Unmanned Underwater Vehicles are becoming increasingly popular for a number of roles, including mine detection, advance scouting roles against enemy vessels, and basic hydrographic work. With nuclear submarines costing $2 billion and more per boat, an inexpensive surrogate that could handle some of the most dangerous jobs seems like an obvious addition – especially given the popularity of well-understood torpedo-like designs for key naval UUVs like Remus family, Bluefin-21 et. al.
Launching these UUVs is no challenge. Just build them to the 21-inch diameter limit and use the torpedo tubes. The thing is, submarines have a more restricted carrying capacity than most people think; even the US Virginia Class can carry only 26 total torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and torpedo-like UUVs. That makes one-shot UUVs unacceptably expensive. In order to be effective, submarines will have to do something not normally done with torpedoes – recover them at the end of their mission. Enter the Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS), now known as the AN/BLQ-11 UUV…
KMW’s Mungo truck is designed as a heavier vehicle than the Mercedes Wolf, which can accept heavier armor while remaining transportable in CH-53G Sea Stallion and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, as well as larger platforms like C-160 Transall aircraft. It would seem to be an ideal vehicle for use in Afghanistan, where 283 of the jeep-style Wolfs are serving.
To fill that role, however, the Mungo vehicle has to be able to handle Afghanistan’s difficult terrain. Wheeled vehicles of all sorts have shown limitations in Afghanistan’s mud and broken landscape, but some are more limited than others. In order to ensure transportability, one of the Mungo’s tradeoffs has been suspension and axles that have attracted criticism for insufficient strength and reliability. That has apparently proven fatal in Afghanistan’s harsh terrain, and the German military will reportedly be withdrawing them from Afghanistan due to mobility difficulties in theater.
KMW’s Fennek has a simple mission: see, but don’t be seen. Accordingly, Fennek is designed to combine a low height profile with low infrared, radar, and noise profiles. Its 3-man crew can be sustained in the field for 5 days in the field via carried supplies, and a 1,000 km range plus C-130 transportability make this 11-tonne vehicle very mobile. GPS/INS navigation removes the need to ask for directions, and some versions add a full moving map display. Its biggest asset, however, is an advanced set of surveillance electronics that include thermal imaging, a CCD day-vision camera, and laser range finder with optional targeting laser, all packed into a sensor head that can extend up to 3.3m/ 10 feet – or operate on a tripod up to 40m from the vehicle. Other systems carried on board can include ground sensor equipment (BSA), a radiation detection system, and in future mini UAVs or the remote-controlled mobile sensor system (MoSeS).
The NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency’s (NAMSA) main task is to assist NATO nations by organizing common procurement and supply of spare parts and arranging maintenance and repair services necessary for the support of various weapon systems, with the purpose of achieving maximum effectiveness in logistics support at minimum cost.
NAMSA operates on the no profit, no loss principle. It is overseen by the NATO Maintenance and Supply Organization (NAMSO), formed by 26 NATO nations (Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States).
On Nov 21/07, NAMSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Logistic Support Cooperation with Israel…