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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

22 February 2015

IDEX 2015: Seen and Heard on Day One

  • Powerful ZF automatic transmission for special vehicles with up to 1 000 Nm of torque 
  • The 8HP 90 S is based on the successful passenger car transmission modular kit and is designed mechanically and electronically for applications in light commercial vehicles 

ZF's 8-speed automatic transmission 8HP has already conquered the passenger car world – it is providing sterling service in current full-size high-end luxury cars as well as in SUVs, premium compact cars, and high-performance sports cars. In the form of a new special version dubbed 8HP 90 S special vehicles can also benefit from its long-term qualities: These include fast, comfortable gearshifts, a high total spread, the very good power-to-weight ratio as well as flexible applications and outstanding efficiency.

As a powerful, efficient 8-speed automatic transmission ZF's 8HP 90 S is tailor-made for the requirements of light special vehicles. It can handle up to 1 000 Nm of input torque and yet is nonetheless extremely light and compact. (Photo: ZF)
The ZF engineers focused primarily on two criteria when designing the 8-speed automatic transmission for light special vehicles with four- or six-wheel drive: The 8HP 90 S must have the same outstanding basic characteristics as its passenger car counterpart and at the same time perform as effectively as possible the new commercial vehicle-specific tasks – regardless of whether this involves a fire truck, vehicles used in agriculture and forestry, armored vehicles, or municipal vehicles. ZF solves this task with the 8HP 90 S whose basic transmission is designed for input torques of up to 1 000 Nm. Its eight gears provide a high total spread of 7.05 with very small gear steps, which also promotes power, comfort, and efficiency in equal measure. Nonetheless the 8HP 90 S remains a compact lightweight: It is less than 700 millimeters long and tips the scales at just 99 kilograms including oil. As such it saves valuable installation space and helps optimize the payload of special vehicles.

The technical prerequisite comes in the shape of a sophisticated, innovative gearset design with four planetary gearsets and five shift elements. Since there are always only two shift elements open per gear, inner drag losses in the transmission are greatly reduced. The torsion damper system in the torque converter also has a positive impact on shift characteristics, durability and, not least, fuel consumption: This system effectively decouples the torsional vibrations induced by the engine in the driveline. At the same time, the lock-up clutch can also be engaged faster. Overall these measures translate into outstandingly short response and shift times below the human threshold of perception. Double and direct multiple gearshifts are also possible. To ensure that the automatic transmission can also negotiate any off-road situation effortlessly, it has been designed for uphill or downhill gradients of up to 60 percent and 30-percent lateral inclination.

As a neutral interface, the 8HP 90 S comes at the output end with the cross cut commonly used in commercial vehicles to connect standardized propshafts. Added to which are unified connections: In terms of the mechanical components, this entails the SAE 4 engine interface; the SAE CAN J1939, J1939-14, or J2284 communications buses are available for the electronics. The actual hardware and software on the 8HP 90 S are fully integrated in the transmission, which minimizes the wiring required. The control electronics on the 8HP 90 S provide even more benefits: The automatic transmission also comes as standard with the adaptive shifting strategy ASIS. This evaluates the personal driving style and the respective driving situation continually in order to select the best gear shifting point and gear at all times. Thanks to the flexible control, mechanical and pure shift-by-wire gearshift systems can be implemented.

However, the 8HP 90 S makes light special vehicles even more fuel-efficient thanks to other options – and, in turn, more environmentally friendly and also more efficient: A mild hybrid solution using a crankshaft starter generator can be easily implemented with this 8-speed automatic transmission, along with a start-stop system.

Weapon systems increase in accuracy, lethality and range, as they continue to improve, yet, it has been some time since a revolution was unveiled. RUAG Defence is poised to give us just that at the IDEX 2015. It seems the Swiss have employed their skills in accuracy, fire control, integration and ergonomics, to develop an intuitive solution for modern forces. Current understanding is that the solution will be available for all small to medium-sized armoured vehicles, have a focus on ease of use through intuitional handling, and be modular, i.e. mobility and protection can be varied to whatever the threat scenario may be, and what gives the customer the best tactical advantage.

As there are no details available at time of print, RUAG’s press conference on Monday, 23 February 2015 (11:30h) at IDEX, will be the great unveiling of this brand-new solution for effective indirect fire.

One of the lessons learned during recent years is the paramount importance of logistic support of naval ships. The essence of MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) is that it extends the life of existing platforms and materiel – reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. The acronym MRO is intimately associated with the success of naval missions. MRO is not an extra service; it forms part of the portfolio of the world’s technology leaders in naval shipbuilding like Fr. Lürssen Werft in Germany. The shipyard – with a number of facilities located across northern Germany – offers a comprehensive naval vessel MRO service. Since the acquisition of the Neue Jadewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven in 2004, the shipbuilder further expanded its activities in this field, offering maintenance, repair, and modernisation of ships up to a length of 150m. Today, these facilities are among the leading ones for maintenance of large naval vessels and commercial ships in Germany.
Since naval fleets are involved in a diverse range of missions around the globe, this sort of service offered by Fr. Lürssen Werft is essential to help bring naval platforms to service as quickly as possible. It covers the range of naval platforms – from small patrol boats, Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), and corvettes to frigates and fleet support ships. Whatever the reason, there is an enormous need to ensure that existing platforms are maintained and serviced with the least amount of down time. One observation is that modularity of modern naval platforms makes them less expensive to maintain, and less time-consuming to modernise.

Lürssen Group’s Neue Jadewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven supports large naval ships and commercial vessels by a comprehensive package of MRO services. (Photo: Lürssen Group)

Oshkosh Defense is displaying its MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). Oshkosh also features its Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV) at booth #02-B11, which is the basis for the US government’s JLTV programme. The Oshkosh L-ATV represents the future of light combat vehicles as forces look to replace decades-old vehicle fleets that lack the protection and mobility needed for today's most significant threats. Oshkosh's TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle technology is showcased at the Unmanned Systems Conference during IDEX.


VirTra, a leading provider of use of force training and shooting simulators to military, law enforcement agencies and other organisations, is exhibiting at IDEX 2015. VirTra is showcasing its training simulators including the V-300, a 300-degree virtual training system for use of force preparedness for police and military officials and V-Range, one of VirTra’s virtual shooting range products. The V-300 is currently being used in various applications with an extensive clientele base that includes police and military agencies in several countries around the world. In the US alone, nearly 200 police agencies use VirTra technology. In addition, VirTra is partnering with the International Golden Group (IGG), a leading supplier of integrated defence systems in the Middle East furthering VirTra’s international clientele reach. At IDEX, VirTra is exhibiting at the IGG booth. “It’s a great honor for VirTra to be selected by International Golden Group as a partner,” said VirTra General Manager Jason Mulcahy. “IGG provides VirTra instant recognition in both the civil and military markets.”

In the US alone, more than 200 police and military agencies use VirTra technology for use of force preparation. Recent additions to VirTra’s client base include the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, one of the largest police agencies in the US, and the US Department of Homeland Security which employs virtual training with U.S. Custom and Border Protection with multiple simulators. VirTra also counts many international clients who utilize its technology. Bob Ferris, VirTra’s Chief Executive Officer, added, "While VirTra continues to enjoy much success is the U.S., we see great opportunities in our expansion efforts internationally. We look forward to showcasing our expertise at IDEX.”


MTM, America’s leader in the production of cutting edge military/tactical timepieces, recently introduced its latest, and most ambitious models. Adding to MTM’s reputation as the manufacturer of rugged, durable and innovative models, the TRIGER is truly revolutionary. As the first automatic movement equipped model in the MTM lineup, The TRIGER utilises a certified COSC rated Swiss Chronometer. Fewer than 3% of all Swiss movements are accurate enough to be awarded this certification. For comfort, strength and lightweight, the case is fabricated from grade 5 titanium the grade offering the ultimate combination of durability and weight. Each case is meticulously CNC machined by hand one case at a time to ensure MTM’s demanding tolerances.
The second new addition is the PREDATOR II with a quartz Swiss chronograph movement with date window. The case is made of solid titanium or stainless steel and the brass comes in eleven colour options. The hands are equipped with tritium-gas filled tubes that will glow brightly without the need for any external light source for 25 years. The PREDATOR II offer a water resistant of 200 m and has a weight of 8 oz (Titanium 5.5 oz.), the battery is good for four years.


CeramTec, the German producer of technical ceramics for armour protection applications, is showing its latest development stage of PERLUCOR Transparent Ceramics at booth no. C03 in hall, 8 as part of the German Pavilion. The firm is also showing its opaque ceramics for all kinds of ballistic protection, such as silicon carbide and alumina for body and vehicle armour


FAUN Trackway USA has secured a landmark order from the Hamlet of Kugluktuk in Canada, marking the company’s first sale in the country. The Canadian hamlet is the first in the region to place an order for FAUN Trackway’s Boat Ramp Kit, which is designed to provide easy passage for entry into waters in extreme environments. Geographically isolated, Kugluktuk’s municipal authority required a unique solution that would provide the safe transit of marine equipment to and from shore, as well as goods delivered by sealift. The harsh conditions of Canada’s Northwest Passage meant ramps previously used, from materials such as cement, were subject to major damage and required yearly repair or replacement. Using the Boat Ramp Kit ensures the community can deploy a stable ramp system during the spring and then remove it before the winter ice forms. FAUN Trackway’s Boat Ramp Kit is a specially designed deployment and transportation device constructed from MLC 70 Trackway panels, laying and recovery kit, and Anchorage kit. Once unpacked and assembled, the MLC 70 panels can be rolled out into water and used again in a different location once picked up, providing both permanent and temporary solutions.


Enterprise Control Systems (ECS) is displaying their airborne and ground-based Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (COFDM) surveillance equipment on Stand 5-C09 at IDEX 2015. The COFDM receivers were recently used by the Filipino Navy when Pope Francis visited the capital of Manila earlier this year. During the Pope’s visit to the Philippines, ECS supplied the Navy with a number of COFDM systems. Downlinks transferred live real-time video, audio and data from the air and were distributed to fixed and mobile receiver platforms on the ground. The surveillance systems will be showcased alongside ECS’s latest COFDM equipment – the EVENLODE Ground Data Terminal System. The EVENLODE Ground Data Terminal provides decoding and monitoring of all signals contained within an ECS COFDM EVENLODE downlink. Mark Reynolds, Business Development Director Asia at ECS said: “Our latest support of the Pope’s visit to the Philippines shows our technology to be entrusted for major events on a global scale. ECS has dominated the UK military and law enforcement agencies for over 15 years with microwave radio links based on the COFDM technique and so we’re very much looking forward to showcasing the very latest in technological developments.”


For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #2/2015, available at the show and on booth #C1 10-11. 

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