Changes Since the Previous Review

Massive changes in VTD’s manpower, research portfolio, and location have continued to occur since the 2009-2010 ARLTAB report was published. Perhaps most significant are a complete change in VTD leadership and completion of the new VTD building at Aberdeen.

The leadership change, coupled with the fact that a high percentage of VTD researchers have been hired only within the past 4 years, has caused a disruption in many research activities. In response to an ARLTAB recommendation to maintain a systems focus as it instituted changes in location, personnel, and research portfolio, VTD established the VARD. The VARD defined eight capability concepts vehicles that address Army objectives and critical capability needs (see Table 6.1). VTD began to align its research portfolio to address the technological requirements of the eight capability concept vehicles. However, the VARD appears to have lost focus on the eight capability concepts, and the capability concepts are not being utilized to guide the research portfolio. Good research is being conducted, but how this research fits into the VTD mission is not well understood. Therefore, VTD management should refocus attention on capability concepts as a systems methodology to align its research portfolio to meet critical Army needs and requirements.

Construction at Aberdeen Proving Ground of a 35,500 square foot building to house VTD personnel and corresponding research laboratories as required by the 2005 BRAC has been largely completed. Relocation of VTD personnel to the new VTD building is complete, and the development-checkout of

TABLE 6.1 VTD’s Mobility Capabilities Concepts Approach

Capability Concept Army Objective Critical Capability Needs

Persistent Staring Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance

Improved and persistent situational awareness for military operations

High-endurance VTOL

Autonomous operation


Cargo Unmanned Aerial Systems

Overcome sustainment shortfalls associated with current supply methods

High-speed VTOL

Autonomous operation

Automated cargo handling

Multirole/ISR Attack Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL)

6K/95 armed aerial escort with higher speed/longer range than current fleet

Variable-speed power/drive

Adaptable rotor performance

Long-Range Heavy Lift

Mounted vertical maneuver into austere environments

Large stable rotor

Large efficient propulsion

Lightweight durable structure

Advanced Ground Combat Vehicle with Unmanned Ground Vehicle Wingman

Improved survivability and mobility for armored vehicles

Reliable efficient propulsion

Armored robotic vehicle

Terrain Adaptable Tactical Wheeled Vehicle

Tactical transport with robust mobility in austere terrain

Reconfigurable suspension

Advanced high power diesel

Small Dexterous Robots

Soldier tasks performed at a safe stand-off distance

Higher levels of autonomy

Dexterous manipulation

Micro Autonomous Systems

Tactical situational awareness

Low-power mobility

Distributed autonomous operations

SOURCE: National Research Council. 2011. 2009-2010 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Page 71.

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