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Howe & Howe Ripsaw UGV

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Ripsaw UGV

Last month, during Victory Day parade, Russia demonstrated their new Armata platform and new T-14 battle tank. One of it’s major innovations is a remote controlled turret. Few days ago, the US have demonstrated it’s the newest achievement in remote-controlled drones. US Military demonstrated their project and released pictures showing a new next generation remote-controlled tank named RIPSAW.

The Ripsaw is a developmental unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), and it is considered also as a light tank. It is designed and built by Howe & Howe Technologies for the United States Army. It is still on evaluation, and it’s not yet revealed when is expected to enter service, naturally if accepted by US Army.

The Howe brothers started the Ripsaw project in 2000. In the first manner, it was a small family project, but when they introduced it at a Dallas vehicle show in 2001, it caught the interest of the U.S. Army. Later that year the U.S. Military ordered a new prototype MS-1 to be made and shipped to Iraq for evaluation.

howe and howe ripsaw EV2 - Howe & Howe Ripsaw UGV

The Ripsaw UGV is intended to perform various missions including convoy protection, perimeter defense, surveillance, rescue, border patrol, crowd control, and explosive ordnance disposal. It is ideal for use in high-risk environments and on battlefields without the need of exposing soldiers to various threats. It also can be armed with a belt of M5 Modular Crowd Control Munitions (MCCM) for perimeter defense or crowd control. Belt can be mounted around the vehicle to break up crowds and non-lethally engage personnel with flash-bang effects and various non-lethal rubber bullets. Multiple cameras provide 360-degree coverage for situational awareness of area for the operator.

The US Army has tested the Ripsaw UGV while remote-controlled by a soldier in another armored vehicle up to 1 km away. Ripsaw UGV weapon system is modified to fire remotely using the ARAS (Advanced Remote Armament System), a gun that self-loads its own ammunition and can swap out various types of ammunition, such as lethal and non-lethal, in just a few seconds. All of these capabilities allow other manned vehicles in battle formation to send the Ripsaw out in front of them and engage targets without exposing soldiers to threats.

Ripsaw UGV variants

Ripsaw UGV

Ripsaw UGV prototype could accelerate to 65 mph in about 3.5 seconds since it was lighter, but it wasn’t as strong/rugged, that stands only for a non-militarized vehicle, without any additions and weapon systems.

Ripsaw MS1 tactical UGV

Ripsaw MS1 tactical UGV utilizes a powerful oversized and customized 650-horsepower Duramax 6.6L V8 diesel engine that delivers 900 ft-lbs (~ 1,220 Nm) of torque. The Ripsaw MS1 was a test platform made to test off-road capabilities. It was exclusively unmanned, cost $200,000 and could accelerate from 0-65 mph in 3 seconds.

ripsaw MS1 UGV - Howe & Howe Ripsaw UGV

Ripsaw MS2 UGV

Ripsaw MS2 UGV is made to be larger, faster, and more modular than the MS1. It weighs 4.5 tons and can carry a one-ton payload. The lightweight tubular chassis design is powered by a 6.6 liter Duramax diesel engine generating 600 hp and 1000 ft/lb of torque. Fully loaded, the MS2 can accelerate from 0-50 mph in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of 60 mph. The vehicle can traverse 50-degree gradients and 45-degree slopes. It can be optionally manned or teleoperated from a nearby command vehicle. Armament can include an M240 machine gun or M2 .50-caliber machine gun, and it has been tested with the Javelin missile. If the Ripsaw is damaged or destroyed, parts can be “cannibalized” in the field and re-assembled quickly. An MS2 vehicle costs $750,000.

Ripsaw MS3 UGV

Ripsaw MS3 UGV is being tested by RDECOM under the Remote Armed Maneuver Platform (RAMP) initiative to integrate the M153 CROWS remote weapon system onto an unmanned vehicle. RAMP was demonstrated at Fort Benning, Georgia in October 2013 as part of the Army’s Armed Unmanned Ground Vehicle (AUGV) program.

Technical specifications of Ripsaw UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle)

Ripsaw UGV
Type: Light tank
Place of origin: United States
Service history
Used by: United States Army
Production history
Designer: Howe & Howe Technologies
Manufacturer: Howe & Howe Technologies
Unit cost $ 250,000
Produced: 2009-present
Variants: MS1 (unmanned), MS2 (driver optional)
Specifications
Weight: 9,000 lbs
Height: 70 in

Armor: None (aluminum frame)
Engine: 6.6 duramax diesel
750 hp
Power/weight: 1000 ft/lbs
Payload capacity: 2,000 lbs.
Suspension: 16 in. Travel
Ground clearance: 24 in
Speed: 95 Mph
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Special vehicles

Yagu – An Ultralight Special Ops Armored Vehicle

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yagu special ops armored vehicle - Yagu – An Ultralight Special Ops Armored Vehicle

Plasan unveiled today it’s all-new, lightweight protected vehicle – Yagu at Expo Seguridad event in Mexico City this week. In fact, Plasan transformed the 767 kg commercial Arctic Cat Wildcat 4 1000 four-seat all-terrain vehicle into a 1.48-ton (dry weight) fully-protected assault vehicle.

The vehicle is designed to behave like an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) but offers its crew of three persons the all-around 360 ballistic protection at a level of B6+ (similar to STANAG 4569 Level II) effective against 5.56X45, 7.62X39 and 7.62×51 threats. WIth front and side windows and all-round cameras the protected capsule provides excellent situational awareness and response, using an overhead ultra-light remotely operated weapon, that mounts a 5.56 or 7.62 machine gun and EO sensors operated by the crew from within the air-conditioned, armored capsule. The vehicle can also be equipped with a drone launching system, that can operate airborne for 27 minutes. With automatic target tracking features the drone provides enhanced situational awareness for the crew.

The air-transportable Yagu is positioned to meet the needs of special operations, border patrols, urban warfare as well as special missions in crime-fighting, where light and agile platforms are required. According to Plasan, Yagu provides such high protection level at an exceptionally low weight. As its outdoors sibling, Yagu can move on rocky and muddy terrain, on sand dunes and in forest environments, climbing extreme sloping roads. In urban scenes Yagu’s compact size comes handy, as it is able to move through narrow passages (its width is merely 162 cm), crossing jammed or blocked roads on sidewalks and stairs.

yagu 1 - Yagu – An Ultralight Special Ops Armored Vehicle

One of the Yagu advantages is the use General Robotics Pitbull – an ultralight remotely operated weapon station, integrating hostile fire and anti-drone, ‘point and shoot’, and remote control functions. Photo: Plasan

Even with full armor, three fully equipped troops and 350 kg payload (a gross vehicle weight of more than five tons!), Yagu maintains a power/weight ratio in excess of 53 HP/Ton, thus maintaining much of the agility and mobility of the Wildcat. The platform retains the original 1000 H2 V- Twin, S0HC 4 – stroke, 4 – valve w/EFI 951cc engine with electronic fuel injection, coupled to an automatic transmission with HI/LO gear, 2 or 4 wheel drive and the long-travel front and rear suspension used in the original Wildcat. To support the added weight and improve mobility, Yagu uses bigger tires (28 X 10r14 instead of the civilian version’s 26x9R14 and 26x11R14).

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Special vehicles

How U.S. Special Operations Forces Get Their Armored Pickups

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us special operations forces vehicles - How U.S. Special Operations Forces Get Their Armored Pickups

U.S. special operation forces don’t just ride around in any old truck. Their unique vehicles, which may appear normal from the outside, are anything but usual. A new video emerged on YouTube which shows how one company takes civilian pickup trucks and SUVs common in combat zones and turns them into undercover rides for the CIA, Delta Force, Navy SEALs, Green Berets and other operators. The vehicles are stripped down and then built back up again with special mission equipment and up to a ton of armor plating, all of it nigh invisible to the untrained eye.

Vehicles and SUV like Toyota Hilux pickup trucks and Series 70 Land Cruisers are extremely common in the Third World, often used cast-offs from wealthier Western countries and Japan. The difference between a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by a SEAL and by a local warlord, however, is about 3,500 pounds of hidden equipment, including armor, reinforced struts and suspension, tactical equipment, and an electrical system that can drive high power electronics.

Battelle, an applied sciences and technology company based in Columbus, Ohio has put out a video explaining how it turns ordinary vehicles into extraordinary ones. According to the company, it’s been creating what it calls “non-standard commercial vehicles” since 2004.

Battelle sources Toyota Hilux pickup trucks and Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicles, as well as Ford Ranger pickups as a baseline to create their “non-standard” vehicles. As part of the design process, Battelle company creates CAD models of the models they modify. It also stripped them down to understand how the parts interrelate, and how modifying one part of the truck could impact another—and the truck as a whole. Adding nearly two extra tons that permanently reside on the vehicle makes a Toyota Hilux that weighs 8,500 pounds stock. Out in the field, that new vehicle will routinely carry an extra ton of people, weapons, and supplies across dangerous territory.

us special forces in syria - How U.S. Special Operations Forces Get Their Armored Pickups

US special forces soldier with Hilux truck. Taqba, Syria, 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)

The vehicles are stripped down and individual parts modified with the new equipment. Battelle company outfits vehicles with about a ton of extra armor, slipped between the vehicle frame and interior, out of sight and out of mind. (Interestingly, the video is intentionally blurred when the cabin roof armor is installed.) For doors, that means bullet-resistant glass and armor plating.

Other major upgrades are carefully hidden under vehicle interiors. The electrical system also appears to be upgraded to handle power draws such as satellite radios, land navigation and tracker systems, long-range surveillance system, and other equipment. A steel push bumper, designed to encourage other vehicles to get out of the way, is hidden behind the face bar. Holding it all up are beefier shock absorbers and springs and a reinforced metal frame. Although the video doesn’t mention it, a 2016 report mentions the vehicles are also fitted with run-flat tires designed to keep them rolling even with tire damage.

In 2016, Battelle company won a $170 million contract from U.S. Special Operations Command to build up to 556 Non-Standard Commercial Vehicles. That comes out to $305,000 per vehicle—a pretty good deal for an armored workhorse that can blend in with local vehicles.

US soldier with armored vehicle - How U.S. Special Operations Forces Get Their Armored Pickups

US Soldier in front of armored SUV (Photo: Getty Images)

One of the places where these vehicles have been deployed was Syria, in the fight against the Islamic State. Several photos of U.S. special operations forces standing conspicuously near Toyota Hiluxes and Toyota Land Cruisers have filtered out, some with curiously blue-tinted windows, a tipoff that the glass is armored, and the exact same model roof rack Battelle company mounts on their modified vehicles.

Perhaps not surprisingly the Islamic State itself used similar vehicles, particularly Toyota Hiluxes, to the point where the U.S. Department of Treasury was investigating how terrorists got their hands on so many of them (brand new models).

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