Ethernet Will Help Make Tactical Vehicles “SMART”
Ethernet for JLTV

New Military Tactical Vehicles Will Rely on Ethernet Backbones for both Vehicle and Soldier Survivability

We recently wrote about Future Soldier applications for Ethernet backbones for advanced weapon and communication systems that will enhance soldiers’ survival and effectiveness by augmenting command and control (C&C), lethality, mobility, and sustainability. But Ethernet backbones will have a much bigger job. For next-generation giants like armored vehicles and trucks, Ethernet will be a key technology of the network that will not only enhance the survivability of the soldiers, but enhance the survivability of the these vehicles that will be used for infantry combat, command, reconnaissance, and armored utility applications.

One such program is the joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV), a new support vehicle program being developed by the US forces, specifically the US Army, USSOCOM, and the Marine Corps to replace the rapidly aging and outmoded high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV), the design of which is over 25 years old. The JLTVs specific requirements are that it would be: more mechanically reliable, maintainable (with onboard diagnostics), all-terrain mobile, and equipped to link into current and future tactical data nets.

Future vehicle development for defense application have amazing physical requirements that, at the core, are designed to keep our soldiers from harm—in any combat situation. Some of the mechanical engineering feats that must be developed to support these vehicles include:

  • Generator to give sustained power with the engine running and when the vehicle is moving
  • Amazing ammo-carrying capacity
  • Jam-resistant doors for easy escape after attack or damage
  • An automatic fire-extinguishing system,
  • an extra spall liner to minimize the effect of perforation after small-arms attack
  • Two armor configurations for protection against mines, artillery and RPG warheads
  • Run-flat tires
  • Systems such as fuel tank, coolant tank, or engine oil reservoir that must continue to function after a small arms attack.

From an “intelligence” point of view, these vehicles must also include next-generation C4I solutions that include:

  • Electronic monitoring of diagnostic equipment and system failures so that they can be fixed the systems can be fixed in situ
  • The ability to link into current and future tactical data networks
  • The connection and monitoring of electronic tactical equipment including surveillance cameras, rear cameras, acoustic gunfire detection, remote control weapons, vehicle monitors, GPS receivers, vision enhancements, and tracking devices

Driven by rapid advancement and lower costs, Ethernet is becoming the standard for IP-based components that support these current and next-generation tactical data networks. The growing number of Ethernet-based devices supporting “survivability” must be connected to the mission computer, and often to each other.

Ethernet switches are the common means of making such connections. A range of Ethernet switches are needed to support the multiple platforms used in military and commercial mobile platforms. Unmanaged switches connect their inputs together and are perfect for “plug and play” type applications or where simplicity is paramount. Managed switches, on the other hand, are the solution for scenarios that involve more devices, or require redundancy, monitoring, and control over the network. Managed switches are remotely programmable via Web or programmatic interfaces to allow pre- and dynamic configuration. These switches provide key features to support today’s applications; primary among these are quality of service, VLANs, IPv4/IPv6 support, bandwidth aggregation, spanning tree, and redundancy.

With military equipment subject to harsh climates, varying temperatures, shock and vibration, defense requirements are mission critical. Even networking and C4I Equipment has to be built to withstand extreme stresses without sacrificing performance. Mechanical packaging design must meet MIL-STD-810F airborne and ground environmental compliance and high reliability. Each unit must be hardened to improve ingress, impact, and shock/vibration protection, as well as eliminate all moving parts through the use of passive cooling. Increasingly these devices must fit in to specific size, weight and power requirements that meet the need of more compact, fuel efficient environments that are bursting with hundreds of electronic components.

Techaya is a prime developer, innovator and manufacturer of military rugged and tailor-made IP-based communications solutions. Techaya designs and manufacturers compact, COTS Ethernet networking equipment including rugged Ethernet switches purpose built for military ground mobile applications. Techaya’s MILTECH product line offers a series of Military Ethernet switches and routers for varying ground applications with a wide range of connectivity, size and weight options.

In the United State, WLANmall is the sole distributor for Techaya products. For more information on the Techaya product line, go to www.militaryethernet.