The budget for the U.S. Department of Defense is precipitously close to plunging headfirst down the impending 'fiscal cliff' that's making headlines these days, but thankfully the folks at DARPA, the Pentagon's R&D division, have already set aside at least a few million bucks to develop the next generation of tactical vehicles, and they're looking to reward a few lucky taxpayers with cash prizes for their savoir-faire. According to Program Manager Lt. Col Nathan Wiedenman, DARPA is "seeking to engage innovators outside of the traditional defense industry."The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is calling on innovators with expertise in designing and engineering drivetrain and mobility systems to collaboratively design elements of a new amphibious infantry vehicle, the Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG)...
Each of the three planned challenges will focus on increasingly complex vehicle subsytems and eventually on the design of a full, heavy amphibious infantry fighting vehicle that conforms to the requirements of the Marine Corps' Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV). In the course of the design challenges, participants will test DARPA's META design tools and its VehicleFORGE collaboration environment, with the ultimate goal of demonstrating that the development timetable for a complex defense system can be compressed by a factor of five...
Many current approaches to the development of heavy military vehicles have proven inadequate for the timely delivery of much-needed capabilities to the warfighter. FANG's primary goal is to fundamentally alter the way systems are designed by decoupling design and fabrication and using foundry-style manufacturing to compress the development process timeline.
The first challenge focuses on "Mobility & Drivetrain," will launch two weeks into 2013, with a tentative submission deadline of April 15, 2013. The winning design will be realized at the iFAB Foundry, with a $1m cash prize for the winning team.
DARPA is looking to launch the second challenge, for the "Chassis & Structure" of FANG, in late 2013; the final challenge, to develop a full vehicle is slated for 2014, with higher stakes. In addition to double prize money, "the winning team in the third and final challenge could have its vehicle tested by the Marine Corps alongside ACV prototypes in operational testing."
Learn more and register at VehicleForge.org.