Maximizing Military Vehicle Payload

Force Protection, Inc. (FPI) is a rapidly-growing South Carolina company that created a new species of military vehicle: the Buffalo. The Buffalo is a large and intimidating vehicle originally built on a Mack truck chassis. Its job is clearing out land mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). This pioneering design, with a V shaped monohull designed to deflect blast away from personnel inside, quickly became the favorite of U.S. Army combat engineer teams. FPI required a development partner to help drive the design of new MRAP (Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected) vehicles.

FPI selected Altair ProductDesign for this role as well as implementing Altair's own simulation suite, HyperWorks, into its design team. Altair ProductDesign was made responsible for the analysis of the many of the new vehicle’s components.

The engineering partnership between the two companies continued through the Cougar 4x4 MRAP program and into the more nimble Cheetah M-ATV (MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle). The lightweight requirements of the M-ATV program provided an opportunity for Altair ProductDesign to apply its expertise with the optimization technology of OptiStruct (part of the HyperWorks suite). Cheetah needed to deliver the highest possible payload while maintaining performance and protection. Use of structural optimization in the design of non-protection components achieved maximum function for minimum weight design goal.

FPI’s vehicles continue to be the gold standard for protection while optimization studies have successfully reduced the weight of some components by as much as 32%, and improving stress results.

There are now an estimated 5000 FPI MRAP vehicles in operation in Iraq and Afghanistan and although survivability figures of vehicles and personnel are classified, many battlefield testimonials show they are achieving the goal of its engineering design team: protecting the lives of the soldiers who trust FPI vehicles every day.