The British Army’s new light howitzer could be unmanned

The British Army’s new light howitzer could be unmanned
1540     14:24     03 07 2021    
The U.K. Ministry of Defense has revealed that it is looking at unmanned self-propelled guns, which could have autonomous capabilities, as potential replacements for the British Army’s current L118 105mm howitzer. An artist’s conception of one proposal for this future Lightweight Fires Platform, seen at the top of this story, shows a design with four wheels on separate, articulating legs.

Jon Hawkes, Head of Land Warfare at the Janes defense and security information company, today tweeted a slide from an apparent briefing provided by the U.K.’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, or Dstl, a branch of the U.K. Ministry of Defense that leverages scientific and technological advances for the benefit of the armed forces. Dstl is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its establishment today, as well.

The slide Hawkes shared shows a computer-generated concept for an unmanned self-propelled gun, mounted on a four-wheeled chassis. As already noted, each of the wheels is mounted on an articulating leg and there are no connecting axles, suggesting that this proposal would involve a hybrid-electric motor-in-hub arrangement, or perhaps some sort of mechanical linkage inside the leg that connects to a motor in the central body. Either way, the concept is at least fairly notional at this stage.

This general concept has been seen on other unmanned ground vehicle designs, such as the Multi-Mission Unmanned Ground Vehicle, or MULE, that was developed for the U.S. Army, initially as part of the abortive Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. This type of design is intended to provide a very high degree of mobility over all kinds of rough terrain.

Tags: British   howitzer  

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