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Photo: High-tech expanding foam filled gap concept

Photo: High-Tech Expanding Foam Filled Gap Concept

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Conceptual Studies for Rapidly Deployable Battlespace Gap Structures
Research by
Joseph P. Hanus/ Prof. Lawrence Bank
Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering

The US Army identified a gap defeat requirement for the US Army Future Combat System (FCS). The estimated 30-ton vehicle must be able to defeat (cross in same manner) gaps up to 4-meters wide within 3 minutes for assured mobility on the battlefield. An artist rendition of a Future Combat System is shown at the right, courtesy of the Army Objective Force Task Force. Military Tank

The US Army Corps of Engineers Army Engineering, Research, and Design Center (ERDC) is the program manager for FCS Gap Defeat Program, which is the proponent for the University of Wisconsin conceptual studies. Dr. Larry Bank is the Principal Investigator and Joe Hanus is the graduate student managing the project at University of Wisconsin. Dr. Larry Bank is a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Joe Hanus is an active duty US Army officer attending the university in a PhD program to return to teach in the Civil Engineering Department at the United States Military Academy, West Point.

The conceptual studies are being conducted in two phases through October, 2005. Phase I was completed in November, 2004, with a report to ERDC. Seven concept variations were recommended for further design in Phase II. A six step design methodology was used in Phase 1 to select the concept variations for further design.

1. Operational Analysis - established the common groundwork for the project;
2. Development of Essential Objectives - established 22 gap defeat system and project essential objectives to ensure success in meeting the customer's requirements;
3. Concept Generation - developed 20 concepts through brainstorming exercises;
4. Concept Convergence - selected 8 of the 20 concepts through a risk-return evaluation process linked to the 22 essential objectives;
5. Concept Variation Generation - developed 31 concept variations from the 8 selected concepts through brainstorming exercises;
6. Concept Variation Convergence - selected 7 of the 31 concept variations for recommendation for further design and development.

Phase II is currently investigating the critical components of the seven concept variations through a series of material and component testing in scaled experiments, such as the foam filled gap concept shown at the top. The results of these tests will identify specific designs for larger testing in the summer of 2005 at the ERDC Labs in Vicksburg, MS. The results of Phase II will identify the most promising concepts to meet the requirements for the FCS Gap Defeat Program.

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