Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

DARPA Open-Sources Military Vehicle Design

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the bigger-fins-and-a-hood-scoop dept.

The Military 105

Velcroman1 writes "The army's secretive technology division has been collecting dozens of ideas for the design of its in-the-works rescue vehicle via a social-media contest — relying solely on the power of the crowd to get the next big thing built. Local Motors of Chandler, Ariz., is running the competition, officially known as the Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle (XC2V) Design Challenge, through March 10. It's not so different from when multiple users edit a page on Wikipedia, Local Motors CEO John Rogers said. 'Effectively, we want to co-create all aspects of a vehicle,' Rogers explained. 'The Wikipedia method of co-creation is really not far off from the way we talk about it.'"

cancel ×

105 comments

Yo, dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295360)

put some 20" chrome wheels on that thing, and spacers while you're at it. And it needs a wing. And some of those 10K headlight bulbs. Don't forget the subwoofer, and video in the dash. Air shocks are a must! Don't forget the fart pipe exhaust.

Re:Yo, dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295650)

Yo Dawg, I heard you like guns, so I put a gun on your gun...

So they should have called the program ... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295690)

... Pimp My Humvee.

Pimp My Humvee was a 2004 *reality* show ... (3, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295912)

... Pimp My Humvee.

Pimp My Humvee was a 2004'ish *reality* show in Iraq.

"And Rocco's Humvee is, today, equipped--with "Gypsy racks"--steel-plated cages around the gunner--and other add-on, improvised hardware, known as "hillbilly armor." "It's Mel Gibson 'Road Warrior' stuff," says Capt. John Pinter, the battalion's maintenance officer. "We're not shooting for pretty over here." This is the ugly reality that National Guard Spc. Thomas Wilson was apparently trying to convey to Donald Rumsfeld in Kuwait last week ... Wilson asked Rumsfeld: "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?""
http://www.newsweek.com/2004/12/19/hillbilly-armor.html [newsweek.com]

Re:Yo, dude... (1)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295732)

It could use a beefy arm, too, holding a knife. That would look pretty cool.

Re:Yo, dude... (1)

Billlagr (931034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296572)

And call it... the "Homer (TM)"! (Brought to you by Powell Motors)

THAT'S WHAT TO DO WHEN IT AIN'T WORTH SHIT !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295368)

Open sores it !!

MIC (5, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295394)

And yet somehow it will still get built by the same contractors the military already uses, have huge cost overruns, weigh too much, and be unable to fully fulfill the mission for which it was originally designed. The problem with our military-industrial complex isn't in the design stage. Historically we've had brilliant designers. The issues arise in the politics involved with defense acquisitions. Our procurement and testing system is notoriously corrupt. Preference is always given to the same big companies. If a new design/weapon/technology threatens some general's(or congressman's) pet project, it is dropped. Start looking outside the usually suspects for stuff like this, not designing. Make defense contracts actually be real bid contracts, and keep them adhered to the contract.

Re:MIC (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295952)

We should crowd source corruption!

Re:MIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296008)

And yet somehow it will still get built by the same contractors the military already uses, have huge cost overruns, weigh too much, and be unable to fully fulfill the mission for which it was originally designed. The problem with our military-industrial complex isn't in the design stage. Historically we've had brilliant designers. The issues arise in the politics involved with defense acquisitions. Our procurement and testing system is notoriously corrupt. Preference is always given to the same big companies. If a new design/weapon/technology threatens some general's(or congressman's) pet project, it is dropped. Start looking outside the usually suspects for stuff like this, not designing. Make defense contracts actually be real bid contracts, and keep them adhered to the contract.

Unsurprisingly, the parallels between the concept you've laid out and the analog in scholastic curriculum are immediate, obvious, and entirely too depressing to enumerate here.

Re:MIC (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296046)

And yet somehow it will still get built by the same contractors the military already uses, have huge cost overruns, weigh too much, and be unable to fully fulfill the mission for which it was originally designed.

If you're talking about a White House state dinner, you're probably right. If you're talking about the military, you have no idea what you're talking about, and you clearly haven't looked at the equipment which the US military currently owns.

Re:MIC (1, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296116)

If you're talking about the military, you have no idea what you're talking about, and you clearly haven't looked at the equipment which the US military currently owns.

Like standard issue M-4s using 5.56 ammunition, with an effective range of roughly 300 yards being used in Afghanistan, where average engagements take place at ranges of 400 yards and up(And the documented reluctance of DoD to go to much more capable calibers such as 6.5mm, and the massive amount iof time it took for SCARs and ACRs to even get into the hands of troops)? Or planning to use F-35s in close air support missions, when a small, inexpensive turboprop plane is both more efficient and much cheaper? MRAPs for Iraq that have virtually no other use than in Iraq-style conflicts? The whole Littoral Combat Ship fiasco, with the munitions packages not even close to being workable? The KC-X mess? Do I have to go on?

Re:MIC (1)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296172)

MRAPs will be useful for a long time- you think that this is the last time that IEDs will ever be used?!

Re:MIC (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296182)

If you're talking about the military, you have no idea what you're talking about, and you clearly haven't looked at the equipment which the US military currently owns.

Like standard issue M-4s using 5.56 ammunition, with an effective range of roughly 300 yards being used in Afghanistan, where average engagements take place at ranges of 400 yards and up(And the documented reluctance of DoD to go to much more capable calibers such as 6.5mm, and the massive amount iof time it took for SCARs and ACRs to even get into the hands of troops)? Or planning to use F-35s in close air support missions, when a small, inexpensive turboprop plane is both more efficient and much cheaper? MRAPs for Iraq that have virtually no other use than in Iraq-style conflicts? The whole Littoral Combat Ship fiasco, with the munitions packages not even close to being workable? The KC-X mess? Do I have to go on?

There are also successes, such as the M1 Abrams and the M25 rifle (just off the top of my head). It's disingenuous to claim that the military is unable to deliver any workable combat systems to the troops. It is accurate to say that they don't do so consistently.

Re:MIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35297376)

Really? You're going to mention the M25 as a "success"? You do realize the "success" in question derives originally from a WW2 weapon, right? The M25 is a match grade and improved M14, which is itself an update and partial rework of the M1 Garand.

Did you mean M24? That's a Remington. These are not, properly speaking, products of the current military. One is a revamp of a revamp of a WW2 rifle, and the other is a consumer rifle.

Re:MIC (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35306374)

"Success" as defined by delivering high-quality and effective combat systems. So yes, it's a success, regardless of origin. More specifically, it's a success that demonstrates that the military, at least in this specific case, chose "effective" over "new and shiny". What would you rather have them do, engineer a new design from scratch at enormous expense that was maybe equally effective?

Re:MIC (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35300694)

I'm not all too familiar with what you're referencing but I'm curious to read more about it. Can you point me to some links?

Re:MIC or why our bullets don't work in Afghan (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296200)

once again Nidi62 is correct. Seriously, don't try to tell ex-mil like us that the MIC works, when we worked within the system.

I've had colleagues I worked with and soldiers I trained bite it in Afghanistan and my son's uncle is there right now.

And it's clusterfvck city, if you know what I mean, only used to justify out of control weapons programs we can't afford and never could.

Re:MIC or why our bullets don't work in Afghan (1)

Frangible (881728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296704)

Yes, I'm sure giving the soldiers less air support, armor, and indirect fire assets is exactly what they need. Combined arms, lolwut? If only our Army had less funding, poorer support, less equipment and more infantry zerg... oh wait, we already have that. It's called the Marine Corps. *rimshot*

Re:MIC (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296262)

No, you don't have to go on. You should have never started in the first place. If you think the M-4 is a problem, you don't understand infantry tactics. You suggest that a new single-role fleet should be stood up instead of using a multi-role aircraft, then bitch about a single-role vehicle being procured for a specific theater. And then you whine about a bidding-process whose major problem was that the government wasted money because they wanted to appear fair and impartial. You flail around at random making inconsistent and ignorant complaints because your initial premise is the same as your conclusion, and you care more about proving that you're right than about the truth. Of all the things you've listed, maybe one is a legitimate complaint. Congrats: out of the thousands of projects that the military has been involved with over the years, you've found one that turned out badly.

*golf clap*

But no, you're right: the best equipped military force on the face of the planet is, in fact, full of crappy equipment. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Re:MIC (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296276)

You suggest that a new single-role fleet should be stood up instead of using a multi-role aircraft, then bitch about a single-role vehicle being procured for a specific theater.

The A-10 is one of the best aircraft ever made, and it was a single-purpose fleet. And small turboprop CAS vehicles can me used in any COIN operation. Many of these planes are even modular: they can carry weapons and they can carry observation and surveillance packages. And about a multi-role fleet: being able to do a lot of stuff ok means you can't do anything good.

Re:MIC (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296350)

The A-10 is one of the best aircraft ever made, and it was a single-purpose fleet

The waffle iron is one of the best appliances ever made.

See how silly that sounds?

And small turboprop CAS vehicles can me used in any COIN operation

And the MRAP can't? I guess it'll spontaneously-combust if it ever crosses a border.

And about a multi-role fleet: being able to do a lot of stuff ok means you can't do anything good.

Right. Which is why a rifleman should never carry grenades. And the guy running the fry-vat should stay the fuck away from the grille.

Don't get me wrong - I like the 6.5mm cartridges (and waffle irons), I love the A-10, and I think UAV's will probably take over the CAS role in the long term. But none of the things you're listing support your basic premise. If the US were to switch from 5.56 to 6.5 tomorrow, you might be happy, but a thousand other guys just like you would be bitching that it's a huge waste of money. If a new project were to be launched to look for a dedicated CAS aircraft, a thousand guys like you would be bitching because the military already has plenty of CAS assets. And I'm not so sure that you wouldn't be with them. You can't please everyone all the time, and you can't please some people ANY time. The fact remains that the US is THE best armed force in the world. That's not going to change just because some dude on slashdot thinks he knows which type of ammunition or aircraft is "The Best".

Re:MIC (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296394)

And the MRAP can't? I guess it'll spontaneously-combust if it ever crosses a border.

Yes, because COIN will always take place in an urban environment. MRAPs are virtually useless in a mountainous or heavily forested/jungle environment.

Re:MIC (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297934)

If the US were to switch from 5.56 to 6.5 tomorrow, you might be happy, but a thousand other guys just like you would be bitching that it's a huge waste of money

.

I was intending to stay out of this, but I take exception to this statement.(too broad of a brush stroke)
As an experienced combat vet, I can assure you that the vast majority, if not all of the troops will vote for the most effective weapon/ammo that they can carry routinely.

We don't care what the 'bean-counters', REMF's, 'arm chair general', etc. think....their asses aren't the ones being shot at.
When you're on the 'pointy end of the stick', you develop very specific viewpoints and ways of thinking. like, survival!
Ineffective weapons or ammo are not popular with the troops, as they reduce your likelihood of survival. Fsck that!

Parent:

And about a multi-role fleet: being able to do a lot of stuff ok means you can't do anything good

.

Your reply:

Right. Which is why a rifleman should never carry grenades. And the guy running the fry-vat should stay the fuck away from the grille.

A bit over the top to be on-topic, IMHO.
At it's most basic level, both the US Army and US Marines receive training as troops first(Basic Training), then move on to specialty training.

Even on operational levels(squads of 6-10 troops), the US military has insisted on diversity and redundancy.
For example, I'll use myself:
US Army, my primary job was a sniper. I was also qualified as expert in both 'Close Quarters Combat' and 'Demolitions'.
I never used the demotions skills on the job, but sniper and CQC skills were in use a lot.

Re:MIC (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298944)

As an experienced combat vet, I can assure you that the vast majority, if not all of the troops will vote for the most effective weapon/ammo that they can carry routinely.

You don't need to assure me of anything - I've been serving since the late 90's, and troops don't get to vote. Purchasing decisions are made based on all sorts of considerations, many of which the average soldier hasn't thought of or doesn't care about.

We don't care what the 'bean-counters', REMF's, 'arm chair general', etc. think

Right, and that's the problem. If it were up to the average grunt, the military would end up looking something like the Taliban - random bits of gear and clothing al thrown together and chosen by the owners preference. That model works ok for a guerrilla force; it doesn't work so well for a professional army.

A bit over the top to be on-topic, IMHO.

Your sarcasm detector must be on the fritz. I'm trained on every weapons system that our military has, plus some that your boys let us play with when we visited. I'm all for diversity in knowledge and capability; I was pointing out the silliness of his suggestion that doing many things "ok" means you won't do anything "well".

Re:MIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35306890)

Right, and that's the problem. If it were up to the average grunt, the military would end up looking something like the Taliban - random bits of gear and clothing al thrown together and chosen by the owners preference. That model works ok for a guerrilla force; it doesn't work so well for a professional army.

It works for guerilla's, it works for professional special forces. In fact, it seems to work for all types of effective units.

I's a pain you can't do it with larger equipment. Plenty of insurgents learned how to disable the 2 or 3 types of armor they were likely to encounter. Now imagine having to know the weak points of 30 types of armor, as an insurgent without formal training.

In essence, diversity is an asset. The pain it causes to your logistic chain is far smaller than the headaches it can create for your opponents, especially when you're willing to accept it.

Re:MIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35298006)

A friend of mine in the British army spent some time training with an American regiment. Apparently they were all given cards that said : Do Not Drink with the British, Do Not Gamble with the British, Do Not Fight with the British. YOU WILL LOSE!

I think effectivley that is the US Army pointing to the British army as the best Armed Force in the world.

To be honest though, if Britan and the US went to war with China, we would both be decimated by sheer numbers.

Re:MIC (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298214)

To be honest though, if Britan and the US went to war with China, we would both be decimated by sheer numbers.

Unlikely. Britain and the USA both have large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and in a conflict with that bad odds with conventional forces they'd have no choice but to use them. The most likely outcome of that would be that China would 'lose', the UK, some areas of Europe, and much of the US coast would become uninhabitable from fallout. I don't think there's any scenario in which either side in such a conflict would reasonably be able to claim that it won - at least, not until some decades later.

Re:MIC (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35299682)

Numbers count for nothing if you can't bring them to bear.

Re:MIC (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296504)

And about a multi-role fleet: being able to do a lot of stuff ok means you can't do anything good.

Of course it doesn't. That's the brilliance of open-source. It's about creating standard interfaces and specializing beyond them. It's about re-using what works, and evolving a design that is both flexible and specialized.

A tractor does a lot of stuff okay. It will drive you across town if necessary. But it does one thing very well: It drives in mud. And when you combine it with some other piece of equipment via a standard interface, it does several things very well, like plowing, or planting, or cutting, or harvesting, or fertilizing.

The same concept applies. You need a rescue vehicle? Okay, start with a vehicle that drives in a war zone. That means heavy-duty, 4wd, diesel. Then add to it via a standard interface. And you get something like the existing HMMV. So what's wrong with that? Why does it need to be re-designed? And why can't an improved design just replace the existing ambulance add-ons? That would be real open-source design. This just looks like drawing pictures of things that will never be built.

Re:MIC (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296630)

Well they broke that principle right out of the gate by locking up the location of the engine, drive, passenger and nature of the vehicle frame. So closed design, with openness seemingly only allowed for pretty body panels and the location of the cup holders.

Reality is for a flexible vehicle the driver and passengers should be as far forward as possible. The motor should be as low as possible, preferably horizontally opposed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_engine [wikipedia.org] , under the driver and passengers butt. with a flat tray extending out from there to the rear of the vehicle. This leaves lots of space for below tray storage beyond the motor.

That flat tray with maximum length, means you can slide on any module your require and then lock it in place. As for driver and passenger survivability, they need to make up the mind, light or heavy, armoured or un-armoured. Armoured tub, you don't need no frame, the armoured tub has everything bolted to it. Tubular frame, then light weight and lots of kevlar and wishful thinking.

Want to open up the design, them 'OPEN UP' the design. Oh yeah and, having driven an ambulance cross country in the military, if it don't have tracks, then you are just fooling yourself and torturing you patients.

Re:MIC (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296890)

And screw ground clearance in the process?

There are reasons why designs are the way they are. And why Monster Trucks look stupid driving down a highway, but awesome driving over a line of cars.

Single purpose vehicles are better at one thing than multipurpose ones are at many things. Multipurpose vehicles are more complex, by design and necessity.

This is the problem in any engineered system. Feature Creep kills more good projects than makes good projects great.

Re:MIC (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302296)

Feature Creep kills more good projects than makes good projects great.

There's the winner right there. Modularity in design is great and can help reduce costs, but ultimately you need to decide what requirements you need to meet. Start throwing in a bunch of contradictory requirements and you end up with tradeoffs in design which means the final product doesn't meet any of the requirements all that well.

Re:MIC (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298144)

Okay, so a horizontally-opposed engine mounted low down, easily demountable body, flat floor? Congratulations, you've just invented the Citroen 2CV van.

Re:MIC (1)

Frangible (881728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296722)

And that might hold up for a hummer, but pretty soon you start running into things that seriously compromise the design for other purposes, like the F-35's VSTOL capabilities which require heavy tradeoffs even for the branches that don't plan on using that capability.

And the "modular" design starts to fall apart for things like weapon systems designed to replace the M16, M4, and M249 all in one go... as it turns out, the heat characteristics and barrel swapping needs of a LMG result in the modular design having very poor endurance, making a more specialized design far more effective.

Vehicles and weapon systems aren't like making programming libraries.

Re:MIC (1)

Frangible (881728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296674)

Incorrect. Average combat distance since, and including, WWII has been 100m. The long-barreled hunting rifle high-caliber mentality has been proven wrong repeatedly, and it took us many years to realize designs such as the StG-44 were the future of firearms. The Germans, British, rest of NATO, and Eastern Bloc realized this all long before we did, but our stubborn insistence that infantry combat was *exactly* like big game hunting held back weapon design by decades. Further, 5.56mm has a further advantage of reliably spalling and fragmenting, which has superior terminal ballistics to larger calibers that were ironically argued to be more deadly, which was not the case at all. That said, direct gas impingement is a terrible idea. But no, a bigger caliber would likely not improve anything for anyone.

Re:MIC (2)

adamchou (993073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296826)

Like standard issue M-4s using 5.56 ammunition, with an effective range of roughly 300 yards being used in Afghanistan

You clearly don't know what you're talking about. First off, the Army standard issue weapon is the M16A2. Some Army units and most marine units carry the M4. On top of that, none of the military rifles are ranged in yards. They're all ranged in meters. In fact, the Marines are required to qualify in their rifle at targets up to 500m away. And for the biggest mistake of them all:
Describe the ranges for the M16/A2 Rifle.
Maximum Range - 3,600 meters
Max Effective Range for a Point Target - 550 meters
Max Effective Range for an Area Target - 800 meters
Describe the ranges for the M4 Rifle.
Maximum Range - 3,600 meters
Max Effective Range for a Point Target - 500 meters
Max Effective Range for an Area Target - 600 meters
References: http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics/m16a2/m16a2-study-guide.shtml [armystudyguide.com]
http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics/m4/m4-study-guide.shtml [armystudyguide.com]

Re:MIC (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302528)

Like standard issue M-4s using 5.56 ammunition, with an effective range of roughly 300 yards being used in Afghanistan, where average engagements take place at ranges of 400 yards and up(And the documented reluctance of DoD to go to much more capable calibers such as 6.5mm, and the massive amount iof time it took for SCARs and ACRs to even get into the hands of troops)?

1) Short of going to something like a .308/7.62 NATO rifle again, very little has an effective range of 300+ yards. The 300+ yard engagements are against fixed emplacements - RPKs and other LMGs which have little tenacity at such ranges, or 7.62x54R rifles of similar design. Not moving to a larger caliber in a theatre which is difficult to resupply to and where cover fire is important, it makes no sense to move to a cartridge that's heavier and therefore impossible to carry a lot of.
2) Very few people are able to hit a man-size target at 300 yards under the best of conditions, nevermind hitting their head, in bad weather, with approximate but unknown ranging, elevation, and windage to account for. This applies to even the better (not best) shooters in any military: the average grunt is not going to have much luck.
3) Squads have had marksmen since WWII - men with better 'long range, accurate weapons' who are more able to hit those longer targets. They're quite effective, but they need cover-fire to allow them the liberty to make their shots. Thus, those 5.56mm cartridges serve a vital role.
4) The common bullet weight for the M16 has gone from 55 grains to 75 grains in the past 10 years. These bullets are significantly more effective and have similar ballistics characteristics to the 6.5mm cartridged bullets (in terms of arc length and trajectory) - but have the added benefit of truly tumbling on impact.
5) The Afghanistan war is not against armored units, or even those with significant body armor - the areas in which a larger cartridge is generally needed.
6) The military is not restricted to just using M16s. There are a myriad of other weapons in deployment, usually used when the tool is appropriate for the task at hand. Shotguns, the venerable M16, new automatic, recoilless shotguns, the Barrett .50 and .416 cal rifles, and computer-equiped long-range RPGs like the XM-25 [foxnews.com] .
7) Compared to the modern M16 derived rifles, the SCAR and ACR are inferior in many ways. They have not undergone the marked R&D over the past 50? years that Stoner's rifle has. Not insignificantly, they aren't in the supply chain and would require significant expense to replace existing stocks with. (This is a cost-saving measure: the SCAR and ACR do not offer a significant enough improvement to justify moving to them.)
8) There are billions of rounds of 5.56 brass, powder, and bullets in the supply chain and at armories, with years of contracts to supply said rounds which need to be fulfilled. You can't just jump to another caliber "like that". (It took years and years for procurement of the M16 and ammo for it, initially. Fifteen years or so? Same for the M1 and later the M14, though with those the cartridges weren't changed at the same time. The 1903 Springfield was the result of over 30 years of frequent changes in arms and ammunition design - largely starting when Roosevelt saw the poor results from American arms in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. These drastic changes take a lot of time; rushing the matter is not so simple.)

The Navy and Air Force are other matters. :P Due to the scope of production, a lot of the shortcomings have to do with buying too few, not spending too much or designing things poorly. This has been an ongoing trend since the Carter administration. When you're talking about production numbers under a couple hundred for specialized, multi-million dollar items, the per-unit cost goes up with the fewer units you're going to make. Likewise, the ability to 'work out the kinks' goes up due to limited production: the venerable P-51, which had almost 20k units of over a dozen variants made, had problems, but over time they worked out the kinks to turn them into rightly reliable airplanes. (Anything getting shot at and shooting back is going to have 'performance problems' or 'workability issues'. People who depend on these devices to keep them alive want them to perform better, stronger, faster - period.)

MIC or why we pay out the nose for failure (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296180)

Nidi62 is correct. Just ask Canada how much it paid for Out Of The Box contracts for military helicopters that could work in snow - ended up costing ten times as much with all the mods they asked for, when most were practically useless from a Canadian military snow operation viewpoint.

It's not the chassis that costs, it's the unneeded chrome, like why we're still stuck on stupid in Afghanistan and Iraq when al-Qaeda left half a decade ago, but we need an excuse to justify budgets we in the US can't afford and the resulting massive budget deficits. ... but that's just the opinion of this ex-Sergeant ...

Re:MIC or why we pay out the nose for failure (1)

Frangible (881728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296804)

We're still in Afghanistan because the Taliban are still in Afghanistan. You know, those assholes from Pakistan? Regardless of what your opinion on the war is (hell, I think Iraq was a huge mistake) we still have an obligation to finish what we started. Not pull-out halfway through and create further instability and embolden more insurgency. (ie: Fallujah) Once you start a fight you have to commit to finishing it. If you want to just pull out, make the deaths of our soldiers meaningless, let our allies in the Afghan NP and Army get beheaded, and leave the country worse off than when we got there... well, "REMF" comes to mind.

Re:MIC or why we pay out the nose for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35297000)

Well im sorry that you think that way,

But i believe that we should never of gone there to begin with, ITS NOT OUR WAR it never was. I dont see why we cant just let them go and do their thing and wipe each other out. its there CUNTry not anyone elses.

The deaths of the soilders are already meaningless... simple as that.. WHAT HAS THE WORLD COME TO really?

All this Power and nothing to show for it, But a shit load of australians and americans dead. NO stuff the americans.. They got attacked YES but just because we have to be allied with them we get dragged in and its so pointless and stupid. Fight your own war OR maybe even "WHO CARES" that they did an attack first and hit the TOWERS, get over it, NOT like they attacked the PRESIDENT... just move on. this whole war is childish, ATleast WWI and WWII had valid reason to go to war,

This is just useless. Either way nothing is ever going to change what they do over there. NOTING IS GOING TO BE RESOLVED UNTIL THE DAY THE WORLD ENDS.. Pull out now and save millions of lives.

Re:MIC or why we pay out the nose for failure (0)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298110)

Wow.. You really lost all sense of credibility when you attempted to call names by capitalizing parts of words. If your that juvenile, I can't think of you actually knowing anything.

But i believe that we should never of gone there to begin with, ITS NOT OUR WAR it never was. I dont see why we cant just let them go and do their thing and wipe each other out. its there CUNTry not anyone elses.

It is our war, we started is. If you don't at least know that, you shouldn't be commenting.

The deaths of the soilders are already meaningless... simple as that.. WHAT HAS THE WORLD COME TO really?

If you think that, you obviously do not know what your talking about.

All this Power and nothing to show for it, But a shit load of australians and americans dead. NO stuff the americans.. They got attacked YES but just because we have to be allied with them we get dragged in and its so pointless and stupid. Fight your own war OR maybe even "WHO CARES" that they did an attack first and hit the TOWERS, get over it, NOT like they attacked the PRESIDENT... just move on. this whole war is childish, ATleast WWI and WWII had valid reason to go to war,

Yep, you are completely clueless. Neither war was about 9/11 directly. One was about the country not allowing the arrest and prosecution of the people behind 9/11 and giving them safe harbor. The other was about actions thought to have been taken and thought likely to be taken from a country that openly supported terrorism. That second country also have Chemical and Biological weapons at a point in time of their history and was to destroy all of them but failed to do so and acted in ways that gave the entire world powers reason to believe they might be making more.

Re:MIC or why we pay out the nose for failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303924)

I guess it's a troll to point out the obvious. Perhaps so, because it is obvious. But if the original poster can't see the obvious, it is at least helpful to them as it's not something they have observed.

Re:MIC or why we pay out the nose for failure (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298160)

We're still in Afghanistan because the Taliban are still in Afghanistan. You know, those assholes from Pakistan?

You mean the brave freedom fighters who chased the eeeeevil Russkies out of Afghanistan in the early 90s?

Re:MIC or why we pay out the nose for failure (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35300214)

We're still in Afghanistan because the Taliban are still in Afghanistan. You know, those assholes from Pakistan?

You mean the brave freedom fighters who chased the eeeeevil Russkies out of Afghanistan in the early 90s?

wrong decade - you meant the 80s

Re:MIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296760)

I dub your rescue vehicle design the 'Waaambulance'

Re:MIC (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297258)

A classic example of this is the M16 rifle. It's the very definition of 'design and deploy by committee'. There is ample information out there about it: it "shits where it eats" (gas ejection port feeds into the chamber - a design feature to reduce recoil which is also a flaw with inferior ammo and infrequent cleaning), has an undersized cartridge (the 'original' was the AR10, a .308), has weak magazine design, too tight of tolerances to accomodate excessive dirt, the buffer tube and buttstock are not strong like its predecessors - and so on. These matters were further complicated in its earlier years by "deployment by comittee" - with underpowered, inconsistent ammunition, resulting in the "it jams all the time" - and cheaping out on the weapon procurement (see: Mattel and rifles that melted).

I hear that the Stryker vehicle has suffered many of the similar bueaurocratic problems leading up to its deployment. It had to have every single little safety feature, every little electronic tool, and so on - until it was no longer suitable for its original role.

Honestly, most weapon system problems are due to the government changing the specifications - just like with any engineering project. Most of slashdot should be quite familiar with this.

Fortunately for our military, it (the AR15/M16) has (finally) become a fairly potent tool (in no small part due to large civilian ownership and therefore, continued R&D money to the companies that make them).

That said, some of your original statements are wrong:

Overly constrained design space (3, Insightful)

Bookwyrm (3535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295422)

I looked at the contest, and thought that the design constraints they are putting on the entries are pretty tight. If I recall/interpret things correctly, the vehicle must be designed to use the given frame, the given engine/drive system, and also, the driver position cannot be changed.

That puts a kind of serious limitation on just how creative you can get. If you could at least move the driver around, you could try for some interesting arrangements or variations, but if the driver has to be in the one standard spot, and the wheel position is already determined, and the frame... they are going to get an awful lot of designs which are just variations on a theme, I suspect.

Re:Overly constrained design space (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295580)

Obviously. Similar to corporate America. We place a million constraints on the goal for success to give ourselves a million reasons to say "You're wrong." Then, after collecting a million ideas which were refused with "You're wrong", we mine the submissions to keep the credit for our pre-selected golden boy favorite winner.

Office politics as usual.

Re:Overly constrained design space (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295602)

It's probably because there are some important factors which many would-be designers are never going to think of, unless they have some military experience. For example, not many people would consider putting a V hull on a vehicle, but do a little research on the effects of IED's on different vehicles and you'll see this is a critical requirement for current theaters.

Re:Overly constrained design space (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295608)

There are plenty of reasons to dictate certain thing, wheels location for stability and transportability (bridge widths, RORO lash points) and be recoverable [wikipedia.org] with current equipment., frames for strength, and driver position for consistency in convoys if nothing else. Engines as well, because somebody has to have training and spare parts and interchangeability is a good thing.

Right now is a pretty good time to be designing this sort of thing because we have a lot of guys with in-theater experience, and we JUST finished making what was a Jeep replacement into an armored vehicle at great expense in terms of money and lives. We've got guys in combat zones with widely differing terrain.

If we can guard against making the perfect vehicle for desert environments, (and thereby building an army perfectly suited to fighting the LAST war) we should be ok.

Mod Parent Up (1)

cavePrisoner (1184997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296002)

You can have the best vehicle in the world, but if it doesn't do certain things (ie work with existing vehicles) the design has to be thrown out anyway. This just lets designers know about this ahead of time.

Personally, I would let the medics design the thing. They know what works and what doesn't by now.

Re:Overly constrained design space (0)

vipeakbecky (2002668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297108)

roller mill [grinderpro.com] grinder mill [vipeakmill.com] grinding machine [vipeakgrinder.com] powder mill [vipeakmill.com] hammer crusher [vipeakgroup.com] vsi crusher [crushermobile.com] Trituradora [trituradoramin.com] Trituradora móviles [trituradoramin.com] crushing machine [vipeakgroup.com] ball grinding mill [crushingmill.com] stone crusher [crushingmill.com] sand making machine [vipeakgrinder.com] crusher [grinderpro.com]

Re:Overly constrained design space (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302762)

I'm not sure that this vehicle would be intended for in-theatre utility. Some of the design criteria seem to conflict with the rigidity and design of the frame - conflicts which would greatly limit the vehicle's capabilities:

* solid rear axle
* rear-wheel drive
* able to get itself un-stuck
* gas engine

Honestly, without looking at the frame design, it looks like what they want is (basically) an upgraded version of the Chevy Blazer/M1008 and similar variants made for the military (on account of there being no current production vehicles that are similar). Difference: the CUCV trucks had 4WD and significantly more stowage capability, as well as an (obviously, due to low gearing and a diesel motor vs. a 6.2 liter gas engine) slower top speed.

But, looking at the frame design, I think "high-speed interceptor vehicle for a squad". I think I had a couple GI Joe vehicles that had very similar designs, as a child. Not a bad idea, but: no 4WD? Maybe they're looking for another Willy's Jeep.

I'm not really sure, personally, what kind of utility a vehicle like this would have without 4WD. Add 4WD or a fully independent/independent front drive system and it gets a lot more interesting and capable.

Re:Overly constrained design space (2)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295810)

In every RFP that you see these days for vehicles it is stipulated that the vehicle must conform to federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) which places a massive constraint around the design in one line item. I find it hard to disagree because all of these vehicles do have to drive on regular roads and highways next to civilians without endangering them because it doesn't have marker/stop/turn lights configured properly or the driver is in some prone driving position which limits his peripheral view for changing lanes.

Pretty in pink? (1)

Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296082)

It seems more like a contest for the design school crowd, not hardcore engineers. I find the Google moon rover contest [slashdot.org] far more interesting from an engineering perspective.

Re:Overly constrained design space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296294)

If you could at least move the driver around, you could try for some interesting arrangements or variations

Hmm...Hey, I know! Let's put the driver in the back facing backwards. Then we'd really get somewhere.

Hoo Yah! (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295430)

Is that a beer keg strapped to the front bumper?

Re:Hoo Yah! (3)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297452)

Is that a beer keg strapped to the front bumper?

Uh, no sir, it's a tactical beverage dispenser. MK II

Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295510)

I figured it would look like this [wikia.com] .

Use evolution algorithms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295548)

Like http://www.boxcar2d.com/

You keep using that word... (2)

Lemming42 (931274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295670)

Open Source != Crowd Source

When I was 14 (1)

jeffrey.endres (1630883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295686)

I would have a million designs. Anyone else who used to draw cars with guns on them as a kid?

Re:When I was 14 (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295832)

I usually just grew guns and battle scenes. Yeah, a couple of my teachers were worried about me.

Re:When I was 14 (1)

jonbtn (530417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296234)

I'd be worried too if you were growing guns and battle scenes.

Re:When I was 14 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35297054)

Yer thats a bit odd i would say.

But seriously who didnt draw weapson and vehicles when they were a kid, i know i did and im a chick.

Comon!!

Looks cool! Until you die. (1)

bengoerz (581218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295712)

Nice to see the soldiers will look awesome driving around in some of these amazing designs. At least, until they are killed because the vehicle is totally impractical.

Here you go (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295806)

Here you go [sarna.net] . What do I win?

Re:Here you go (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296364)

Cargo capacity- NIL. Maintenance costs- HIGH. Fuel required- HIGH. Speed- Low. One RPG in the wrong place- 500 Million gone.

Re:Here you go (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296646)

Nothing. What we need is something like this [gawkerassets.com]

Re:Here you go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35297122)

HAHA if only, Sorry to say but that vehicle would only do wonders in a war against the undead.. we all seen resident evil yer ???

New slogan... (0)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295824)

DARPA. We Are Out of Ideas.

Re:New slogan... (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296724)

We're still using your taxes, why not take your ideas as well?

Re:New slogan... (1)

ThatOtherGuy435 (1773144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298750)

Given that the entire purpose of DARPA is to solicit off the wall ideas...

Defective by design (0)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295840)

What about a design in which you don't send the combatants in the field in the first place?

Re:Defective by design (1, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296068)

What about a design in which you don't send the combatants in the field in the first place?

That would be like /. without the comments. Boring, a waste of money and space, and even more pointless than usual.

Re:Defective by design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296562)

Why don't you join the army if is so exciting?

Re:Defective by design (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296376)

Drone army vehicles, it could work. At least until a cyberwar hands control of your battlebots to the enemy, or jamming brings down your comms.

Lowjack (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295926)

Put lowjack on the thing and set it to disable the vehicle if it's outside US sovereign soil. This feature alone could saves tens of thousands of lives and soldiers riding the vehicle would probably be the safest troops on the planet.

Camel (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296166)

I am surprised that no one else has posted one of the oldest truisms in history:

A camel is a horse designed by committee.

Re:Camel (1)

EdgeyEdgey (1172665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298070)

ctrl+f "camel"
Seconded

Re:Camel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35298990)

umm... I don't get it.

Re:Camel (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303106)

A committee generally comes up with diverse ideas that do not fit well together hence taking a sleek animal like a horse and creating an ungainly beast like a camel.

LMGTFY, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_by_committee [wikipedia.org]

Re:Camel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302824)

...except that a camel flawlessly fulfills its mission requirements.

louboutin shoes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296268)

Happy to see your blog as it is just what I’ve looking for and excited to read all the posts. I am looking forward to another great article from you.christian louboutin shoes [mvpchristian.com]

Re:louboutin shoes (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296340)

Thanks! I was looking for christian shoes!

specialization is the key (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296348)

It's very tempting to add features to a vehicle until your basic 1/2 ton jeep turns into a 5 ton apc. as the space shuttle has shown the jack of all trades vehicle design doesn't work very well. Just design it for a job, and have lots more trucks/cars/jeeps/aps's for the other jobs. Having a garage filled with army trucks might sound wrong but it's the cheapest and best way to maximize your effectiveness.

Re:specialization is the key (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296628)

Specialization is the dumbest possible idea. This is an ambulance. Best case, you need none. Worst case, you need one for every soldier. How many redundant, specialized vehicles do you want to take with you half way around the world?

But WHAT specialization? (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296734)

What is this vehicle supposed to do?

If it is for the Afghan war, then the US is using the wrong tactics. America keeps thinking in bases and convoys between them. They conquer a bit of ground, build some good will, then retreat to their bases, give the enemy time to do his work, then do it all over again.

The war needs feet on the ground, soldiers out in the field, every village a few soldiers so the enemy has now where to move to. That is risky for the individual soldier because he doesn't have a full base behind him and even riskier for the good will because there is NOTHING like meeting an American to get a deep seated hatred for them but it has been proven to work in the past.

Simply put, if you put a very small unit in each village and along important roads and crossings, you remove the capability for the enemy to move unseen and plants bombs. No bombs means you can have your convoys moving on your schedule, not that of the enemy and your soldiers can concentrate on fighting, not on when the truck they are in will blow up.

But it requires a total attitude change. No more bits of the USA imported into Afghanistan but soldiers mixing with the locals and living with the locals.

You don't need all that advanced gear for that. An ordinary jeep to make travel easy and to haul supplies and a small fortification. A constant air screen overhead so any attackers can be quickly responded to in force and voila, hearts and minds can be won without the enemy coming in every night to undo your work during the day.

It is the cop on the beat vs the high tech chopper that doesn't fly at night.

But you can't win a big defence contract with that, or make the bling at the pentagon at peace time.

Look at the docu Restrepo for a total failure in strategy and tactics. The soldiers comment on it themselves, they sit in their bases and the enemy has full freedom of movement everywhere else. No patrols don't help. You need to be out there ALL the time. Especially if your patrols are so easily spotted. The enemy can't subvert the locals if you are with the locals, you can then do it all every hour of the day by showing that you are... actually that seems to be the biggest problem. WATCH Restrepo again, through the eyes of a native. Winning you over yet?

No? Then that is the real problem and no fancy gadget will help.

Re:But WHAT specialization? (1)

Caraig (186934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297022)

Interesting observatons. They tie into the concept of fifth-generation warfare rather well, actually. Thanks for sharing them; I'll look for Restrepo!

Re:But WHAT specialization? (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297802)

I agree with the other child post, you make some interesting observations.
But do you think the US is capable of using such tactics, or are they so infatuated with their technological superiority that they just can't seem to take a risk?

Re:But WHAT specialization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35298080)

It's a nice kind of strategy and it actually worked for the Brits and the French more than once, but it falls flat on its face if you do not have great logistics and numbers on your side. Placing a squad in every village (apart from the fact that it requires a whole lot of squads) is ultimately just begging for the enemy to come wipe them out one at a time with overwhelming numbers or trickery or IEDs or just daggers at night or whatever.

There is no hope in hell for a small outside force to stabilize by force a country as large, logistically complex and violent as Afghanistan without either inside help or a huge number of people on the ground. Russian planners said 300 to 350 thousand men would be needed, they only got 120k (including loyal militias), the rest is history. Incidentally, 300 k was also the nominal force strength for the Soviet-built Afghan army and security forces. Nominal, as in "tens of thousands of Afghan recruits got through basic training then walked off the base with their AKs and were never seen again", a mistake that the US is enthusiastically repeating as we speak.

Re:But WHAT specialization? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298216)

even riskier for the good will because there is NOTHING like meeting an American to get a deep seated hatred for them

This is why the Black Watch have done so well in Afghanistan. Everyone loves Scottish people, we just naturally get on well with folk. As one of the guys in Helmand put it in an interview on the BBC "We can play football in the streets with your kids, or we can really spoil your day. The choice is yours."

Re:But WHAT specialization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35299780)

Everyone loves Scottish people, we just naturally get on well with folk.

I may be alone in this, but that is not the impression I have of Scots.
*shields face and crotch*

Re:But WHAT specialization? (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35300328)

even riskier for the good will because there is NOTHING like meeting an American to get a deep seated hatred for them

This is why the Black Watch have done so well in Afghanistan. Everyone loves Scottish people, we just naturally get on well with folk. As one of the guys in Helmand put it in an interview on the BBC "We can play football in the streets with your kids, or we can really spoil your day. The choice is yours."

Plus, the Scots have the ultimate weapon: they have bagpipes.

Re:But WHAT specialization? (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35300700)

The problem with this logic is that the balance of the non-minority population of the US military is of Scots-Irish extraction.

Re:But WHAT specialization? (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35300968)

there is NOTHING like meeting an American to get a deep seated hatred for them

WTH did this come from? I'm an American, so I suppose I can't speak with authority on the subject. However, if its true, it is the opposite of what I've observed happen with Americans meeting other nationalities. Are we Americans somehow special that we can accept other folks when we get to know them, while other nationalities cannot?

I pretty much have to call BS on this. One of the nice things about being an American, and Engineer, and a Soccer player, is that I've gotten a chance to get to know people from just about every country imaginable. There are cultural differences you have to look at of course, but people are pretty much just people, no matter where they come from. Some are jerks, most are great folks. Americans too.

Re:specialization is the key (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298262)

Jeeps are completely obsolete because they are tiny. APCs of about ten tons work very well, but we don't build modern ones.

weak point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35298506)

What if someone engineers a weak point onto them? Like they did the death star.

the minute i read (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35300978)

"complex, cyber-electro-mechanical military system" in the article, i nearly choked on my coffee laughing.

fact of the matter is, most nerds dont really care for your "wars." alot of us will just take this design, turn it into a hybrid biodeisel low-rider and add 802.11n, a keurig coffee machine, and a sweet sound system. of course the entire thing will probably end up running BSD or Linux, but since its open source then its your pick.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...