- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

As the U.S. military added more armor to its vehicles, its enemies responded by creating better armor-piercing weapons. The Pentagon is continuing the one-upmanship with what seems to be an oxymoron: agile tanks.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) released Monday a YouTube concept video of its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GSV-T), an armored vehicle capable of withstanding grenade attacks and quickly ducking incoming munitions.

In the video, a terrorist with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and a traditional tank unsuccessfully attempt to destroy the vehicle, which uses its ability to rapidly change speed and direction to dodge fire. One scenario also shows the vehicle reconfiguring its armor to better shield crew members from an RPG blast.

“Vehicle agility involves the ability to autonomously avoid incoming threats, either by rapidly moving out of the way or reconfiguring the vehicle so incoming threats have a low probability of hitting and penetrating—all without injuring the occupants in the process,” the agency’s YouTube page states.

DARPA program manager Kevin Massey quelled the idea that traditional tanks will be disappear from the battlefield anytime soon.

“GXV-T’s goal is not just to improve or replace one particular vehicle—it’s about breaking the ‘more armor’ paradigm and revolutionizing protection for all armored fighting vehicles,” Mr. Massey said on the agency’s website. “Inspired by how X-plane programs have improved aircraft capabilities over the past 60 years, we plan to pursue groundbreaking fundamental research and development to help make future armored fighting vehicles significantly more mobile, effective, safe and affordable.”

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Initial contracts for the creation of GXV-T will be awarded about April, with the technology expected to be developed within 24 months.

Some of the tasks that companies will be required to complete include reducing vehicle size and weight by 50 percent, increasing vehicle speed by 100 percent, and reducing the onboard crew size by 50 percent.

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