March 13, 2023
In 2021, the European Union allocated almost €160 million to 26 different projects to support the defense capabilities, innovation, and competitiveness of the European defense industry. Funding was directed to all domains: land, sea, air, space and cyber. The industrial program of different projects is called the European Defence Industrial Development Program (EDIDP) 2020.
In the EDIDP’s project category Ground Combat Capabilities, the consortium European Future Highly Mobile Augmented Armored System (FAMOUS) received 9 M€ in funding to develop the next generation of armoured platforms and upgrade existing ones, including their ability to operate in extreme climates and geographical environments. The FAMOUS project aims to optimize synergies, standardisation, commonalities, innovative technologies, and interoperability capabilities in All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) and an upgrade to Main Battle Tank (MTB) capabilities.
The FAMOUS Industrial Consortium is led by the Finnish company Patria. Patria is an international provider of defense, security and aviation life cycle support services, pilot training and technology solutions. Patria manages the FAMOUS project between the European Commission, the FAMOUS consortium, and participating member states. The consortium includes 19 leading defense companies from nine different countries.
Patria is also responsible for coordinating the consortium’s work to fulfill the project plan and manage quality assurance with the Member States as well as report the progress of the project to the EU Commission. For Patria, to lead a defense sector consortium is a unique opportunity to develop capabilities and finding new technology solutions together with top-notch defense companies to fulfill participating countries’ requirements.
The FAMOUS project is combined into six different technology blocks with different purposes. Different companies are involved in accordance with their own areas of expertise and experience. Patria leads the work what gathers the technology block’s studies into vehicle architectures. These work pre-requisites are captured through associated stakeholder needs and expectations for operational and tactical use as well as applications of future modular vehicle systems. These needs will be converted into system requirements and state-of-the-art conceptual solutions. Based on the several concept iterations and evaluations, the best overall concept is selected to fulfill future modular vehicle requirements.
The selection of high-level vehicle architectures takes place in the mobility technology block. The main goal is to find commonalities between tracked and wheeled vehicles which could provide significant cost savings in product development and costs. This phase also focusses on new mobility and power technologies that would offer excellent mobility in off-road and on-road conditions in all climate conditions. The results will be an innovative combination of capabilities that will provide a new, unique level of performance for the ATV & LAV market.
The aim of the TenCate Advanced Armour Danmark A/S-led survivability technology block is to develop a protection system against a wide range of threats. The system will include both passive and active protection systems as well as improved camouflage. Improved operability will be achieved by using modular systems and combining different systems to adapt to threat envelope changes. The new developments will result in weight reduction and/or an increase of protection levels and improved interoperability. These results support fleet, vehicle, and crew survivability in different mission scenarios.
The Germany-based company Diehl Defence GmbH & Co KG leads the robotic and autonomous block, which focuses on defining and developing a vehicle-independent autonomy kit. This will consist of algorithms for unmanned driving, a sensor system and a drive-by-wire system. The development of unmanned capabilities will consider the demands for military scenarios, e.g., GNSS-denied operations, rough terrain, and a wide range of environmental conditions. Shared Situational Awareness, Self-Monitoring and a modern ergonomic HMI design will massively improve the manned unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capabilities.
A mission system developed in the Spanish company Indra Sistemas, Sociedad Anónima, a led C4I & interoperability technology block, plays a critical role in assuring the superiority of future armored vehicles in digitalized battlefields. The system will provide the ability to interoperate with other platforms and soldiers deployed on the ground. It enables vehicles to become part of a network that will increase mission effectiveness. The system will ensure the comprehensive integration of all the data gathered by the different sensor systems in the vehicle, putting every piece of information at the service of the mission.
The Weapon System technology block led by Belgium-based John Cockerill Defense S.A. studies Weapon System solutions that will respond to the user’s requirements. The studies are directed by three main principles: modularity, commonality and two main targeted vehicle applications, the ATV, and the LAV. The objective is to propose the two most relevant system architectures that will be based on a series of modules. The project also identifies advanced technologies that will enhance the performance of the weapon systems.
The Life Cycle Support (LCS) and In-Service Support (ISS) system technology block are being developed under the leadership of French company Nexter Systems SA. The goal of the project is to create systems that last longer and require less support as well as reduce maintenance costs. LCS focuses on Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) management systems, including the ways to collect and transmit the required data between the maintenance system and the vehicle. ISS activities define ILS’s new concepts to support armored vehicles in operation and also study new methods to ensure the effectiveness of the training.
This project has received funding from the European Defence Industrial Development Program (EDIDP) under Grant Agreement No EDIDP-GCC-2020-058- FAMOUS. This article reflects only the author's view and that the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
The next steps
The duration of the FAMOUS project, that progresses under the European Defence Industrial Development Program, is 24 months. The project has officially been extended as the European Commission approved the FAMOUS2 consortium’s proposal and the FAMOUS2 project has been started in December 2022 and end in 2026 November. The EU commission funding for the FAMOUS2 project is nearly €95 million and the total estimated costs are €122.5 million. The second phase of the project will continue the FAMOUS work including design, prototyping and testing of the vehicles. Nine countries and 18 companies are participating in the consortium which is implementing the FAMOUS2 project. Finland continues to act as the member state’s lead state and Patria as its industrial coordinator.
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“This project has received funding from the European Defence Industrial Development Program (EDIDP) under Grant Agreement No EDIDP-GCC-2020-058- FAMOUS. This article reflects only the author's view and that the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.”