Ricardo, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Ricardo plc, a multi-industry consultancy for engineering, technology, project innovation and strategy, has recently announced it has been selected by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to stage the FANG Challenge, a series of three competitions designed to produce the Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation Ground (FANG) vehicle. FANG will be a new heavy, amphibious infantry fighting vehicle with functional requirements intended to mirror the U.S. Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV).
“Ricardo is proud to be working with DARPA on this ambitious program, and it further builds on our portfolio of work with FANG and the United States military,” said Robert Ellis, director of military vehicle programs at Ricardo. “DARPA’s Adaptive Vehicle Make initiative has the potential to change the way that complex acquisition programs are performed, and it is exciting to be part of that effort.”
Exercising the capabilities that DARPA is developing under the Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) portfolio of programs, the FANG Challenge represents a radically novel approach to the development of a new infantry fighting vehicle. The FANG Challenge will use a crowd-sourcing model to produce revolutionary ideas through three prize-based design competitions, which require participants to design and develop progressively more complex vehicle subsystems, culminating in the design of a full infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). The winning crowd-sourced design will be eligible for consideration as the go-forward design for the ACV program.
“The FANG program employs Ricardo’s full breadth and depth of vehicle engineering capabilities,” said Paul Luskin, program director of the DARPA AVM portfolio at Ricardo. “The effort draws upon the company’s traditional strengths in vehicle design and testing, software development, advanced engineering tools and processes, and systems engineering. We also have the opportunity to delve into innovative areas like crowd source-based product development.”
Ricardo has selected a team of world-class organizations to support it in the development and execution of the FANG Challenge, including The Quell Group, Comet LLC, Georgia Institute of Technology’s Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL), Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS), and Southwest Research Institute.
This award represents the latest in a growing portfolio of initiatives in which Ricardo is supporting DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. Ricardo previously announced it had been awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to develop a database of component models characterizing the drivetrain and mobility subsystems of the FANG vehicle. The DARPA awards are part of a global portfolio of Ricardo defense programs, ranging from technology insertion efforts and subsystem upgrades, to clean-sheet vehicle developments like the TARDEC FED (Fuel Efficient Demonstrator) Alpha and the General Dynamics Foxhound LPPV (Light Protected Patrol Vehicle).
The FANG Challenge is expected to begin in early 2013. Additional information on the FANG Challenge and how individuals can participate in the competitions, along with eligibility, will be announced by DARPA at a later date.