In response to ever-more dastardly IED technologies, America’s personnel carriers have become lot more resilient over the past few decades. However the ability for armored transports like the MRAP to take a direct blast comes at the cost of their speed, maneuverability, fuel economy, development and construction costs. That’s why DARPA has just awarded contracts to eight institutions for their help in developing a next-generation people mover that’s lighter, faster, smarter and more nimble than today’s trucks.
As you can see in the video above, these concept vehicles look nothing like what’s on today’s battlefields. They’re light enough to be carried in a Chinook’s exterior sling, utilize a high-riding four-wheel independent suspension that maximizes ground clearance. In fact, as the video points out, these vehicles could be able to access up to 95 percent of terrain, making them virtually unstoppable while rendering conventional interdiction techniques, like blowing bridges, utterly useless.
What’s more, DARPA envisions the GXV-T as being able to autonomously identify and avoid incoming threats, rather than simply take the brunt of an attack, by actively repositioning its deflecting armor. The agency also wants to integrate semi-autonomous driver assists, similar to what you’d see in a modern airliner’s cockpit, as well as 360 degree high-definition video and data feeds to give the crews greater situational awareness. And, of course, the GXV-T will leverage multiple levels of stealth technology to minimize its various energy signatures.
Both the US Army and Marine Corps have expressed interest in the vehicle, though there is no timetable yet for its development.