Digitally engineering a combat vehicle

Team to virtually build, test, analyze Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Speed is king on today’s battlefield.

But speed to it is just as vital. 

Raytheon Technologies is part of Team Lynx, an industry team led by American Rheinmetall Vehicles and working with the U.S. Army to digitally engineer the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, or OMFV. They are using digital technologies like artificial intelligence and model-based systems engineering to deliver benefits across the board.

“Digital engineering allows us to validate designs with soldiers before bending any metal. We can move faster to deliver innovative ideas and designs, and partner better with our customer,” said Brad Barnard, director of OMFV at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business.

The Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle is a next-generation, tracked, armored fighting vehicle.

Team Lynx is using digital technology to engineer the vehicle virtually and share information seamlessly among people, machines and sensors.

A key design benefit: it allows them to make immediate changes rather than wait to manufacture components, and it ensures tech is compatible with the vehicle.

In July 2021, the Army awarded American Rheinmetall Vehicles a development contract for Phase 2 (digital design) of the OMFV program. Rheinmetall is working with Raytheon Technologies, L3Harris Technologies, Textron Systems and Allison Transmission on the new infantry fighting vehicle.

Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the point of departure, or basis of their design, which will replace the Bradley fighting vehicle. Textron Systems is producing the chassis, and Allison Transmissions will build the transmission.

The industry team is engineering the vehicle to address threats on the current and future battlefields.

The new vehicle’s modular open architecture will also make it easy to upgrade and modify according to future needs. At fielding, it would give the Army an overwhelming advantage, a concept it calls “overmatch,” that could be maintained, said Mike Milner, a former Bradley scout leader and now the director of business development for American Rheinmetall Vehicles.

Soldier touchpoints

Getting soldier feedback early in the prototype research and development process is an innovative method for modernization and helps validate groundbreaking technologies like the OMFV.

“Designing soldier touchpoints in a virtual setting allows us to look at a prototype from multiple angles,” Milner said.

A digitally-engineered Lynx will connect multiple points of model data into one database or single source of truth.

“This will give the customer an accurate depiction of the vehicle,” Barnard said. “Building a design in a virtual environment ultimately gives the soldier what they need to succeed on the battlefield.”

Team Lynx will incorporate soldier feedback and try it in a virtual testbed, then, if it works, make that part of the physical design.

“We have successfully applied digital engineering to augment extensive soldier touchpoints on other programs,” Barnard said. “Using the same approach in a fighting vehicle not only helps us build efficiently, it gives our soldiers an advantage.”

A virtual crew member

The new OMFV will have a crew of two, with an AI-powered virtual third crew member and the ability to use infantry squad members, when mounted. Automating systems reduces cognitive load on the crew and offers effectiveness with fewer soldiers, freeing up space.

“When we build in a virtual environment, we increase the soldier’s ability to defeat battlefield threats,” Milner said.

What’s next

The concept design phase kicks off the OMFV program and continues through early 2023, laying the foundation for future development and production phases.

The Lynx will be made in the United States using advanced manufacturing capabilities. Phase 3 (detailed design) is expected to start in 2023, followed by Phase 4 (prototype build and test) and then government testing in early 2026.

The Army plans to field the OMFV in 2029.