Press commentary: High Mobility Truck System
Expeditionary warfare and everyday military operations both require highly effective logistics, in which trucks play a key part. Rheinmetall offers a wide range of high-mobility trucks for specific tactical and technical missions that form the backbone of a reliable logistics system.
Specially adapted transport vehicles play a vital role in achieving successful mission outcomes. Accordingly, Rheinmetall sees its trucks not merely as transporters but as "supporters" of deployed forces. The military vehicles in the company's product portfolio are specifically designed to meet user requirements. They range from standard commercial off-the-shelf products to utility vehicles adapted to military needs and standard military vehicles, right through to special purpose tactical vehicles.
Today all Rheinmetall military vehicles are based on the MAN Trucknology series, whose heavyweight version, the TGA, debuted in 2002. Since 2010, MAN Military Vehicles, a joint venture of Rheinmetall and MAN, has been responsible for development, production and sales. Over the years, the vehicles have been enhanced and refined to meet the demands of military logistics. Key aspects include dependability in all climate conditions, off-road capability and, most importantly, passenger protection. Whereas the Medium Mobility Truck System handles the medium range, the High Mobility Truck System is designed to cover the highest mobility levels, i.e. A and B.
The High Mobility Truck System comprises two series: the SX series, the latest iteration of the original MAN gl, and HX as a further development derived from the civilian TGA series. SX and HX vehicles are military off-the-shelf products, in which reliable components from the main series are combined with technology designed for military use. Examples include a special radiator configuration, fording depths of up to 1.50 meters and engines that comply with the NATO Single Fuel Concept. These trucks are designed for high payloads, ruggedness and off-road mobility, and are able to operate at ambient temperatures ranging from -46°C to +49°C. The vehicles are adapted to military requirements by a dedicated engineering department of RMMV in Vienna, which also produces trucks in cooperation with MAN and other manufacturers.
The SX is the latest development stage of the original MAN gl. SX series vehicles set new standards in terms of off-road performance. In fact, when it comes to off-road operation, this truck is a match for many tracked vehicles. The vehicle is designed for a service life of over 30 years. The required long-term corrosion protection was defined in consultation with the German armed forces.
An extremely low-torsion box frame consisting of hollow profile longitudinal members and welded tubular struts was developed specifically for the SX. The progressive spring suspension for extremely long suspension travel enhances mobility and minimises torsion. The vehicle bodies thus remain protected even at high speeds and in the most rugged terrain. If desired, additional springs with integrated shock absorbers can be mounted on the rear axle, while a hydropneumatic suspension with integrated, load-dependent controlled shock absorbers and extremely long suspension travel can be fitted for maximum driving stability under extreme conditions.
This makes the SX suitable for transporting high-value, sensitive and complex equipment, enabling it to serve as a system or weapon carrier even in difficult terrain in either a three- or four-axle version.
In the SX, the engine, cooling system and automatic torque converter transmission constitute a complete, compact power plant, protected against contamination (cooling and air intake) and mounted behind the cab between the first and second axles. The spare tyre is mounted laterally behind the cab. The SX is used mainly as a system carrier for special vehicle bodies (e.g. van bodies) that require exceptional all-terrain capability and a low-torsion frame.
The HX series is extremely versatile, and differs significantly from the SX and its predecessors in terms of technology. Optically, the HX differs from the SX owing to its longitudinal radiator configuration and transversely mounted spare tyre. The HX's low-torsion ladder frame is based on the proven civilian TG series. With welded and screwed lateral struts and steel bumpers, this frame assures minimal torsion, greatly reducing lateral acceleration of the body. The proven leaf spring, another element originating in the tried-and-tested production series and further enhanced for the HX, also contributes to roll stability.
Mounted beneath the cab, the engine has been adapted to meet the enhanced power requirements. The radiator and air intake are mounted behind the cab, protected against dirt and dust.
In the 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8 variants, the HX covers a broad spectrum from transport vehicle to heavy-duty transporter with a gross train weight of over 120 tonnes.
The latest iteration of the HX series, the HX2 meets the need for protected transport vehicles. The vehicles can carry higher axle loads, a prerequisite for a protected cabin. The front axles can support loads of up to eleven tonnes. With this in mind, a new hydraulic dual-circuit steering system was developed to distribute the high steering forces over the front axles and ensure precise steering in rugged terrain.
Ergonomics and logistics
The modular driver's cabs of the HX and SX series provide excellent protection. Entry and passage to the hard top have been designed to be both ergonomic and practical. The cockpit is virtually identical in both versions. Many components are at least optically similar to the main series versions. This reduces training overhead for the operators. The technical assistants simplify operation and enable operators to drive these heavy utility vehicles even in rough terrain after a brief, intensive course of training. The technology supports the drivers in all situations – so much so that they need to occasionally remind themselves that they’re actually driving a heavy vehicle in rough terrain.
In addition, RMMV offers single-source service – everything from first-level to fourth-level support, in all areas of operation. This superb vehicle series perfectly reflects Rheinmetall's role as Europe's leading high-tech enterprise for security and mobility.
The vehicle family concept ensures largely identical operation, maintenance, repair and spare parts, assuring lower lifecycle costs. Access to the various inspection points has been designed to enable user-friendly technical inspection and maintenance, so that all necessary tasks can be performed with minimal effort and, where applicable, with the aid of quantitative indicators. Wheel changes can be quickly performed by two persons using the spare wheel mounted behind the cab and the integrated jack. The driver’s cab can be hydraulically tilted for engine maintenance and repair.
Along with a global service network, RMMV is able to provide logistical support during deployed operations.
|In-line six-cylinder engine||MAN D08||MAN D20||MAN D26|
|Power||250 kW||323 kW||397 kW|
|Torque||1,250 Nm||2,150 Nm||2,500 Nm|
|Overall weight||19 t||28 t||38 t|
|Military payload||6 t||10 t||16.5 t|
The German Bundeswehr plans to renew its logistics fleet under "Unprotected Transport Vehicles" programme, or UTF. RMMV is offering its latest generation of HX vehicles, continuously upgraded to meet the latest requirements and reflect recent mission experience.
The engines currently attain power levels of up to 397 kW, always on the basis of the proven MOTS approach. The cabins can be equipped with integrated command, control and information systems and links to soldier systems, as well as other equipment.
Source: Europäische Sicherheit & Technik, issue 2/2016, author: Gerhard Heiming