First Prototypes of TITUS Vehicles for the Czech Army are Being Developed in Kopřivnice

 14. 01. 2021      category: Army of the Czech Republic
Přidat na Seznam.cz

The work in Tatra Defence Vehicle (TDV) on special command-staff and liaison versions of Pandur II CZ vehicles for the Czech Army culminated last year. The last piece was handed over in the first decade of December 2020. For the coming years, one of the pillars of TDV’s capacities is another order of the Czech Armed Forces – development and production of new TITUS vehicles (Tactical Infantry Transport & Utility System).

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Picture: For the coming years, one of the pillars of TDV’s capacities is another order of the Czech Armed Forces – development and production of new TITUS vehicles (Tactical Infantry Transport & Utility System) | archive of Tatra Defence Vehicle / CC BY-NC-SA

The army has ordered a total of 62 pieces in three versions, the whole project is worth approximately 6 billion crowns, and the deliveries of serial vehicles are planned for 2022 and 2023. The ACR units will thus have 6 pieces of KOVVŠ (Wheeled Armoured Command-Staff Vehicle) together with six staff workplaces with a capacity of 10 stations with computer terminals. Furthermore, 36 pieces of KOVS vehicles (Wheeled Armoured Liaison Vehicle) and 20 pieces of MKPP design (Fire Support Coordination Centre).

In these special versions, TITUS will replace the obsolete platforms and systems needed for command and control of the ACR ground brigades, which are in the vast majority also installed on ballistically and anti-mine unprotected vehicles. The constructions of wheeled armoured command-staff and liaison vehicles and staff workplaces are designed for communication and information support and interoperability of the command and control system at the brigade, regimental and battalion level. The Fire Support Coordination Centres will then serve to provide communication and information support to the artillery units. All versions are designed so that they can be deployed in coalition operations with regard to mobility and modularity.

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Picture: TITUS uses the Tatra T 815-7 6x6 chassis as the supporting platform with a central supporting tube and independently suspended swinging half-axles with air suspension and an auxiliary subframe. | archive of Tatra Defence Vehicle / CC BY-NC-SA

TITUS uses the Tatra T 815-7 6x6 chassis as the supporting platform with a central supporting tube and independently suspended swinging half-axles with air suspension and an auxiliary subframe. The drive is powered by an in-line liquid-cooled Cummins six-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of 10,824 cm3, an output of 373 kW and a torque of 2102 Nm, followed by a fully automatic six-speed transmission and a two-speed auxiliary transmission. The steering of the first and last axle contributes to excellent maneuverability, the passability through even the most difficult terrain is given by the same wheelbase between the individual axles and the fully automatic tire inflation system of size 16.00 R20.

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Picture: TITUS belongs to the category of MRAV (Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle) vehicles, which are characterized by strong armour and a high degree of crew protection, but at the same time, despite their weight, they have very good mobility and passability through difficult terrain. | archive of Tatra Defence Vehicle / CC BY-NC-SA

TITUS belongs to the category of MRAV (Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle) vehicles, which are characterized by strong armour and a high degree of crew protection, but at the same time, despite their weight, they have very good mobility and passability through difficult terrain. With its driving characteristics and controls, the TITUS is close to a heavy truck. In comparison with the armoured personnel carriers, it provides better ergonomics, more interior space for the driver and crew, as well as a view from the cab.

The basic solution of the armoured body of the TITUS vehicle, which is directly mounted to the chassis subframe, was developed by the French state arms factory Nexter Systems and the APC version is offered on foreign markets. The vehicle body of variants intended for the ACR has a ballistic resistance of level 3 and anti-mine 3a according to STANAG and was modified quite fundamentally by the designers of TDV and Nexter Systems.

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Picture: The basic solution of the armoured body of the TITUS vehicle, which is directly mounted to the chassis subframe, was developed by the French state arms factory Nexter Systems and the APC version is offered on foreign markets. | archive of Tatra Defence Vehicle / CC BY-NC-SA

This is mainly due to the installation of the necessary technologies and the improvement of the ergonomics of the operators’ seats in the rear of the vehicle. The body is also adapted for the installation of hydraulic stabilization supports, which are necessary for the wheeled armoured command-staff and liaison vehicle variants for the trouble-free operation of the integrated antenna mast. An important factor in the design of the body was its unification for all three versions.

To verify the parameters of crew protection required by the contract during the autumn of 2020, TDV completed the so-called explosion vehicle, which subsequently underwent the prescribed explosion and ballistic tests in an accredited testing laboratory of the Military Research Institute. The evaluation and certification process is currently underway and has not yet been completed, however no significant problems were identified during the tests.

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Picture: The body is also adapted for the installation of hydraulic stabilization supports, which are necessary for the wheeled armoured command-staff and liaison vehicle variants for the trouble-free operation of the integrated antenna mast. | archive of Tatra Defence Vehicle / CC BY-NC-SA 

In addition to the above-mentioned explosive vehicle, TDV has created another copy of TITUS, which is referred to as a functional sample. This is de facto a prototype on which all cooperating companies – especially TDV as an integrator, Tatra Trucks, Retia and others – test the individual installations and design solutions in the first phase. The functional sample is also subject to tests of newly developed elements, especially the automatic levelling system, auxiliary power unit and others. Last but not least, the vehicle is used to perform driving tests, primarily at the polygon in Kopřivnice, where the mechanical resistance and service life of individual structural groups are tested on special roads. The functional sample is also used to prepare detailed accompanying and service documentation.

According to the findings from both the explosion test and the work and tests on the functional sample, the designers from TDV and Retia are currently preparing the final design documentation for the construction of a total of six prototypes (1 piece command-staff vehicle, 1 piece liaison vehicle, 4 pieces fire support coordination centre), supplemented by one staff workplace. All of them will be completed in the second half of 2021 and will subsequently undergo all the necessary tests – from company, through inspection, military to approval tests.

At present, the first chassis for prototypes are already on the Tatra Trucks production lines, from where they will travel to France to be assembled with the armoured bodies at Nexter Systems.  Then they will return to the Czech Republic and TDV and Retia will install special equipment and electronics. The production of the other four already serial TITUSes will be carried out the same way. In the next phase of production, armoured car bodies made in France will be integrated to the chassis directly in TDV, while the last twenty pieces of bodies in TDV will be welded and painted.

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Picture: According to the findings from both the explosion test and the work and tests on the functional sample, the designers from TDV and Retia are currently preparing the final design documentation for the construction of a total of six prototypes (1 piece command-staff vehicle, 1 piece liaison vehicle, 4 pieces fire support coordination centre), supplemented by one staff workplace. | archive of Tatra Defence Vehicle / CC BY-NC-SA 

The situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic also affected the TITUS project timetable, especially on the French side. Due to the measures taken by the French government during the spring wave of the pandemic, Nexter Systems had to severely reduce its activities. Thanks to effective internal measures, TDV and other cooperating companies were not affected by the spring wave that much, thus they are trying to eliminate the overall delay by increased development efforts on a functional sample of the vehicle, which is working non-stop and is being passed from one company to another.

In parallel with the tests of the functional sample, the tests and development of the vehicle’s subsystems are carried out. The auxiliary power unit, newly developed in cooperation with TDV and the German specialist Fischer Panda, passed the tests successfully. An air conditioning system is also in the testing phase, which must meet the demanding requirements given not only by the external environment, but also by the energy emitted by the electronic installation inside the vehicle. For the new TITUS vehicles, a new ballistic protection of the tank combining steel and composites was developed in cooperation with Military Research Institute, the original version of TITUS does not offer any increased protection of the tank.

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Picture: For the new TITUS vehicles, a new ballistic protection of the tank combining steel and composites was developed in cooperation with Military Research Institute, the original version of TITUS does not offer any increased protection of the tank. | archive of Tatra Defence Vehicle / CC BY-NC-SA 

Retia from Pardubice – apart from the primary development and integration of complex electronic installations of all variants – is now developing and testing a new diagnostic system for the vehicles, with the necessary data and information (including images from all four cameras) displayed on the driver’s terminal. URC Systems is completing the development and testing of a new generation of liquid-cooled jammers. From the turn of 2020 and 2021, the project of TITUS vehicles for the Czech Armed Forces will gradually shift from the development phase to the trial and test phase.

 Author: Redakce CZD