Tatra Defense Vehicle unveils first Titus Command and Control vehicle


According to Armadni Noviny, in 2020, work at Tatra Defense Vehicle (TDV) culminated in special command-staff and liaison versions of Pandur II CZ vehicles for the Czech Army. The last unit was handed over in the first decade of December 2020. For the coming years, one of the pillars of TDV's capacity is another order for the Czech Armed Forces: the development and production of new Nexter Titus vehicles (Tactical Infantry Transport & Utility System).
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Titus Command and Control vehicle (Picture source: TDV)


The Czech army ordered a total of 62 units in three versions, Armadni Noviny recalls. Deliveries of serial vehicles are planned for 2022 and 2023. ACR units will have 6 units of KOVVŠ (Wheeled Armored Vehicle Command-Staff) together with six workplaces staff (PS) with a capacity of 10 stations with computer terminals. Furthermore, 36 pieces of KOVS vehicles (Wheeled Armored Vehicle Connecting) and 20 pieces of FEMP design (Fire Support Coordination).

In these special versions, Titus will replace the obsolete platforms and systems needed for command and control of the ACR ground brigades, which are in the vast majority also installed on ballistic and anti-mine unprotected vehicles. Execution of KOVVŠ and KOVS command and control vehicles are designed for communication and information support and interoperability of the command and control system at the brigade, regimental and battalion levels. The MLPP will then serve to provide communication and information support to the artillery units. All versions are designed so that they can be deployed in coalition operations with regard to mobility and modularity.


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Titus uses the Tatra T 815-7 6x6 chassis (Picture source: TDV)


Titus uses the Tatra T 815-7 6x6 chassis with a central supporting tube and pivoting independently suspended half-axles with air suspension. The drive chain is powered by an in-line liquid-cooled Cummins 6-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of 10,824 cm3, an output of 373 kW and a torque of 2102 Nm, followed by a fully automatic 6-speed transmission and a 2-speed auxiliary transmission (transfer box). The steering of the first and last axle contributes to excellent maneuverability. The crossing of the most difficult terrain is given by the same wheelbase between the individual axles, as well as the fully automatic tire inflation system (16.00 R20 tires).

Titus belongs to the category of MRAV (Multi-Role Armored Vehicle) vehicles that are characterized by strong armor and a high degree of crew protection, but at the same time, despite their weight, they have very good mobility and crossing capabilities through difficult terrain. With its driving characteristics and controls, Titus is close to a heavy truck.


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Titus' armored hull (Picture source: TDV)


The basic solution of the armored body of the Titus, which is directly mounted to the chassis subframe, was developed by the French state company Nexter Systems which offers it on foreign markets in the APC version. For variants of vehicles intended for the ACR body, which has a ballistic resistance of level 3 and anti-mine 3a according to STANAG standard, the designers of TDV and Nexter Systems have modified the vehicle quite fundamentally. This is mainly due to the installation of the necessary technologies and to improve the ergonomics of the operators' seats in the rear of the vehicle. The body is also adapted for the installation of hydraulic stabilization supports, which are necessary for the KOVVŠ and KOVS variants for the trouble-free operation of the integrated antenna mast. An important factor in the design of the body was its unification for all three versions.

To verify the parameters of crew protection required by the contract during the autumn of 2020, TDV assembled a so-called explosion vehicle, which subsequently underwent the prescribed explosion and ballistic tests in an accredited testing laboratory of the Military Research Institute (VVÚ). The evaluation and certification process is currently underway and has not yet been completed, however, no significant problems were identified during the tests.

In addition to the above-mentioned explosive vehicle under the direction of TDV, another unit of Titus was created, which is referred to as a functional sample. This is de facto a prototype on which all cooperating companies - especially TDV as an integrator, Tatra Trucks, Retia and others - verify the individual installations and design solutions in the first phase. The functional sample also tests newly developed elements, especially the automatic leveling system, auxiliary power supply unit and others. Last but not least, the vehicle is used to perform driving tests, primarily at the polygon in Kopřivnice, where the mechanical resistance and service life of individual structural groups are verified on special roads. The functional sample is also used to prepare detailed accompanying and service documentation.

According to the findings of both the explosion test and the work and tests on the functional sample, the designers TDV and Retie are currently preparing the final design documentation for the construction of a total of six prototypes (1 piece KOVVŠ, 1 piece KOVS, 4 pieces FEM), supplemented by one command vehicle. All of them will be completed in the second half of 2021 and will subsequently undergo all the necessary tests - from the company, through inspection, military to approval.

At present, the first chassis for prototypes are already on the Tatra Trucks production lines, from where they will travel to France to be completed with armored bodies at Nexter Systems. Then they will return to the Czech Republic and complete special equipment and electronics at TDV and Retia. The production of the other four already serial Tituses will take place in the same way. In the next phase of production, armored vehicle bodies made in France will be integrated directly in TDV, while the last twenty pieces of the body in TDV will be directly welded and painted.

The situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic also affected the Titus project timetable, especially on the French side. Thanks to the measures taken by the French government during the spring wave of the pandemic, Nexter Systems had to severely reduce its activities. Thanks to effective internal measures by TDV and other cooperating companies, the spring wave of the pandemic did not intervene in a similar way, thus trying to eliminate the overall delay by increased development efforts on a functional sample of the vehicle, which currently does not "stop" and popularly "goes from hand to hand".

In parallel with the tests of the functional sample, the tests and development of the vehicle's subsystems are carried out. The auxiliary power supply unit, newly developed in cooperation with TDV and the German specialist Fischer Panda, passed the successful tests. An air conditioning system is also in the testing phase, which must meet the demanding requirements given not only by the external environment but also by the energy emitted by the electronic installation inside the vehicle. For the new Titus, ballistic protection of the tank combining steel and composite was created in cooperation with VVÚ, the original version of TITUS does not offer any increased protection of the tank.

Pardubická Retia - apart from the primary development and integration of complex electronic installations of all variants - is now developing and testing a new vehicle diagnostic system, while the necessary data and information (including images from all four cameras) will be displayed on the driver's terminal. URC Systems then completes the development and testing of a new generation of the liquid-cooled jammer. The project of TITUS vehicles for the Czech Armed Forces will thus gradually shift from the development phase to the test phase from the turn of 2020 and 2021, Armadni Noviny reports.


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Titus Command and Control vehicle (Picture source: TDV)


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Titus Command and Control vehicle (Picture source: TDV)


 

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