In support of the Australian Army’s Project Land 400 Phase 2 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV), Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions’ Switzerland-based Drive Technology business is supplying its modular Turret Drive Servo System (TDSS) and hand controller technologies to Rheinmetall Landsysteme.
While these technologies were designed at the Drive Technology facility in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Curtiss-Wright is incorporating Australian Industrial Content in its turret drive solution. For example, all of the controllers and gyroscopes used with the TDSS, and its subcomponents, such as power circuit boards and chassis kits, will be manufactured and produced in Australia.
The success of this approach depends on the successful transfer of relevant technology and knowledge to local supplier partners. It also requires that those local partners make use of their own technology and capabilities, and that a high level of bilateral cooperation is maintained between the parties during the project.
In addition, in order to establish an operational interlink between the Australian supply chain participants, including Rheinmetall Australia and Curtiss-Wright Drive Technology in Switzerland, a local Australian company will be selected and trained to provide program management.
Australian Supplier Partners
To achieve these goals, Curtiss-Wright is developing and sustaining a new partner-network in Australia that will both create new jobs and enable Curtiss-Wright and Rheinmetall to support Land 400 Phase 2 with Australian industrial content.
Current estimates show that the local partner-network will require and result in the creation of over 15 new highly skilled technical jobs. Curtiss-Wright has already undertaken an identification and evaluation process to select qualified local Australian Supplier Partners. Major milestones in the process have already been achieved. Initial planning visits to Australia, which began in 2018 and continued through the beginning of this year, were followed by the first delivery of TDSS sample PCB Boards and Chassis kits to Australia.
In the coming months, Curtiss-Wright will assess the parts received, and enter into a memo of understanding (MoU) with the selected suppliers, and contract negotiations will begin. After establishing the contractual baseline set, detailed knowledge transfer will commence. Curtiss-Wright’s TDSS experts will provide support and training directly to the new Australian Supplier Partners at their own sites. This on-site support phase is scheduled to run through Q4 2020.
The final assembly of the TDSS components will take place at Curtiss-Wright Drive Technology and at the local Australian supplier, while integration will take place at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) facility in Ipswich. The go-live plan for Series Production with the Australian Supplier Partners is scheduled for Q1 2021. (Projected schedules are subject to change due to potential impact of COVID-19 and related travel restrictions).
The establishment of local supplier partners to support programs such as Land 400 Project promises to deliver numerous ongoing benefits to Australian industry and Defence. For example, the use of Australian Industrial Content will ease and speed the repair process through the use of locally produced products. The use of locally produced products also helps to mitigate potential export restriction problems in the wake of political changes or regulation amendments.
Maintenance and life time support of products is also enhanced as local partner suppliers can provide faster responses, with support from Curtiss-Wright when needed. Training for operators is also made easier and more cost-efficient, since it will be facilitated by local Australian suppliers.
Examples of some of the many other benefits arising from the local supplier partner approach include reduced Turn-Around-Time for repairs, resulting in enhanced operational availability of vehicles, and cost savings from spares being provided by local suppliers, which also enables a reduction in stocked spares. Curtiss-Wright also plans to train and enable an Australian company to oversee maintenance and perform any required system overhauls, up to a specified level, of the TDSS in Australia. In addition, as part of Curtiss-Wright Drive Technology’s supply chain, local suppliers can derive new opportunities to drive export growth.
About Curtiss-Wright’s Turret Drive Servo System
Curtiss-Wright’s TDSS delivers target location accuracy and turret stabilisation, while providing system integrators with the freedom to define and deploy the solution they require. It enables system designers to upgrade and add stabilisation functionality as their mission requirements change.
The TDSS uses standard system configurations, which speeds system development and enables programs to reach demonstration and production phases more rapidly. The use of preconfigured TDSS system components also reduces the time and costs associated with the requirements definition process.
TDSS enables system integrators to select the aiming and stabilisation solution that their platform requires whilst streamlining enhancements and/or system modification for use on different platforms. This approach is more cost-effective and flexible than traditional bespoke aiming and stabilisation system alternatives.
TDSS is designed to make it easy for system integrators to configure only the system that they require now, and later add increasing levels of stabilisation as their mission evolves. TDSS system components can be easily adapted for use on different ground vehicle turrets to meet dynamic program requirements including performance and precision.