Yesterday we painted a picture for you of ADEX, the defence exhibition held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 26 to 29 September. Despite its compactness, ADEX surprised more than one by the number of innovative ideas unveiled there. FOB was particularly taken by three of them.
Let’s begin with the Hunta all-terrain vehicle, developed by Belarusian company Overcomer. The Hunta looks just like one of those monster trucks, those vehicles with outsized tyres designed to crush their competitors and do stunts in US stadia. The strength of the Hunta does indeed lie in its gigantic tyres that allow it to get over almost any obstacle, from mud to sand via snow and water. These tyres, 61cm wide by 1.4m in diametre, allow the vehicle to float because they are under-pressurised: between 0.1 and 0.5 bars instead of the 2.5 bars for a normal tyre. The rotation of the tyres coupled to a small propellor at the back of the vehicle enable the Hunta to move through water at 8kph. Overcomer tells us that the vehicle can carry seven soldiers and up to a tonne of equipment.
Unshackling oneself from dependence on expensive and environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels has become the Holy Grail of military industrialists and laboratories. Renewable energies have now become widely integrated into all strata of military equipment to the point at which they can be used to provide enough energy for a small military base, as demonstrated by the vertical wind turbine exhibited in Baku by Russian company ATOM. The hyperboloid Darrieus type wind turbine harks back to the works of Russian engineer and architect Vladimir Shukhov in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its structure is essentially constituted by aluminium vanes 6m long, weighing less than 5kg each. The energy they create supplies a generator at the base of the turbine which also serves as a stabiliser. Once coupled, these wind turbines can produce up to 1Mw of electricity, or the equivalent of what would be needed to supply over 1,000 households.
And finally here is an object that harks back to our recent article on the future parachutes for the French special forces: a training simulator for parachute jumping proposed by Turkish company Havelsan. Imagine a sort of high-tech swing that reproduces the conditions of a parachute jump with the help of all sorts of gimmicks which would not put Hollywood to shame. This simulator actually basically consists of a system of pulleys and cords linked to a real parachute harness. It perfectly imitates the different stages of a jump: free fall, opening the chute, piloting phase and finally landing. Realism is introduced through the use of a virtual reality Oculus Rift helmet on which a virtual environment and a scenario are projected. This helmet, coupled to an intercom, allows the trainees to interact during a grouped jump. Virtual sensations are guaranteed.
Like other training simulators, this one can integrate an almost infinite number of scenarios and many parametres, such as weather, geography, altitude of the jump, speed and direction of the wind, that can be modified before or during the jump from the control room. Emre Bilge, marketing director for Havelsan’s simulation, technologies and training systems division, says five simulators of this type are already being used by Turkish special forces. Thanks to this simulator “a virtual training jump now costs only €5 or €6, instead of the €60 spent for a real jump,” Bilge told us.