Ground Warfare

KNDS and ARQUUS Developing Digital Twin of VBCI 8×8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle

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KNDS and ARQUUS Developing Digital Twin of VBCI 8×8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle

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French Army VBCI 8x8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle
French Army VBCI 8x8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The defense technology project “Digitization of maintenance” (NumCo) aims to develop and experiment with a digital twin demonstrator of the VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie, Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle) infantry fighting vehicle. It will be the very first digital twin in the field of ground combat systems. Thanks to advanced modeling and simulation capabilities, the technology developed by KNDS and ARQUUS will enable the industry, the French Directorate General of Armament (DGA; Directorate General of Armament générale de l’armement), and the French Army to jointly implement a virtual twin of the VBCI vehicle to support engineering and maintenance activities.

VBCI 8x8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle
VBCI 8×8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by French Ministry of the Armed Forces)

The NumCo digital twin builds on the experience gained over several years by the KNDS-ARQUUS consortium, particularly within the framework of the European Commission’s FAMOUS defence industrial development programme. These innovative technological developments are at the heart of the digital architectures of future combat vehicles. The NumCo digital twin demonstrator will be developed through an incremental and agile approach over two years and then improved over two years with the training data from 20 instrumented VBCI. The experimentation could be extended to an additional batch of 20 VBCI.

VBCI 8x8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle
VBCI 8×8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by French Ministry of the Armed Forces)

As part of this experimentation, several Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) sensors will be deployed on the physical vehicles to collect large amounts of data, analyze them, and transcribe them into digital models and virtual representations. The system will rely on multiple predictive algorithms that will determine the lifespan of a variety of mechanical parts based on vehicle usage, anticipate breakdown risks, and personalize maintenance operations for each vehicle, facilitating failures diagnosis. Ultimately, the NumCo digital twin technology is expected to be the central element of KNDS’s and ARQUUS’s offers for the modernization of maintenance of the Army’s vehicle fleets.

VBCI 8x8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle
VBCI 8×8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by French Ministry of the Armed Forces)

The VBCI is a French Infantry fighting vehicle designed and manufactured by GIAT Industries (now Nexter Systems) and Renault Trucks Defense (now Arquus) to replace the AMX-10P. The first units entered active service with the French Army in 2008. 630 units were ordered and full delivery was completed in 2018. They are available in two core variants, the VCI infantry fighting vehicle and the VPC command post vehicle. The VBCI is built on an aluminium hull which carries a modular THD steel and titanium armour that can be replaced in the field. The VBCI is also designed to be transportable by the Airbus A400M. The 8×8 wheeled design was chosen to make the VBCI more comfortable as well as easier and less costly to maintain on war theaters than a tracked vehicle.

French Army VBCI 8x8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle
VBCI 8×8 Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by French Ministry of the Armed Forces)

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