longevity due to corrosion-resistance. Operational flexibility is enhanced with an internal auxiliary fuel tank for extended range /increased endurance, additional ammunition capacity and aerial refuelling capability. With a max all-up weight of just over 5 tons, the Raider would enjoy an endurance of approximately 3 hours, range in excess of 600 Km and a top speed of 239 Knots (~444 Kmph) making it one of the fastest helicopters in the world! The weapons package would include Hellfire missiles, 2.75″ rockets, 0.50 calibre under-nose gun and 7.62 mm machine-gun. The open-systems architecture-based avionics and mission systems would offer “plug-and-play” options for computing, sensors, survivability and weapons package, facilitating mission-specific tailoring and enhancing suitability for the global market. The significant enhancement in speed/agility over most current military helicopters makes the Raider-X’s disruptive design worth looking at for similar development/employability in the context of the Indian Armed Forces, in open as well as mountainous terrain, for myriad combat/ combat-support functions, either as an ab-initio design or by way of product improvement of existing platforms.
LM’s Raider-X Fast Reconnaissance Helicopter: Source- lockheedmartin.com/breakingdefense.com
Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicle (APMV): BAE Systems. The APMV Program was initiated when in 2014, the US Army selected BAE Systems to develop a turretless variant of the Bradley Combat Vehicle. The APMV Program will deliver 2907 platforms at an approximate cost of US$ 4 Million per vehicle, to replace the 2800+ vintage M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC). As of 2022, five variants of the AMPV are planned: General Purpose Vehicles (522)- 2 crew + 6 troops with crew-served weapon, Mission Command Vehicles (993)- with crew served weapon, Mortar Carrier Vehicles (386)- 2 crew + 2 mortar operators with a 120 mm mortar and 69 mortar rounds, Medical Evacuation Vehicles (790)- 2 crew + 6/3 ambulatory or 4/2 lying patients; and Medical Treatment Vehicles (216)- 4 crew + 1 lying patient. Series production commenced in September 2020.
General Purpose/Mission Command and Medical Evac/Medical Treatment APMV Displayed by BAE Systems: Source-breakingdefense.com
Mobile Counter Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Systems
Anduril’s ‘Mobile Sentry’ System: Source- unmannedairspace.info/ blog.anduril.com
In the context of the Indian Armed Forces, DRDO has developed the D4 C-UAS system which has been actively deployed on numerous occasions. Mobile C-UAS systems offering persistent, 360º surveillance would need to be the focus to provide deployed forces and military bases the wherewithal to deal with this ever-increasing, unobtrusive threat.
Lynx Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV)/Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV): Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems/Pratt Miller Defence.
Lynx OMFV: Source-ptisidiastima.com
Rheinmetall’s EMAV: Source-overtdefense.com
The GMC Hummer Electric Vehicle (EV) Platform/HUMVEE Saber ‘Blade’: General Motors (GM).
The HUMVEE Saber Blade/ GMC Hummer Electric Vehicle (EV) Platform: Source-shephardmedia.com/ breakingdefense.com
Mission Master CXT Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)/ Ghost-Vision 60 Q UGV: Rheinmetall/ Ghost Robotics.
Mission Master CXT A-UGV/Ghost Robotics Ghost Vision 60 Q UGV: Source- rheinmetall-defence.com/breakingdefense.com
Modular Vehicle Protection Platform (MVPP)-Globe Tech. The MVPP is a vehicle add-on mine-roller cum protection platform that can withstand IED blasts, thus according protection to the parent vehicle. The design finds extensive application in the context of the Indian Armed Forces deployed in counter-terrorist/ counter-insurgency roles that have to face the threat of IEDs on a daily basis. The design also finds application for India’s Central Armed Police Forces which are deployed for anti-Naxalite operations in the hinterland.
AUSA 2022 provided an eclectic mix of neo-technology along with long-awaited and desired upgrades to existing combat platforms. While direct requisitions may not find priority over the self-reliance drive for ‘Make in India’, it would be prudent to examine such technologies in the light of operational requirements for the Indian Armed Forces and pace own indigenous development/ partnerships accordingly, to leverage global cutting-edge technology for our Armed Forces.
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