US-based armored vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh Defense and Swedish defense technology company Saab have entered into an agreement to integrate Saab’s Barracuda mobile camouflage system onto the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).
The two companies say the partnership is good news for armed forces who are looking to increase the level of signature management on the advanced tactical vehicles they purchase as a result of the rapidly changing geopolitical situation.
Saab’s Barracuda relies on advanced blends of pigments, coatings, and designed materials to reduce the chances of detection “by as much as 90 percent.” The company says the solutions can be tailored to counter sensors looking for ultraviolet, visual, near infrared, short-wave infrared, thermal infrared, and radar signatures.
“Working together, we can provide customers with an extraordinarily powerful range of solutions that optimize their ability to engage the enemy and their chances of battlefield success.” says Niklas Ålund, director strategy and business development at Saab’s business unit Barracuda.
In 2015, Oshkosh Defense won the contract to supply the US Army with an initial 17,000 JLTVs. The Army is now negotiating a follow-on contract to supply an additional 15,000 vehicles, with Oshkosh a leading contender. There is also expanding interest in Oshkosh JLTVs internationally, with commitments from seven NATO and allied forces including, Belgium, Lithuania, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Brazil, and Romania.
Niklas Ålund says advances in sensor technology in recent years mean that armed forces are increasingly exposed, and effective signature management has become essential for all platforms. “Wherever you go in the world, the battlefield is more transparent than ever been before. The number of sensors and the performance of sensors is growing exponentially. To maintain a strategic advantage, armed forces need to invest in signature management.”
While the initial focus of cooperation is around the Barracuda MCS and Oshkosh JLTV, the agreement also has scope for Saab to provide other products for integration into Oshkosh vehicles.
The modular approach to mission system integration by Oshkosh Defense is designed to assure customers that their preferred new or legacy systems will operate seamlessly on their Oshkosh vehicle.
Johan Stjernfeldt, head of marketing and sales at business unit Barracuda, says following the agreement, work has begun on two Barracuda MCS integrations for JLTVs. “We are working on integrating MCS systems for both woodland and urban environments.”