IDEX 2017: Polaris outlines technology goals

Polaris Defense is eyeing a number of advanced technologies and the introduction of unmanned capabilities to its range of high-mobility platforms.

Jane’s has also learned that the company’s four-seat diesel MRZR-D4 vehicle will shortly start trials in the United Arab Emirates and is undergoing evaluation with the British Army.

Speaking at IDEX 2017 in Abu Dhabi, John Olson, the company’s vice-president and general manager, said that Polaris had identified key technologies that will be examined for the development of its vehicles, among which are advanced mission packages and hybrid engines.

Olson said that the mission packages under consideration include counter-improvised explosive device (IED) and counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) systems.

The development of a hybrid-electric engine capability was described by Olson as a “strategic technology”; other advances may include the introduction of drive-by-wire systems.

Work to enable the vehicles to operate as optionally unmanned platforms and leveraging the company’s know-how and technology to develop dedicated unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is under way, Olson said, adding that Polaris is partnering with specialists from industry and academia for these efforts – among the latter are staff at Carnegie Mellon University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Olson said that the US Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET) UGV requirement is a potential opportunity for the company.

Doug Malikowski, the company’s director of international business development, said that work is also ongoing to look at enhancements to its existing platforms, including uprating the suspension to provide an extra 150 kg of payload capacity on the Deployable Advanced Ground Off-Road (DAGOR) vehicle.

Referring to the upcoming trials of the MRZR-D4 in the UAE, Malikowski said that the vehicle is especially suited to operating in high temperatures, as the diesel configuration enabled a more effective cooling unit to be used over the gasoline-fuelled variant.

A further advantage is the increased torque brought by the diesel unit, Malikowski noted, adding that many operators now want the option to tow trailers.