LMV IVECO Light Multirole Vehicle Evolving User requirement International Armoured Vehicles News

 

IAV International Armoured Vehicles 2010
International Defence Exhibition & Conference
London
, United Kingdom
01 - 05 February 2010

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IVECO Defence Vehicle
 
Tuesday , 22 december 2009, 10:27
 
LMV Light Multirole Vehicle: Evolving with the User’s Requirement.
 

Since development started on the LMV in 1999, Iveco Defence Vehicles Engineers have always recognised that the vehicle’s design could not stand still. If it was to continue to meet the evolving needs of the disparate user community, it was clear that the vehicle design team would have to anticipate how requirements would develop and put in place plans to meet them.In order to achieve this goal, two prerequisites needed to be put in place: firstly, the basic vehicle design would have to be sufficiently robust and adaptable to accommodate significant design changes, and, secondly, the design team would have to be capable of making reasoned forecasts as to the likely direction in which the user’s requirements would move. The first of these goals was achieved through the original LMV design which adopted a modular approach to ballistic and mine protection, and incorporated a crew cell mounted on to a purpose designed chassis. Both the roof and the stowage pod are modular, enabling the vehicle to be configured to meet the demands of different users without altering the base design. The design team had conceived the highly successful short wheel base (3220 mm) /four man cab as only the first of a family of vehicles, and it was here, in anticipating the likely growth paths of the user’s requirements, that the second prerequisite was put in place. The design team anticipated not just the inevitable demands for more payload, greater capacity and higher levels of protection, but also foresaw the need for a light protected utility design, and all the variants which might derive from it.


As a result, although the majority of the 2,000 + LMVs sold to date are short wheel base vehicles in the original configuration, the evolving demands of the user are increasingly influencing the design team to focus on variants of the longer 3520 mm wheelbase design. Besides enabling more room to be provided in the crew cell, this variant can also incorporate a longer stowage pod, substantially increasing the vehicle’s capacity. The inevitable corollary of providing greater capacity is that the vehicle has to support a higher usable payload than was originally envisaged, and yet the move to a longer wheelbase with a larger crew cell and higher levels of protection inevitably pushes the kerb weight of the vehicle up. To counter this, the design team has undertaken a series of design exercises to both enable the GVW of the vehicle to be increased and to take weight out of the vehicle design. As a result of such expedients as incorporating an integral hard top in place of a roll cage, altering the roof hatch design, incorporating new seats and changing the design of the transparent armour, the kerb weight of the vehicle has been reduced by some 350 kgs. At the same time, the allowable GVW of the vehicle has been increased from 7,000 to 7,500 kgs through developments on the frame, brakes and suspension. The design team has thus succeeded in delivering to the user a vehicle which, whilst retaining extensive commonality with the earlier models, nonetheless provides greatly increased capacity, payload and, if required, protection.


These design developments have allowed the LMV to move beyond its established role as a protected liaison and patrol vehicle, and provide the potential to the user of a more flexible and capable family of vehicles, as had originally been intended. The Spanish and Italian armies have already taken delivery of long wheel base LMVs configured as casualty evacuation vehicles, whilst the majority of Iveco’s current offerings are now based on the 7.5 tonne GVW long wheel base platform. This has also provided the basis for the development of solutions for such programmes as the UK’s OUVS and LPPV programmes, in both of which the LMV has provided the platform for solutions which closely match the requirement.
As the vehicle is used in an increasing number of roles, so the engineering challenges posed by adapting the base design to match the customer needs become more demanding. Often, it is just those design features which make the vehicle particularly desirable for a given role, such as low weight, narrow wheel track and high terrain accessibility, which also add to the design challenge. A case in point is the increasing requirement for heavier roof mounted systems, including 12.7 mm overhead weapon stations and other weapon systems. Whilst a relatively narrow vehicle undoubtedly has excellent terrain accessibility and utility in built up areas, the addition of weapon mounts beyond a given weight can compromise stability. To counter this, the design team have now developed hydropneumatic suspension which substantially improves vehicle road-holding when the vehicle has a relatively high centre of gravity.

One of the most pressing design requirements which is now being encountered is the almost insatiable demand for ever greater levels of on-board electrical power. This is driven principally by the need to power communications and onboard ECM equipment and is very significantly in excess of original planning assumptions. Where once a 200 A alternator might have been sufficient, even generous, now 300 A is the threshold level, and there is no doubt that this will rise further in the future. Although much can be achieved with the most recent generation of high efficiency alternators, it appears likely that a more radical approach may be required in the future. Here, too, Iveco’s engineers are well positioned because the LMV engine already provides the basis for a commercially available hybrid electric drive system. This promises to provide the opportunity to deliver high levels of electrical power in the future, and presents limited technical risk as the system is already in commercial use.

 

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