Alliance continues to gain ground in vital close combat support arena

Strategic alliance partners, EPS UK Ltd and DEE-Ltd reveal a number of new developments and features associated with their current range of light wheeled vehicle platforms at DVD this week (June 19th & 20th 2013).  Being shown for the first time is the latest upgraded variant of the Whippet Wheeled Vehicle Light platform, designed for dismounted close combat support.  Available in two configurations, a centre position single-seater or a two-seater side-by-side, the platform incorporates a host of new onboard features including a full touch screen electronic dashboard, an integrated data-logger which provides advanced HUMS functionality, a range of situational awareness options – and a semi-automaton capability.

The Whippet is designed primarily for heli-borne insertion, including deployment within V22 Osprey and above.  Dimensions are deliberately compact with overall width of 1524mm (60 inches) and the base 4x4 platform is designed to carry a payload of 900kg which is increased to 1250 Kg with the two-seater variant.

The all new touch screen electronic dashboard is complimented by the intuitive software that is the companies’ own design and incorporates three video inputs, which can display GPS data, command and control information – effectively in real time – and the option to take feeds from surveillance or thermal imaging sources.

The semi-automaton UGV version utilises all electronic actuators and a further range of special forces configurations and top structures have been developed for applications such as ladder-borne mounted operations.  A rear deck area, common to most variants, is designed to carry a range of payloads and special equipment.

The single seat version uses a 1000cc Lombardini diesel engine, driving through constant velocity transmission (CVT) with selectable two- or four-wheel-drive.  The two-seater unit utilises a larger 1.4litre, higher revving Lombardini automotive engine, driving through a traditional 4 speed automatic transmission.  A supercharged version is also available for applications where high altitude performance is required.

All versions of the Whippet utilise a high proportion of common componentry and modular armour packages are available.  Minimum level protection includes a DN31 rated underbelly blast plate, which is fabricated from 3mm ballistic steel.

A range of weapons options permit mix and match, according to operational requirements.  These include provision for a GPMG front mount and a high position for a demountable 20mm canon, which also provides a stand-off capability. 

One particularly innovative feature of the latest Whippet vehicle on show is a gunshot counter, developed by associated company, Secubit.  It provides full HUMS functionality for fitted weaponry and provides an effective weapon preventative maintenance tool. The information is captured and data logged with the information displayed on the dashboard screen.

In operational terms, the companies see the Whippet as a viable theatre replacement for quad bikes – and the vehicle can also tow a trailer.  A concurrent project will provide the Whippet with a powered trailer, attached to the prime mover via an umbilical towbar to carry necessary control systems.  Power for the trailer will be provided separately by a 750cc diesel engine which can double up to provide an on-board generating capability when required.  The trailer has been designed for a payload based on a standard 1 tonne pallet.

The alliance’s larger 6x6 Dingo vehicle is shown in its gun tractor configuration.  Weighing in at 4.3 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW), it is a development of the Nomad LRTV 4x4 unit, shown previously at DVD.  The unit has already been trialled with the light field piece and other towed equipment.  Mobility has been improved with the use of Tire Balls®, in lieu of run-flat systems, with the added benefit that they are reusable and fit the existing tyre equipment. 

Source: EPS UK Ltd - DEE Ltd (Adrian Graves Limited)
Date: Jun 17, 2013