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.
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.
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
Operational Analysis - established the common groundwork for
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
4. Concept Convergence - selected 8 of the 20 concepts through
a risk-return evaluation process linked to the 22 essential
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.
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.