misg_2002.jpg (6501 bytes)


misg_03.jpg (17206 bytes)

Identification of Future ADF Vehicles and Trailer Fleets for project Overlander

Defence Science and Technology Organisation Salisbury South Australia

Industry contact:

Dr. Joanne Nicholson    (joanne.nicholson@defence.gov.au)


Dr. Ruhul Sarker ADFA       (r.sarker@adfa.edu.au)

Dr. Hussein Abbass ADFA   (h.abbass@adfa.edu.au)

dsto_logo.bmp (186966 bytes)

Organisation Background:

The overall operational effectiveness of any modern Defence Force, be it engaged in full-scale conventional warfare or in peace support operations, is largely dependent on its degree of mobility.  In turn, mobility is mostly a function of the composition and structure of the transport fleet; be they ground vehicles, aircraft or marine-craft.  The mobility performance requested from this fleet depends on several factors, including most notably the:

a.        Mission profiles as dictated by the foreseeable strategic, tactical and environmental conditions;

b.       Logistic considerations, including the composition of the existing fleet and the available repair and maintenance structures;

c.       Required quantities; and

d.       Financial means, which usually is the single most important factor.

The ADF Ground Vehicle fleet is the principal means by which a land force commander can move equipment, materiel and personnel within a zone of operations, at the required time, to the required place, in the required quantities and condition, in order to support his mission. These vehicles will perform different roles, which in turn translate into different design priorities. The major division in role and type is between those vehicles of the fighting echelon and the support vehicles.  However, regardless of their role and type, all ground vehicles can be viewed simply as transport vehicles or load carriers.  (The fighting vehicle carries a load of weapons, ammunition and crew. The armoured version adds a protection system.) Unlike Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs), whose role is to transport firepower to a position of advantage with respect to an adversary, the Support Vehicle or B Vehicle fleet[1], must transport support payloads to a position from where they can be delivered or made available to the fighting echelon. In doing so, this fleet will transport personnel, munitions, replacement combat systems, fuel and critical supplies.  They will also provide the platforms and prime movers for command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (C4I) systems and when necessary evacuate casualties. 

Within the ADF, B Vehicles are again further categorised[2] as either:

a.        Combat Vehicles.  Specialised military vehicles with multi-wheel drives, requiring components not normally used in commercial vehicles, and required to give the best possible load-carrying performance in the most difficult conditions with or without the appropriate guns or trailers, up to and immediately behind the FEBA (Forward Edge of the Battle Area).

b.       General Service Vehicles.  All other multi-wheel drive vehicles which are developed or adapted from normal commercial vehicles in order to meet military performance requirements. GS vehicles combine road mobility with cross-country mobility, including the ability to cross water obstacles with minimum preparation and assistance. Certain GS vehicles are designed for air-portability in appropriate aircraft. GS vehicles normally have inherent durability and are designed to have a longer Life of Type than an off-the-shelf Commercial Line (CL) vehicle and therefore are more expensive to procure and operate.  

c.       Commercial Vehicles. Vehicles designed to meet civilian requirements and used, without major modification, for routine purposes in connection with the transportation of supplies, personnel or equipment and can be supported normally by the local commercial infrastructure. There are currently two sub-categories of commercial vehicles: those that are provided for non-operational land transport and those that are provided in lieu of GS vehicles. Vehicles commercially constructed to perform specialist functions (ie fire trucks, aircraft tow motors etc) are not considered commercial vehicles.

The capability being addressed by LAND 121 is primarily concerned with those B Vehicles required for operational and administrative tasks within an area of operations ie, the Field Vehicle and Trailer (FVT) fleet. As such, it seeks to provide the ADF with a ground transportation[3] capability to meet operational and administrative tasks in areas of operation that is either not available from or appropriate for the civilian infrastructure.

LAND 121 is being progressed via a number of phases as follows (see also figure 1):

a.                  Phase 1, the Project Definition Study (PDS), seeks to develop a comprehensive plan for later phases of this project.  The PDS is being reviewed to reflect current strategic guidance.

b.                 Phase 2A, which was approved in the FY99/00 Budget, is enhancing current capabilities for heavy recovery and bulk liquid transport and address Mack cabin noise and personnel/cargo restraint and segregation systems.

c.                 Phase 2B, which was approved as part of the East Timor Cabinet Submission, is addressing capability deficiencies identified for East Timor operations.

d.                 Phase 2C, (YOD 2003/04, ISD 2007) which seeks to modernise selected elements of the current fleet, with the view to extending the respective service life of those elements to at least 2015.

e.                 Phase 3, (YOD 2007/08, ISD 2012) which seeks to provide those vehicles that will be required by the ADF of 2012-2025.  Full details of this phase are yet to be finalised.


Figure 1


As an overall philosophy, LAND 121 does not seek to introduce a new capability as such, but rather seeks to modernise the current capability through one or all of the following elements:

a.                  injecting new technologies through service life extensions and technical insertions to modernise existing platforms, systems and supporting infrastructure,

b.                 introducing new systems and concepts that substantially upgrade the Defence capability, and/or

c.                 replacing, on a limited basis, older systems on an in-kind basis without seeking to substantially improve or upgrade a given capability.

However much discussion surrounds which of the above strategies, or what combination of these strategies Phase 2C of Project Overlander should adopt. In order to get a better understanding a mathematical approach is being developed to determine what Phase 3 may be required to do. This is discussed in the following section.

Development of a Mathematical Model to Determine Optimal Solutions for Phase 3.

It is suggested that the approach involve a multi scenario optimisation problem concerned with the allocation of optimal assets to specific tasks through a mathematical model, being either a linear or integer program or a Genetic Algorithm. The proposed general schema for the approach is depicted in figure 2 below. While a combat model is used in the figure, what essentially is required is some means of evaluation. As B vehicles are concerned primarily with load carrying and logistic supply, a combat model may not be most appropriate. DSTO, and LOD in particular have a Theatre Distribution Model which may be more useful. (A briefing of this model to the MISG should be possible). The main components of this schema are discussed next.


Figure 2: Schema for Multi-Scenario Optimisation Problem





Task Scenario Space

Within this schema, the scenario is described within a task scenario space or matrix where a number of relevant variables and their range is listed. An example is shown in figure 3. As can be seen from figure 3, these variables are easily identifiable in terms of what the vehicles may be requested to do in terms of load carrying. It should be noted that the range for each variable need not be linear, but increments should be meaningful in terms of the type of tasks that the vehicles will be required to undertake. Also discrimination needs to be made between what is a variable and what is a constraint.

Figure 3: Task Scenario Space



Constraints may be described as the number of competing tasks, the priority of the task whether it is described as high, medium, or low or perhaps in more appropriate terms of operationally urgent versus routine administrative tasks. Legislation may also be a constraint as what loads vehicles can carry on public highways and also what size vehicles can travel on the same highways needs to be taken into consideration. Terrain may also be considered a constraint and this is typically described in terms of open, closed and urban. The translation of these operational terms into mathematics may require some work.

Stopping Criteria

The definition of the stopping criteria is important to determining what solutions are produced by the algorithm. If the vector is defined as a particular fleet mix or option then the stopping criteria would be a measure of how many of the task scenarios a particular fleet combination meets? A further criteria of what this percentage should be may be imposed, however exclusion of fleet options may be re-examined if the percentage of the task scenarios they meet are considered to be the most likely set of tasks. Alternatively the algorithm may design or optimise a fleet mix to meet each specific task scenario. Again how optimal the fleet mix should be would need to be determined and further analysis of the solutions offered would be undertaken to determine what the enduring elements are for each fleet option and how sensitive these are to the scenario.

SMART Analysis

The main output from this mathematical model would be a range of fleet mixes or options with an appropriate measure of effectiveness (MOE) most likely articulated in terms of fitness for purpose. This MOE would be one of the attributes within a Simple Multi Attribute Rating Technique (SMART) analysis that would help to determine which of the fleet options is the most viable. An example of the different types of attributes and how the SMART analysis may be undertaken is shown in figure 4 below.

Figure 4: Example Attributes for SMART Analysis


It should be noted that the attributes would be prioritised using an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). Once values are input into the table subsequent frontier analysis and sensitivity analysis would be undertaken.

[1] B Vehicles are non-fighting vehicles of all types, which are not designed to carry offensive armaments.  ADFP101 - Glossary.

[2] ADFP 101 - Glossary

[3] Transportation = conveying (person, goods, troops, baggage, etc.) from one place to another.  Oxford Dictionary.