Crusader XM2002 Resupply Module (Tracked)
Crusader can be resupplied by the next-generation XM2002 ammunition resupply vehicle (RSV). The RSV allows its crew to automatically transfer, under armor, up to 48 rounds of ammunition and fuel to the howitzer or resupply module (RSM) in just 10.4 minutes. The system can be uploaded in 65 minutes or less at a logistics resupply point.
Like the howitzer, the RSV is a 40-ton self-propelled vehicle comprised of the primary mission compartments -- a digital three-man cockpit, a rollout powerpack and a weapons compartment. This fully automated, highly maneuverable vehicle makes reloading and refueling exponentially faster and more survivable than today's battlefield procedures and allows the howitzer to maintain a relentless, high rate of fire.
The RSV carries 100 rounds (enough to resupply two howitzers) and, like the howitzer, moves at cross-country speeds of 39 kilometers per hour, highway speeds of 69 kilometers per hour and dash speeds of 750 meters in 90 seconds. The vehicle's fully automated ammunition handling system pulls soldiers out of harm's way and allows them to rearm and refuel howitzers and other resupply vehicles without ever leaving the heavily armored and NBC-protected crew cockpit.
Located at the rear of the SPH turret bustle is a resupply port which provides for the fully automated transfer of fuzed projectiles, propellant, fuel and electronic data between the SPH and the RSV. After entering the port, the projectiles move by conveyor to the autoloader, which transfers the projectile to the shuttle for insertion and storage in the projectile magazines. Although all projectiles can be transferred and loaded prior to the propelling charges, the preferred method is to alternate propellant and projectiles. Located just inside the resupply port is the propellant shuttle which grips the charges as they enter the port and inserts them into the propellant magazine cells. Along with the projectiles and charges, electronic data identifying projectile/fuze combinations and propellant type are furnished to the SPH computer which records the respective magazine locations for future retrieval.
The system is capable of being completely resupplied (60 fuzed projectiles and 270 charges) in under 12 minutes, including the time needed to dock/undock with the RSV. During the rearm process with the RSV, fuel is transferred at the rate of 29.5 gallons/minute (65 liters/minute) through the resupply port. In the event that an RSV is unavailable to perform an automated resupply, the capability to manually resupply exists. Projectiles and propellant are resupplied through the same port, while a fuel inlet is provided on the chassis.
This is the first U.S. field artillery system to incorporate an automated ammunition and fuel loading and transfer system. Developing this computer-driven, mechanical system and the RSV-SPH docking system will be a greater challenge than developing a traditional howitzer and resupply ammunition handling system.
The resupply vehicles upload ammunition, fuel and combat data at a logistic resupply point. Projectiles, propellants and fuzes are transferred over a conveyor. Once inside the vehicle, automated systems place the ammunition in magazines and initiate a digital inventory system. The entire resupply upload process arms the resupply vehicle with a payload of 100 rounds and propellant in approximately one hour. The upload is the only part of the resupply process that requires crew members to leave the armored, NBC-protected compartment.
The Crusader resupply vehicle (RSV) will completely rearm a howitzer -- with both crews fully under armor and NBC protection -- in 12 minutes or less. This rapid resupply process allows the howitzer to remain armed, fueled, and constantly engaged in battle. The versatile resupply module (RSM) has the ability to resupply both the howitzer and the RSV, increasing the efficiency of the resupply process. Unlike current artillery systems, Crusader never lets the enemy rest. This relentless firing capability is essential to maintain high optempos on future battlefields.
In the field, the crew remains inside the heavily armored, NBC-protected crew compartment during the entire resupply mission. Long before the vehicle reaches the battlefield, digital displays tell the crew exactly which weapons and how much fuel each howitzer needs.
Once either the RSV or RSM reaches a howitzer, the vehicles dock quickly and efficiently. The resupply boom, which offers six degrees of freedom, extends two meters and accommodates up to 10 degrees of misalignment between the two vehicles. Fused projectiles and propellant are alternately transferred to the howitzer and loaded into their respective magazines. That way, if the rearm operation is interrupted and the two vehicles are forced to separate, the howitzer has received the projectiles and propellant it needs to continue fighting.
While projectiles and propellant are loaded, data regarding the ammunition is also transferred through a digital link. This data transfer provides the howitzer crew with the information it needs to manage its ammunition supply. The digital link can also transfer any tactical information that the resupply vehicle may have received directly from the POC, such as operations orders or intelligence. This entire resupply process -- including ammunition, fuel, and data transfer -- is completed in 12 minutes or less. And the crew never leaves the armored protection of the vehicle. The RSM is capable of resupplying the both the howitzer and the RSV in the same manner, making it possible to transport and distribute ammunition and information in the quickest, most effective way possible.
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