Kratos Converts Russian T-72 Tank to Unmanned Operation
Kratos Unmanned Systems Division Installs Remote Control Kit in a T-72 Tank
SAN DIEGO, CA, April 13, 2017 – Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that its Micro Systems, Inc. business unit, part of the Kratos Unmanned Systems Division (KUSD), has successfully converted a Russian T-72 Tank to operate unmanned.
In response to a need by the US Army for a tank target, Kratos/Micro Systems converted the T-72 to be controlled by its Army Ground Aerial Target Control System (AGATCS). AGATCS is a vehicle and datalink agnostic control systems that has been interfaced to a wide variety of US Army air, ground, and sea surface target vehicles.
Converting the T-72 presented a unique set of challenges not normally encountered with conventional vehicles. The dual tiller steering system required high levels of force and displacement. The operating environment was harsh as well, with high levels of vibration, temperature, and dust. Working together as an integrated team, personnel from Kratos/Micro Systems and the Army’s Targets Management Office addressed and resolved these issues. Remote control was facilitated by the ability of AGATCS to control a wide variety of vehicles with highly disparate control requirements.
Kevin Ferguson, Sr. VP of Kratos Micro Systems, said, “Micro Systems is proud to support the US Army’s Targets Management Office with new capabilities to provide highly threat representative target vehicles to support their efforts to develop capabilities to keep our homeland and warriors safe.”
Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:
About Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq:KTOS) is a mid-tier government contractor at the forefront of the Department of Defense’s Third Offset Strategy. Kratos is a leading technology, intellectual property and proprietary product and solution company focused on the United States and its allies’ national security. Kratos is the industry leader in high performance unmanned aerial drone target systems used to test weapon systems and to train the warfighter, and is a provider of high performance unmanned combat aerial systems for force multiplication and amplification. Kratos is also an industry leader in satellite communications, microwave electronics, cyber security/warfare, missile defense and combat systems. Kratos has primarily an engineering and technically oriented work force of approximately 2,900. Substantially all of Kratos’ work is performed on a military base, in a secure facility or at a critical infrastructure location. Kratos’ primary end customers are National Security related agencies. News and information are available at www.KratosDefense.com
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Kratos and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Kratos undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Although Kratos believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve many risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. For a further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Kratos in general, see the risk disclosures in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Kratos for the year ended December 25, 2016, and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Kratos.
Colas partners with US companies to develop autonomous IPV for highways industry
Colas will commence developing and trialling the autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle (IPV) in the UK this year in collaboration with two US companies, Royal Truck and Equipment and Micro Systems, which is a Kratos Defense Company.
The autonomous IPV, equipped with an electro-mechanical system and completely integrated sensor suite, has a leader / follower capability that allows it to follow a lead vehicle, unmanned.
GPS position data is first transmitted from the leader vehicle to the follower vehicle, which can use the data to follow the exact path and speed of the leader vehicle at each point along a route.
Initially, this drone technology was deployed for use in the US Military. It is now being customized by Royal Truck and Equipment and Micro Systems for the highways industry.
Engineers from Royal Truck and Equipment and Micro Systems will work with Colas engineers to install the new technology on a brand new IPV.
As part of a stringent testing and training regime, the new vehicle will be trialled on a live worksite under closely controlled conditions.
All data collected during this period will be analyzed and incorporated into the roll-out of future vehicles not just in the UK, but also across Europe.
Colas associate director Dennis Gregg said: “As a company that offers traffic management to clients across the UK, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the safety of both our operatives and the road using public.
“By collaborating with these two US companies, we strongly believe that we are on the brink of something which could have a huge positive impact on the industry at large.”
Royal Truck and Equipment president Robert Roy said: “Colas’ innovative approach to health and safety is precisely why we are delighted to be working with them on this cutting-edge project in Europe.
“There is no doubt that this technology has the potential to change the way the industry operates forever.”
Micro Systems Demonstrates Universal C2 System for Ground Vehicles
Micro Systems, Inc., a Kratos company based in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., recently demonstrated its new command and control system that is capable of controlling air, ground and unmanned surface vehicles from a single station, as well as an applique kit that can convert manned ground vehicles into remotely operated systems.
The U.S. Army Target Management Office (TMO) initiated the expo in support of their Army Ground and Aerial Target Control System and Tri-Service and Industry Aerial Demonstration programs. Visitors from the TMO as well as various governmental and industry organizations interested in the technology attended the event.
Attendees were able to get up close to a number of static aerial, ground, and sea surface vehicles — including the MQM-178 Firejet, built by CEi, sister company of Micro Systems — but the highlight of the day were the live demonstrations.
The live demonstrations consisted of the Micro Systems’ Universal Command and Control system remotely controlling four different ground vehicles that had been converted from standard manned vehicles into unmanned systems using a vehicle appliqué kit integrated by Micro Systems’ engineers. Additionally, the engines of an unmanned sea surface vehicle, known as a High Speed Maneuverable Seaborne Target in the US Navy, were powered on and controlled to display the versatility of the Universal C2 for multiple platforms.
The systems that were displayed and demonstrated are actively used to support advanced training and weapon evaluation missions for all branches of the U.S. armed forces and allied countries worldwide.
The Universal C2, designed by Micro Systems, is a robust and flexible system that supports air, land, and sea surface vehicle platforms. It can be configured to control a maximum of eight jet powered air vehicles, one rotary winged aircraft, forty seaborne vehicle, forty ground vehicles and a minimum of any single vehicle type or any combination of up to the maximum. The Universal C2 is field expandable via plug-and-play interface with no software changes necessary.
It also supports different data link options including UHF FM, L-Band Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum, 2.4 Giga-hertz ISM, Iridium Satellite, and custom data links. The system is adaptable to a variety of unmanned vehicle applications and currently supports missions for the U.S. Navy’s System for Naval Target Control and U.S. Army’s Army Ground and Aerial Target Control System and Tri-Service and Industry Aerial Demonstration, as well as several international defense organizations.
The demonstration vehicles included a High Mobility Maneuverable Wheeled Vehicle, 2.5 ton Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, a commercial Nissan Frontier pickup, and a John Deere Gator all-terrain vehicle that Micro Systems converted into unmanned systems using their vehicle appliqué kit.
Once the kit is installed the vehicle can be driven normally with a human driver, teleoperated using the Universal C2, or fully autonomous using path following. An advanced sensor package that includes components such as radar, lidar and a full GPS/INS system can also be integrated for high-precision autonomous mission support. The kit takes four hours or less to install and can be uninstalled from one vehicle and reinstalled on another.
The vehicles were controlled on a closed course at the Micro Systems facility in teleoperational mode using the Universal C2 from inside a transportable shelter. Operators issued commands and received telemetry and position data as they drove the vehicles several laps around the course.
Spectators watched as the unmanned vehicles maneuvered the course and were also able to view video screens displaying the operators controlling the vehicles from inside the shelter. Additionally, video cameras mounted inside the vehicles transmitted a live video feed that could also be seen from monitors set up near the command shelters.
During the demonstration, the vehicles were controlled one at a time due to the limited size of the closed course and the close proximity of the spectators. On the following day a private demonstration was successfully conducted as a proof-of-concept with three-vehicles in a convoy configuration using the Humvee, Light Tactical Vehicle and Nissan truck.
Future demonstrations are planned for semi-autonomous operations using path following methods, full autonomous operation using the advanced sensor kit, and formation, swarm, and coordinated time of arrival operations.
Advanced Training Need
The demonstration was an important step to fulfilling the U.S. Army TMO’s need for advanced test and training mission requirements.
These training missions are critical for proper preparation of warfighters to familiarize themselves with the sophisticated equipment they use on a daily basis and the Universal C2 allows for multi-service support of air, land and sea surface vehicles.
Additionally, the vehicle appliqué systems used to convert standard manned vehicles into unmanned systems are also a cost-effective means of reallocating aging military assets that might otherwise have ended up in a scrapyard.