Ricardo Defense Systems, LLC, and LIFT - Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, announced the launch of a $7.5 million joint project to address persistent rollover issues related to the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). The initiative’s goal: to limit risk to soldiers’ wellbeing and ensure mission successes by identifying and deploying a new, robust, reliable alternative to documented braking and stability problems in the current HMMWV configuration.
To this end, Ricardo has developed a modified commercial off the shelf (COTS) ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)/ ESC (Electronic Stability Control) system for the HMMWV. The system includes ABS/ESC functionality and improved brake calipers, pads and rotors – the system may reduce fatal rollovers by up to 74 percent.
LIFT will help support further development of the Ricardo system while also examining lightweighting system components with advanced casting techniques and metal matrix parts. Every pound saved equates to improved mobility performance, fuel economy and logistics trail.
“Ricardo has done tremendous work in developing these systems aimed at solving a critical problem,” said Alan Taub, chief technology officer, LIFT. “Lightweighting a military platform is of vital importance to our military forces.”
The Ricardo system is currently being piloted in 10 vehicles with the Michigan National Guard. The project will expand the National Guard pilot program to include production grade components and processes developed. The leadership of the Michigan National Guard as well as other States are taking the rollover threat seriously.
“Solving the rollover issue and saving lives is mission critical,” said Chet Gryczan, president, Ricardo Defense Systems. “We’re pleased to be working as a team with LIFT, investigating opportunities for lightweighting while taking the system forward to production.”
GKN is one of the technology partners on the project while Michigan Technological University and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute are participating as research partners.
“We are proud that this is a Michigan project providing a national solution to this ongoing problem,” said Lawrence E. Brown, executive director, LIFT. “Our goal is to bring our team to the table and enable creative solutions for problems across a range of manufacturing sectors, including defense.”
Going forward, training and additional workforce development will be conducted during integration of the brake kits onto Michigan National Guard HMMWVs. The project team is also working toward building additional test-dedicated HMMWVs to conduct shake, roll and abuse tests and road durability evaluation at the Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich. and limited operational review at Camp Grayling, Mich.