TECHNOLOGY: DARPA Trying New Methods for Building Marines’ Amphibious Vehicle

November 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

Cool Video

Here’s an interesting invitation: Join a virtual community that’s helping the Defense Department’s “think outside the box” research unit develop a new amphibious armored personnel carrier for the Marine Corps.

DARPA thinks it can design a replacement for the Marines’ amphibious assault vehicles using Silicon Valley design techniques. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking for a way to develop a faster, cheaper way of producing expensive military systems like tanks, which ususally take a lot of time, research, testing – and money – to get from the drawing board to the production line.

The idea is to use information technology industry techniques like crowd sourcing, a virtual factory and correct-by-construction system design to oversee how all a system’s parts work and interact before you actually build it.

This YouTube video explains it all with far fewer words than we could.

For its first project, DARPA is taking a shot at designing, developing and building an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) for the Marines, who saw their state-of-the-art Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program cancelled last year because of cost over-runs and production delays. The Marines are exploring their options for a replacement amphibious vehicle but they’re are happy to let DARPA try its project on a parallel track.

The Marines are free to reject the DARPA vehicle if it doesn’t meet their needs but DARPA officials feel the exercise will still be valuable in determining how new design and manufacturing techniques can significantly trim the time it takes to develop and build defense vehicles and weapons.

DARPA has opened registration for the Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG) Challenges, a series of three increasingly complex competitions that will use a collaborative process to design and fabricate its IFV.

According to DARPA, defense engineers or those with a military background can register online here for the first challenge, which will be focused on mobility and trhe vehicle’s drivetrain. The competition begins in 2013.

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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Technology, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , .

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