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Unmanned Ground Vehicles, or UGVs, are quickly becoming a staple in global defense strategies, marking a new era of military technology. They are autonomous military robots designed to perform various tasks, from reconnaissance and surveillance to combat and logistics. They are used to reduce the risk to human life in dangerous and unpredictable environments.
Otokar, a Turkish military vehicle manufacturer that specializes in commercial and military vehicles, unveiled its “Alpar” UGV at IDEF 2023. It weighs 15 tonnes, 3 tonnes of which is the payload, which is considered a heavy UGV in Turkey, but a medium one in the US and Europe.
According to EDR Magazine, the Alpar is tank-like, 6.25 meters long, 2.75 meters wide and 1.5 meters high. It has a diesel engine, a cooling system, and two electric motors that are located at the rear, a layout that resembles a standard main battle tank powerpack since such a layout allows balancing the weight of the vehicle’s batteries.
The Alpar is currently fitted with steel tracks that can be replaced by rubber tracks, which would provide advantages in terms of reduced vibrations and noise. The silent tracks are crucial for when the Alpar moves in silent mode, in which the diesel extender is shut down and the vehicle is able to travel 50 km only on batteries.
It is teleoperated from up to a distance of 5 km using radiofrequency signals, and the range can be extended with the use of GSM communications. Although full autonomy is still far away, the Alpar is still capable of waypoint navigation, can conduct convoy missions, and return home.
The vehicle currently needs two operators, one for the chassis and one for the payload, but the company claims that with the increase in autonomy, manpower should be reduced, with one control station probably able to monitor more than one vehicle at the same time.
The vehicle is fitted with a forward ramp that allows a mini-UGV to be deployed and recovered, which would mostly be used for stealthy reconnaissance missions at close contact. Otokar expressed that they may integrate an energy harvesting system for UGV versions that need to remain static for long periods of time while using their payloads.
This information was provided by EDR Magazine.