|Automotive technology in Armed Forces|
Modern armed forces of advanced countries nowadays divide into three categories:
Territorial forces (can be used exceptionally to reinforce or replace main strike forces, such as is the case in the war in Iraq); Forces earmarked for operations as a part of coalition rapid reaction forces (their primary mission is out-of-area operations – if their homeland is not the target of aggression); and Forces deployed for peace-support operations in countries with local armed conflicts (in home territory, forces receive training, logistic support and then rotate in operations with minimum incorporation into the order of battle of other forces). The above categories significantly overlap in logistic support, especially as to tactical transportation vehicles. Each force category requires different types of transportation vehicles, in terms of tactical and technical performance, chassis configuration, easy maintenance in field and especially in armor-reinforcement in the sphere of ballistic protection and mounted weapons. The tactics of employing individual categories of forces requires a multitude of types of transportation hardware, or, to the contrary, special baseline vehicles tailored to the requirements of individual services. Over the past six years, the requirement has grown remarkably to ensure higher protection of crews, operators and transported personnel and materiel, chiefly as a result of much faster and broader transition from conscript-type to all-volunteer forces, which have much higher funding requirements than the previous type of armed forces. The armed forces are now faced with a new phenomenon, or indeed a mission: to fight terrorism. That is reflected in both equipment and weapons used by armed forces personnel and selected special units, and, of course, their primary transportation equipment.
To summarise a modern armed forces’ requirement for vehicle definition, we believe the following applies: an advanced vehicle with a wide range of transportation roles, excellent use properties, low consumption, very high reliability and long meantime between failure factor. The vehicle must be air-transportable, able to withstand the effects of firing selected categories of weapons, while its main systems are required to have a high degree of commonality and must be well available in the framework of common servicing provided by commercial servicing networks. The vehicle’s design must accommodate installation of various weapon systems and bodies. Must be affordable. It should also be understood at modern and allvolunteer armed forces need to respond to specific requirements of their individual services and branches. Requirements or each type of vehicles largely vary, depending on their intended role.
The following text is meant to be dedicated purely and intentionally to armor-reinforced vehicles for personnel transportation in environments with increased level of threat.
Armored vehicles are specific means of transportation or combat transportation, whose design uses main assemblies and systems adopted from commercial (military) vehicles of given category and features a hardened – reinforced design of main assemblies and systems to provide an increased level of protection against the effects of defined types and kinds of infantry, artillery and engineer munitions. Armor reinforcement can be partial or comprehensive, and, from the viewpoint of ballistic protection design, discrete or visible.
The following are three most often used types of ballistic protection – armoring:
- comprehensive integrated (discrete),
- armor kits, add-on armor plating.
Comprehensive integrated (discrete) armor is a primary type of armoring that fully ensures the required level of ballistic protection and usually remains permanently installed throughout the vehicle’s service life. This permanent armor is mainly used on limousines and off-road cars (Toyota LC 100/105, Nissan Patrol and the like)
Armor kits enable users to quickly prepare the vehicle for performance of missions in a high threat environment.
The solution ensures required level of ballistic protection, plus the vehicle can be reconfigured to original “soft-skin” shape, while keeping the permanent reinforcing modifications of b-pillars, hinges and the like. Cannot be used for limousines. Add-on armor packages enable vehicle users to increase the level of its ballistic protection by mounting add-on armor-plating made of metal, ceramics or composite materials onto the original vehicle, which already has some level of ballistic protection. As a result, the vehicle is equipped with a multi-layered armoring made of materials with different density: ballistic steel + air layer + ballistic steel or other material.
The outside structure of vehicle must be fitted with bolts already during its manufacturing process. Armor-reinforced vehicles can be designed as single-box, two-box or multi-box with closed or semi-closed body such as Pick-Up. Single-box vehicles have a closed reinforced body, containing driver and co-driver compartment and passenger compartment. There is no divider. Two-box vehicles feature a closed reinforced body, comprising driver and co-driver compartment and passenger compartment. Both compartments are separated with a security divider (possibly including an emergency hatch). Multi-box vehicles have a closed reinforced body, comprising driver and co-driver compartment and passenger compartment (with security divider installed if requested). A limited payload space for transportation of materiel is available at the back of the vehicle, only covered by tarp or contained in a fibreglass box-body. Armored vehicles are manufactured in compliance with international standards defining individual levels of ballistic resistance.
A complex of civilian (CEN 1063) and military (STANAG 4569) standards, they encompass national requirements for resistance to effects of infantry weapons, fragments of hand grenades and artillery shells, and contact and pressure-activated antitank and antipersonnel mines. Armored vehicles for units on peacekeeping operations are used for various transportation missions, especially for transportation of personnel. The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic uses four types of armored vehicles performing missions in different armed forces’ components. Since the ACR vehicles are operated in small groups outside the territory of the Czech Republic in the framework of foreign-deployed peacekeeping operations, often substituting for other categories of combat hardware such as APCs or IFVs, it is critical to fully provide specialised driver and maintenance personnel training and establish an integrated logistic and maintenance support system.