Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022 - 14

Predicting mobility in
MILITARY
OPERATIONAL
SCENARIOS
U.S. Army leads a seven-year, multinational effort to develop new off-road
vehicle mobility analysis methodology.
by Dr. David Gorsich, Michael Letherwood, P.E., and Dr. Jean Dasch
O
n the battlefield, mobility is the key to survivability. It is crucial
for commanders to know which vehicle(s) to deploy on what
terrain(s). They need to have the ability to assess their own
and opposing forces' vehicle mobility in any area of operations,
which increases confidence in mission planning and reduces the
risk of mission failures due to compromised vehicles.
Unlike the commercial automotive industry, the military has unique
mobility challenges and must operate in unknown and unstructured
environments where roads may not exist. The U.S. Army requires the
ability to validate/predict numerous operational scenarios; being able
to predict mobility increases the survivability of soldiers and vehicles.
As intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance
capabilities are rapidly developing, assured mobility becomes even
more important.
Existing mobility prediction tools are extensively based on the NATO
Reference Mobility Model (NRMM), an empirically derived set of tools
based on a stand-alone model that can be accessed by NATO nations
to evaluate the mobility of tracked or wheeled military vehicles across
various terrains. It still is accepted as the international standard for mobility
modeling of ground combat and tactical vehicles traversing onand
off-road. It traditionally has been used to facilitate comparisons
between vehicle design candidates and to assess the mobility of existing
vehicles under specific scenarios. From an acquisition perspective,
the Army needs to know how mobile a vehicle system is from an operations
perspective and how well it can go from point A to point B.
NRMM was developed using decades-old data and technology. It is
broadly understood to be theoretically limited and difficult to adapt to
contemporary vehicle designs and to implement within modern vehicle
dynamic simulations. The following is a chronology of actions and events
describing exploration, development, testing and adoption of a new,
modern mobility analysis methodology by the international community.
End-to-end mobility solver
Recognizing the need for an updated modeling approach, the U.S.
Army's DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) has led efforts
to assemble the international community to consolidate various
independent and often duplicative efforts into a collection of tools
14 April 2022
that meet Next-Generation NATO Reference Mobility
Model (NG-NRMM) standards. Over the past seven
years, GVSC researchers and engineers have partnered
with a series of North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) Research Task Groups (RTG) - consisting of
as many as 70 members and up to 15 nations - to develop,
validate, standardize and maintain the resulting
NG-NRMM approach as a shared NATO resource.
NG-NRMM is a new methodology that brings a physics-based
approach to the mobility problem. It is defined
as any modeling and simulation (M&S) capability
that predicts land and amphibious vehicle mobility
through coordinated interoperation of Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) software, in conjunction with
multibody, physics-based, vehicle dynamics M&S software.
By leveraging the latest advances in multibody
physics, ever-expanding computing power and significant
advancements in remote sensing GIS systems, NGNRMM
holds the potential to significantly improve mobility
predictions, while supporting the latest ground
interaction geometries (fully active suspensions, walking
geometries, micro-sized platforms, etc.).
In the spring of 2014 during a NATO Applied Vehicle
Technology (AVT) meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark,
GVSC proposed an exploratory team (ET-148) to investigate
the development of an improved, efficient, simulation-based
NG-NRMM methodology to replace the aging
NRMM. It was envisioned that the new capability
would have enhanced capabilities in the following areas:
* Increased flexibility to support operations by assessing
the operational mobility of different deployed
platforms in different areas of operation and routes
* Increased functionality to assess operational issues,
e.g., being able to model multi-pass mobility
* Improved flexibility as a design and procurement
support tool through enhanced fidelity and the ability
to model current and emerging off-road mobility
technologies.
TRUCK & OFF-HIGHWAY ENGINEERING
U.S. ARMY

Truck & Off-Highway Engineering - April 2022

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