Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Automated Ammunition Handling and Transfer
The Army’s next generation 155 mm field artillery system, known as the Crusader, will consist of a self-propelled howitzer (SPH) and a resupply vehicle (RSV). The current reloading process requires personnel to leave the vehicles’ protective stations and perform a laborious, time-consuming procedure. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has extensive expertise in developing remotely-operated equipment for use in hazardous environments. Working with the Army’s requirements, ORNL has designed a system (Figure 3-6) for the Crusader which automates the fuzing, handling, and transfer of ammunition.
ORNL’s system features automated fuze insertion, weighing, and ammunition identification which reduces processing time and increases the input data accuracy to the system’s onboard computer. In addition, a six-degree-of-freedom robotic arm enables the two vehicles to dock so personnel can transfer ammunition from the RSV to the SPH without leaving either vehicles’ protective station. Once the RSV is within range, an automated docking system controls the autonomous docking between the robotic arm and the docking port by using machine-vision techniques. The time required, using the automated docking system compared to the manual docking procedure, was reduced by a factor of more than four.
ORNL’s automated system demonstrates the flexible automation technology needed in today’s changing manufacturing paradigm. With the success of ORNL’s $15 million developmental effort, the Army project has now been transitioned to the private sector for vehicle prototype development.
Figure 3-6. Concept Drawing
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.