Ultra-Armored Patrol Vehicle for 21st Century Urban Warfare and CI Ops

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by David Crane

When I look at the Ultra Armored Patrol Vehicle (a.k.a. Ultra AP concept vehicle), I just can’t help thinking about the "Tumbler" Batmobile from the latest Batman movie, Batman Begins. And, ya’ know, that’s probably not a bad thing. In the film, the "Tumbler" was one badass vehicle–and cool. So, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) may just be on the right track with this thing. In a nutshell, the Ultra AP is an ultra-modern 21st century lightweight and nimble armored vehicle that’s designed to significantly increase our infantry troops’ chances of survival while conducting 21st century warfare operations, including urban warfare and counterinsurgency ops. It’s purpose is to provide a lot of anti-ballistic protection in a fast and maneuverable package. The goal is to be able to protect it’s occupants from bullet strikes and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) via the advanced armor package, and then be able to get them outta’ Dodge real quick (via advanced automotive technologies) after taking the hit(s)–or even to be fast and maneuverable enough to avoid taking the hit(s) in the first place. Let’s hope the new Ultra AP armored vehicle concept proves to be up to the task(s). I guess we’ll see.

O.k., the following is a Georgia Tech Research News (GTRN) press release on debut and demonstration of the Ultra AP (Armored Patrol) concept vehicle at the Modern Day Marine Expo, and has been reprinted with permission from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI):…

All photos shown below were taken by John F. Williams, U.S. Navy

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2005

Improving Survivability and Mobility: Concept Vehicle Illustrating New Options for Military Combat Vehicles to be Unveiled

A concept vehicle designed to illustrate potential technology options for improving survivability and mobility in future military combat vehicles will be shown publicly for the first time Sept. 13-15 at a military technology meeting in Virginia.

The event, “Modern Day Marine Expo,” will be held at the Marine Corps Air Facility in Quantico, Va.

The concept vehicle, known as the ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol), was built to help the U.S. military evaluate multiple science and technology options – including ballistic and mine protection – that could benefit future vehicle design. The concept vehicle combines proven vehicle technologies with advanced materials and engineering concepts.

Research and development for the ULTRA has been conducted by the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), which led a unique team of research engineers from both GTRI and the automotive industry. The research initiative has been sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

“By bringing together experienced commercial vehicle designers with experts in advanced materials and cutting-edge engineering, we are providing a test bed for evaluating technologies that can help the military develop true ‘leap-ahead’ concepts,” said David Parekh, GTRI’s deputy director. “By including persons with high-performance automotive engineering and NASCAR expertise as part of our team, we were able to root this advanced concepts project in real-world vehicle design.”

The ULTRA AP emphasizes high-output diesel power combined with advanced armor and a fully modern chassis. The design matches the best of modern commercial automotive technology with racing experience, explained Gary Caille, a GTRI principal research engineer.

In the ULTRA AP, the GTRI/industry team has made improvements in two key areas by taking a systems approach to survivability and safety:

– Survivability: This factor involves a vehicle’s ability to shield occupants from hostile action. The ULTRA AP will feature novel design concepts and research advances in lightweight and cost-effective armor to maximize capability and protection. The new armor was designed at GTRI in partnership with the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. The vehicle also incorporates a “blast bucket” designed to provide ballistic, blast and enhanced roll-over protection. New vehicle designs must incorporate dramatically increased resistance to explosions caused by mines and improvised explosive devices, Caille noted.
– Safety with Performance: The ULTRA design explored the use of on-board computers to integrate steering, suspension and brakes to provide an unparalleled level of mobility and safety, Caille added. The new vehicle’s integrated chassis represents an advancement over the most advanced current production vehicles.

The ULTRA AP project has been supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as part of its mission of investigating and assessing new technologies for military use. By providing the ULTRA AP concept vehicle for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army to study, ONR expects to spur innovative thinking and gather feedback on the ideas being demonstrated.

In developing the ULTRA AP, GTRI brought together a group of industry professionals that included Scott Badenoch, an auto industry advanced development and racing professional; Tom Moore, former Chrysler vice president of Liberty Operations, the company’s advanced engineering center; Walt Wynbelt, former program executive officer with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command, and Dave McLellan, the former Corvette chief engineer for General Motors.

The ULTRA project is linked directly to “e-safety,” an emerging automotive concept that combines computers and advanced technologies to make driving safer, McLellan noted. In e-safety, night driving systems and stability control add security, while radar systems – already available in Europe – actually slow vehicles automatically under certain conditions.

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit applied research arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology. GTRI conducts more than $140 million in research each year for a variety of industry and government clients in a broad range of technologies. For more information, visit (www.gtri.gatech.edu).

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) manages science and technology research for the Navy and Marine Corps. ONR sponsors basic and applied research in oceanography, advanced materials, sensors, robotics, biomedical science and technology, electronics, surveillance, mathematics, manufacturing technology, information science, advanced combat systems and technologies for ships, submarines, aircraft and ground vehicles. For more information, visit (www.onr.navy.mil).

Ultra AP Bullet Points:

– The ULTRA armored patrol vehicle is a research project funded by the Office of Naval Research and conducted by the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

– The project’s goal was to develop a concept vehicle that illustrates design and technology options for increased survivablity and mobility for future vehicles.

– The ULTRA is slightly larger than the HMMWV and is diesel powered.

– The ULTRA concept vehicle features an innovative suvivable crew capsule that would utilize a new combination of armor materials, a commercial truck chassis, and faceted crew capsule geometries that would provide better
deflection of pressure waves from blasts
compared to current configurations.

All photos shown in this article were taken by John F. Williams, U.S. Navy

Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

(1) Kirk Englehardt, Georgia Tech Research Institute (cell: 678-557-2533) or (404-385-0280); E-mail: (kirk.englehardt@gtri.gatech.edu);
(2) John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology (404-894-6986); E-mail: (john.toon@edi.gatech.edu);
(3) Jane Sanders, Georgia Institute of Technology (404-894-2214); E-mail: (jane.sanders@edi.gatech.edu);
(4) Office of Naval Research (703-696-5031); E-mail: (onrpao@onr.navy.mil).

TECHNICAL CONTACT: Gary Caille, Georgia Tech Research Institute (404-463-4603); E-mail: (gary.caille@gtri.gatech.edu).

Click here
to read the original Georgia Tech Research News (GTRN) press release on the Ultra AP (Armored Patrol) concept vehicle, titled Improving Survivability and Mobility: Concept Vehicle Illustrating New Options for Military Combat Vehicles to be Unveiled.

Click here to read DefRev’s first article on the Ultra AP concept vehicle. The article was titled Ultra AP and Ultra 3T Concept/Experimental Armored Vehicles for U.S. Infantry, and was reprinted from Research Horizons Magazine (RHM). The original RHM article was written by Rick Robinson, and was titled Better, Stronger, Faster: New Military Vehicle Will Improve Safety and Efficiency for Marine Corps.

Ultra-Armored Patrol Vehicle for 21st Century Urban Warfare and CI Ops by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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