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Pratt Miller Defense in conjunction with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently unveiled and demonstrated their Multi-mode Mode Extreme Travel Suspension (METS) vehicle, which is part of the Ground X Vehicle-Technologies (GXV-T) program that seeks to improve the mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness of future combat vehicles. Traditionally, the formula to improve survivability has been to add armor which is detrimental to mobility, cost and efficiency. The intent of the GXV-T program is to create disruptive solutions that investigate the art of the possible by breaking the traditional mold while ensuring the operational viability of the next generation of combat vehicles.
METS specifically addressed GXV-T’s requirement of enhanced mobility and survivability through agility. Defense contractor, Pratt Miller, designed and built a concept demonstrator vehicle that combines high and low travel suspensions designed to navigate obstacles as high as 1.5 meters, navigate 95% of the world’s terrain, accomplish 90% of mission profiles with a single platform, and operate at speeds that greatly exceed any other vehicle while maintaining maximum driver comfort.
Pratt Miller Defense along with other program participants had the opportunity to demonstrate their respective technology at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) in May in front of several government agencies and officials.
“To see METS perform out of the box at ATC at speeds upward of 20 miles per hour over a 6-inch washboard surface validated everything our Team had seen in the virtual environment,” said Chad Lehner, METS Program Manager for Pratt Miller Defense. “Prior to the demonstration our Team had only one week of test and development time on the vehicle in preparation for the demo and we believe that we are only scratching the surface of METS capability.”
ATC has served as test grounds for many defense vehicles including HMMWV and JLTV. To date, top speeds over this same washboard course for a traditional wheeled vehicle has been only 6 miles per hour.
Leading test activity at ATC is Dr. Greg Schultz, Roadway Simulator Manager. Dr. Schultz is engaged in testing, validating and approving all vehicles released to the military.
“In my 30 years at ATC, I have never seen a wheeled vehicle go as fast as METS over the 6-inch washboard,” stated Dr. Schultz during the presentation portion of the demo. This statement re-affirmed Pratt and Miller’s success in demonstrating that GXV-T objectives can be achieved.
Ken Flory, METS Chief Engineer stated, “Our vision is to revolutionize the way the world moves. In two years, our Team has taken METS from a radical concept developed through modeling and simulation, in a strictly virtual environment, to a fully operational and functional vehicle. The ingenuity tapped into throughout the design, build and modeling process was something only Pratt Miller could accomplish.”
Leading Pratt Miller’s Defense Business Development department is Kevin Mulrenin, “Our goal is to protect our warfighters and help them win their missions. Given the extraordinary performance results seen on the GXV-T METS platform during initial testing, we are looking forward to connecting with industry and government partners to commercialize this technology for use on current and future extreme off-road vehicles.”
Pratt Miller is a product development company that, through technology and innovation, solves its customers most complex and technical challenges in the Motorsports, Defense and Mobility Industries. The company is defining the future of the defense industry by providing complete ground vehicle solutions to revolutionize platform mobility, survivability, and robotics.
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