And you thought the Humvee was tough?

A new concept vehicle, dubbed ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol), has been unveiled two days ago at the "Modern Day Marine Expo" held in Quantico, Virginia. This vehicle has been designed to improve survivability and mobility in future military combat vehicles.

There are almost 200,000 Humvees military trucks at work for the U.S. military forces and its allies since 1985. But now, a concept vehicle, dubbed ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol), has been unveiled two days ago at the "Modern Day Marine Expo" held in Quantico, Virginia. This vehicle has been designed to improve survivability and mobility in future military combat vehicles. The ULTRA is the result of the cooperation of engineers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) and, more surprisingly, from the automotive industry, including Dave McLellan, the former Corvette chief engineer for General Motors. Right now, the ULTRA is slightly larger than a Humvee and is diesel powered. But a real ULTRA vehicle for the U.S military will probably not be deployed before a few years.

Let's start with some short excerpts from the GTRI news release.

The concept vehicle, known as the ULTRA AP (Armored Patrol), was built to help the U.S. military evaluate multiple science and technology options -- including ballistic and mine protection -- that could benefit future vehicle design. The concept vehicle combines proven vehicle technologies with advanced materials and engineering concepts.
"By bringing together experienced commercial vehicle designers with experts in advanced materials and cutting-edge engineering, we are providing a test bed for evaluating technologies that can help the military develop true 'leap-ahead' concepts," said David Parekh, GTRI’s deputy director. 'By including persons with high-performance automotive engineering and NASCAR expertise as part of our team, we were able to root this advanced concepts project in real-world vehicle design."

Below is an illustration showing you all the components of the ULTRA AP (Credit: GTRI). Here is a link to a larger version (1.13 MB) on the DefenseReview.com web site.

The ULTRA AP components

And here is a picture of the ULTRA AP on the road (Credit: GTRI, with a link to a larger version).

The ULTRA AP on the road

As you can see on the diagram above, this concept vehicle has been designed to improve survivability, with its new lightweight armor. But its creators also wanted to enhance the safety of the occupants. So they added on-board computers to integrate steering, suspension and brakes "to provide an unparalleled level of mobility and safety."

As the ULTRA is a concept vehicle, there are few documents available about it. But for more information, you can read this article from Research Horizons Magazine, published by GTRI, in its Winter 2005 Issue.

And if you want to refresh your memory about the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee), please visit the sites dedicated to it by Wikipedia and by AM General, the company which has produced 185,000 Humvees.

Sources: Georgia Tech Research Institute news release, via EurekAlert!, September 12, 2005; and various web sites

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