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HDT Global has unveiled a new UGV at AUSA in Washington DC, one of ten platforms that competed recently at the US Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) programme trials at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Named the Hunter Wheeled Offload Logistics Follower (WOLF) the vehicle is controlled by a handheld wireless pistol-grip remote with thumb controller. The platform runs on ‘tweels’, a tireless wheel with an inner hub connected to flexible polyurethane spokes used to support an outer rim, as an alternative to tracks or more traditional options.

HDT advanced programmes director Kent Massey said the simple control system was part of an overall philosophy for the platform which reflected user expectations and financial considerations.

‘This is a dumb platform, stupid and cheap but it has IOP compliant port which will allow more complex systems to be added as required,’ Massey said.

‘We considered the option of tethering the platform to a user via a cable but we rejected this as Army test and evaluation command will not accept tethered and vetoed the safety certification of such a system.

‘The tweel system gives the platform the advantage over pneumatic wheels of being more durable and provides an advantage of speed over tracked.’

Adding that system ruggedness ‘is key’, Massey said that the UGV during testing was driven into a 30cm diameter tree at 20km/h and was able to continue.

‘We promise 450kg [loads] but we know it will be loaded up to 600kg, soldiers always push the limits of equipment. At testing we were able to complete a 60% gradient with a full load of equipment.’

The company has been developing the platform under wraps over the past 18 months and has completed two production vehicles. The agriculture industry has also expressed an interest and has contributed ‘a seven-figure sum’ to the development cost, according to Massey.

The vehicle has a JP-8/electric hybrid power train which is designed to provide a silent drive and a silent watch capability.

Ongoing development has improved beyond initial expected specifications with a range of 200km up from 100km. 

The initial plan for the curb weight was 1,100kg but this had risen to 1,600kg, although the company is confident that this can be reduced to 1,400kg. The disparity in weight increase was because of a move from an aluminium construction to steel.

The vehicle has an endurance of 72h hours, a tow speed to 80km/h, a top speed of 32km/h and can ford water 60cm in depth. The vehicle has a length of 2.3m, a width of 1.4m and a height of 1.1m.

Aside from the logistics mission required with SMET, the platform has demonstration mission kits such as flail and mine roller, backhoe/loader, follow-me kit, stretcher mounts, and remote weapon stations for M240B, M134 and M2 weapons.