Defence IQ recently published their 5th Annual Global Armoured Vehicles Market Report 2016. The report finds that confidence is at a five-year high in the global armoured vehicle market due to rising defence budgets, new contract opportunities and big ticket government investments. After reviewing the report, here are my five essential take-aways with respect to the critical attributes for armoured vehicles over the next decade, particularly from a tactical vehicle intercom solution perspective.
1. Interoperable Communications are Essential
|Eighty-one percent of respondents clearly indicated that interoperable communications on armoured platforms was either critical or very important. From this finding we need to ensure that tactical vehicle intercom solutions being planned and/or deployed are truly capable and allow for seamless system upgrades.|
|Over the next 10 years, respondents indicated that having a moduler/interchangeable mission role is important to them. Obviously, when making purchasing decisions, choosing the best software controlled intercom will be a primary decision factor.|
3. Consideration for servicing, repair and maintenance
|The rising costs of maintenance and repair of ever-increasing system complexity is extremely important in making a decision on a C4I-capable platform intercom system. We need to find ways to reduce the need for complete system replacements, costly replacement parts, as well as consumables.|
4. Desire for reduced out of factory costs
|Today we see a clear trend toward Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS)-based tactical intercom systems. COTS-based military intercom systems provide great, if not superior, capabilities at a totally different cost point in comparison to traditional Military Off The Shelf (MOTS) type of systems. With the rapid advances and cost reduction of system components the COTS-based military intercom system type of designs will continue to drive both capabilities as well as efficiencies for the next decade to come and beyond.|
5. Product and System Reliability
An overwhelming percentage of respondents stated that reliability is of importance to them. Reliability as we know it is built up from many threads, not only from a design verification viewpoint but also from a core intercom system design, technology and capability viewpoint.
Starting from a system architecture design point, the reliability of a vehicle intercom solution can be greatly improved by choosing a reliable system topology without any main system component that will bring down the whole system if this single unit fails. Why not consider a platform intercom smart enough to perform system diagnostics and repair actions?
Intercom system technology choice is yet another important building-block of reliability. When a broadly used technology such as Ethernet, with a large number of strong component suppliers, is chosen we again add a level of reliability to the system, especially in comparison to some custom-made communication protocol and system designs.