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  • Army engineers promote sustainable construction practices on Last Frontier

    Each year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District constructs projects for the military valued in the millions of dollars to support readiness, training and quality-of-life initiatives for service members in the Far North. For each of these endeavors, the agency works to meet sustainability goals by ensuring the construction practices and new facilities are as energy efficient as possible.
  • A Detailed Approach to Autonomous Vehicle Control through Ros and Pixhawk Controllers

    Abstract: A Polaris MRZR military utility vehicle was used as a testing platform to develop a novel, low cost yet feature-rich, approach to adding remote operation and autonomous driving capability to a military vehicle. The main concept of operation adapts steering and throttle output from a low cost commercially available Pixhawk autopilot controller and translates the signal into the necessary inputs for the Robot Operating System (ROS) based drive by wire system integrated into the MRZR. With minimal modification these enhancements could be applied to any vehicle with similar ROS integration. This paper details the methods and testing approach used to develop this autonomous driving capability.
  • Determination of Residual Low-Order Detonation Particle Characteristics from IMX-104 Mortar Rounds

    ABSTRACT: The environmental fate and transport of energetic compounds on military training ranges are largely controlled by the particle characteristics of low-order detonations. This study demonstrated a method of command detonation, field sampling, laboratory processing, and analysis techniques for characterizing low-order detonation particles from 60 mm and 81 mm mortar rounds containing the insensitive munition formulation IMX-104. Particles deposited from three rounds of each caliber were comprehensively sampled and characterized for particle size, energetic purity, and morphology. The 60 mm rounds were command-detonated low order consistently (seven low-order detonations of seven tested rounds), with consumption efficiencies of 62%–80% (n = 3). The 81 mm rounds detonated low order inconsistently (three low-order detonations of ten tested rounds), possibly because the rounds were sourced from manufacturing test runs. These rounds had lower consumption efficiencies of 39%–64% (n = 3). Particle-size distributions showed significant variability between munition calibers, between rounds of the same caliber, and with distance from the detonation point. The study reviewed command-detonation configurations, particle transfer losses during sampling and particle-size analysis, and variations in the energetic purity of recovered particles. Overall, this study demonstrated the successful characterization of IMX-104 low-order detonation particles from command detonation to analysis.
  • Integration of Autonomous Electric Transport Vehicles into a Tactical Microgrid: Final Report

    Abstract: The objective of the Autonomous Transport Innovation (ATI) technical research program is to investigate current gaps and challenges and develop solutions to integrate emerging electric transport vehicles, vehicle autonomy, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging and microgrid technologies with military legacy equipment. The ATI research area objectives are to: identify unique military requirements for autonomous transportation technologies; identify currently available technologies that can be adopted for military applications and validate the suitability of these technologies to close need gaps; identify research and operational tests for autonomous transport vehicles; investigate requirements for testing and demonstrating of bidirectional-vehicle charging within a tactical environment; develop requirements for a sensored, living laboratory that will be used to assess the performance of autonomous innovations; and integrate open standards to promote interoperability and broad-platform compatibility. This final report summarizes the team’s research, which resulted in an approach to develop a sensored, living laboratory with operational testing capability to assess the safety, utility, interoperability, and resiliency of autonomous electric transport and V2G technologies in a tactical microgrid. The living laboratory will support research and assessment of emerging technologies and determine the prospect for implementation in defense transport operations and contingency base energy resilience.
  • Terrain Coefficients for Predicting Energy Costs of Walking over Snow

    Abstract: Predicting the energy costs of human travel over snow can be of significant value to the military and other agencies planning work efforts when snow is present. The ability to quantify, and predict, those costs can help planners determine if snow will be a factor in the execution of dismounted tasks and operations. To adjust predictive models for the effect of terrain, and more specifically for surface conditions, on energy costs, terrain coefficients (ƞ) have been developed. By applying knowledge gained from prior studies of the effects of terrain and snow, and by leveraging those existing dismounted locomotion models, we seek to outline the steps in developing an improved terrain coefficient (ƞ) for snow to be used in predictive modeling. Using published data, methods, and a well-informed understanding of the physical elements of terrain, e.g., characterization of snow sinkage (z), this study made adjustments to ƞ-values specific to snow. This review of published metabolic cost methods suggest that an improved ƞ-value could be developed for use with the Pandolf equation, where z=depth (h)*(1 - (snow density (ρ0)/1.186)) and ƞ=0.0005z3 + 0.0001z2 + 0.1072z + 1.2604. This paper provides data-driven improvements to models that are used to predict the energy costs of dismounted movements over snow.
  • Snow-Covered Obstacles’ Effect on Vehicle Mobility

    ABSTRACT:  The Mobility in Complex Environments project used unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to identify obstacles and to provide path planning in forward operational locations. The UAS were equipped with remote-sensing devices, such as photogrammetry and lidar, to identify obstacles. The path-planning algorithms incorporated the detected obstacles to then identify the fastest and safest vehicle routes. Future algorithms should incorporate vehicle characteristics as each type of vehicle will perform differently over a given obstacle, resulting in distinctive optimal paths. This study explored the effect of snow-covered obstacles on dynamic vehicle response. Vehicle tests used an instrumented HMMWV (high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle) driven over obstacles with and without snow cover. Tests showed a 45% reduction in normal force variation and a 43% reduction in body acceleration associated with a 14.5 cm snow cover. To predict vehicle body acceleration and normal force response, we developed two quarter-car models: rigid terrain and deformable snow terrain quarter-car models. The simple quarter models provided reasonable agreement with the vehicle test data. We also used the models to analyze the effects of vehicle parameters, such as ground pressure, to understand the effect of snow cover on vehicle response.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Seasonal Effects on Vehicle Mobility: High-Latitude Case Study

    Abstract: Seasonality plays a key role in altering the terrain of many military operating environments. Since seasonality has such a large impact on the terrain, it needs to be properly accounted for in vehicle dynamics models. This work outlines a variety of static and dynamic seasonal terrain conditions and their impacts on vehicle mobility in an austere region of Europe. Overall the vehicles performed the best in the dry season condition. The thaw season condition had the most drastic impact on mobility with all but the heavy tracked vehicle being almost completely NOGO in the region. Overall, the heavy tracked vehicle had the best performance in all terrain conditions. These results highlight the importance of incorporating seasonal impacts on terrain into NRMM or any vehicle dynamics model. Future work will focus on collecting more data to improve the empirical relationships between vehicles and seasonal terrain conditions, thereby allowing for more accurate speed predictions.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Improved Ribbon Bridge Structural Response Validation Testing

    Abstract: vehicles and trucks up to Military Load Capacity 96. The Bridge Supplemental Set (BSS) includes Bridge Erection Boats and an anchorage system to allow for the positioning and securing of the bridge in moving water. Designed to function as either a floating bridge or a raft, the IRB and BSS give military commanders multiple options with regards to the tactical river crossings. The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) was contracted by Product Manager Bridging to provide a structural analysis via high-fidelity numerical modeling of various IRB spans and water flow rates. To this end, a finite element model (FEM) of the IRB was constructed using field measurements of IRB interior bays. To ensure accurate structural response characteristics of the FEM and to build confidence in the simulation results, a validation test series was devised to generate empirical data to correlate against. This report documents the IRB structural response validation testing conducted at ERDC in March 2018. The data contained in this report was used to validate the IRB structural FEM.
  • PUBLICATION NOTICE: Structural Analysis of an Improved Ribbon Bridge Subjected to Hydrodynamic and Vehicular Loading

    Abstract: Structural modeling and simulations were performed to determine limit states of an Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB) subjected to hydraulic and vehicle loadings. Measurements of as-built IRB bays were used to construct a three-dimensional, computer-aided design model. The model was used to create a computational finite element model (FEM) that was validated through correlations of simulation results and empirical data. The validated FEM was used to establish limit states (i.e., maximum current and vehicular loading conditions for 110 and 210 m IRB crossings). Analyses revealed that the primary structural failure mode was yielding in the steel pins that link IRB bays. Assuming the IRB is adequately restrained at the shores, a 110 m IRB can withstand currents up to 11 ft/s with no vehicle traffic; a 210 m IRB can endure up to 7 ft/s under the same conditions. For risk crossings, one Military Load Classification-70 vehicle on the bridge, 110 and 210 m IRBs can tolerate currents up to 9 and 7 ft/s, respectively. Under normal crossing conditions vehicle spaced 100 ft apart, a 110 m IRB has the structural capacity to endure currents up to 9 ft/s; the maximum current for a 210 m IRB is 5 ft/s.
  • NR 19-044: Corps reassigning control of Lock C to Fort Campbell

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 19, 2019) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is in the process of reassigning the Lock C site to the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

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Tag: military
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  • Snow-Covered Obstacles’ Effect on Vehicle Mobility

    ABSTRACT:  The Mobility in Complex Environments project used unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to identify obstacles and to provide path planning in forward operational locations. The UAS were equipped with remote-sensing devices, such as photogrammetry and lidar, to identify obstacles. The path-planning algorithms incorporated the detected obstacles to then identify the fastest and safest vehicle routes. Future algorithms should incorporate vehicle characteristics as each type of vehicle will perform differently over a given obstacle, resulting in distinctive optimal paths. This study explored the effect of snow-covered obstacles on dynamic vehicle response. Vehicle tests used an instrumented HMMWV (high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle) driven over obstacles with and without snow cover. Tests showed a 45% reduction in normal force variation and a 43% reduction in body acceleration associated with a 14.5 cm snow cover. To predict vehicle body acceleration and normal force response, we developed two quarter-car models: rigid terrain and deformable snow terrain quarter-car models. The simple quarter models provided reasonable agreement with the vehicle test data. We also used the models to analyze the effects of vehicle parameters, such as ground pressure, to understand the effect of snow cover on vehicle response.