BAE Systems Land (UK) (Stand S3-110) is entering the highly competitive unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) market with the introduction of its Ironclad UGV at DSEI.
Ironclad has a hardware interface consisting of a connection that supplies power and command from the main vehicle chassis, which houses the battery and two-way remote control unit. This feature allows different mission fits to be rapidly attached to enable Ironclad to undertake a wider range of battlefield missions than many current UGVs, which are optimised for just a single mission.
Mission fits currently under development by BAE Systems include reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, area denial and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). The reconnaissance version, for example, would be fitted with a sensor package consisting of day/thermal cameras and audio devices, with this information being streamed directly back to soldiers in real time.
Ironclad has rubber band asymmetric tracks, which enable it to climb gradients of up to 45º, and it can reach speeds of more than 50km/h − with the current lithium iron battery supply being sufficient for up to 50km of operation. Unlike many UGVs, Ironclad has a higher level of survivability because the hull is made of Armox steel armour, which provides protection from small arms and shell splinters.
There are two configurations of Ironclad, one of which weighs 200kg and has a typical payload capacity of 250kg; or two of these coupled to take payloads of up to 400kg.
According to Craig Fennell, future programme director at BAE Systems Land (UK): ‘‘The next step is for Ironclad to act autonomously as part of a battlegroup, interacting with other vehicles and ground troops to follow mission objectives. This is being tested on existing vehicles as the technology − already at a high state of readiness - is developed.