BAE Systems has introduced active suspension to its CV90 range of combat vehicles. The British defence engineering giant has adapted a system, originally developed for use in Grand Prix racing in the 1990s, to improve handling and speed across the battlefield. The ‘active damping’ system has seen the firms CV90 combat vehicles fitted with it breaking speed records in rough terrain and displaying increased agility by reducing the vehicle’s pitch acceleration by approximately 40%.
The system works by sensing the speed of the vehicle and lay-out of the terrain ahead and responding by pressurising the suspension to keep the vehicle on a level plane at all times. In Formula 1 this was done to ensure a stable aerodynamic platform in cornering, something that was also achieved more recently with FRICS. The increased stability on the combat vehicles helps reduce the wear and tear and subsequently reduce through-life repair costs for each vehicle, despite seeing each able to travel 30–40% faster on rough terrain.
For the crew of a CV90, the technology means a smoother ride and a reduction in fatigue; an important factor on the battlefield. The reduced vertical motion also increases the gunner’s probability of finding and hitting targets. In trials the CV90’s using the system proved to be faster on a rough terrain course than main battle tanks such as the Challenger 2 and Leopard 2.
Dan Lindell, CV90 platform manager at BAE Systems, said: “Adapting the active damping system for the first time from a light weight car to a heavy tracked vehicle such as CV90 was a unique challenge for us, but this advanced technology will deliver results to our customers in terms of vehicle performance and savings on the through life costs, as well as providing real benefits to the front line solider”
The CV90 is designed and built by BAE Systems in Sweden and is one of the largest families of armoured combat vehicles. CV90 is currently used in countries such as Norway, Finland and Denmark and has successfully performed in global operations including UN and NATO collaborations. Formula 1 has considered re-introducing active damping in recent months to make up for the loss of front to rear interconnected suspension systems. Active suspension was openly used in F1 during straight line testing until testing away from F1 standard circuits was banned. Similar systems are still used in Nascar. Source: Racecar Engineering