Tagged: deal

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Army to Test First Next-Gen Ground Combat Vehicles in 2019

Army[1] maneuver officials on Monday said the service’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle will allow it to team manned and unmanned vehicles and create an unbeatable overmatch against enemy armored forces.

Developing the NGCV to replace the fleet of Cold-War era M1 Abrams tanks[2] and Bradley Fighting Vehicles[3] is the Army’s second modernization priority under a new strategy to reform acquisition and modernization.

The Army intends to stand up a new Futures Command this summer, which will oversee cross-functional teams that focus on each of the of the service’s six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires; next-generation combat vehicle; future vertical lift; a mobile and expeditionary network; air and missile defense capabilities; and soldier lethality.

“The Next Generation Combat Vehicle needs to be revolutionary,” Gen Robert Abrams, commander of Forces Command, told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium.

“It’s got to be 10X better than our current fleet and guarantee our overmatch into the future.”

The Army will need such an increase in capability to deal with threats such as Russia’s T14 Armata tank and China’s efforts at improving composite armor and reactive armor combinations on its ground vehicles, said Col. Ryan Janovic, the G2 for Army Forces Command.

Brig. Gen. David Lesperance, deputy commander of the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning[4], Georgia, and leader of the cross-functional team in the effort, said the NGCV will consist initially of three phases of prototyping and experimentation to refine the program’s requirements.

Part of the Army’s intent with its new acquisition and modernization strategy is to develop requirements in two to three years rather than the traditional five-to-seven-year process.

The program will seek to develop the robotic combat vehicle and a manned combat vehicle that can be used in an unmanned role based on the commander’s needs, Lesperance said.

There will be three phases for the “delivery of capability for experimentation” between 2018 and 2024, he said.

By late fiscal 2019, “we will deliver one manned versus two unmanned combat platforms that will initially go through [Army Test and Evaluation Command] testing, then will go through a six-to-nine month, extended experimentation in an operational unit in Forces Command,” Lesperance said.

Army officials will take the results of that effort and use it in the second phase of the program to deliver “a purpose-built robotic combat vehicle and a purpose-built manned fighting vehicle” in 2021 to ATEC and then to operational units at the beginning of second quarter of 2022, he said.

For the third phase, the Army plans to deliver seven manned and 14 unmanned prototypes in late 2023 and into early 2024 “that allow us to look, at a company level, [at] what manned-unmanned teaming could be,” Lesperance said.

“Imagine making contact with the enemy with an unmanned robot, and allowing a decision-maker to understand quicker and then make a better decision out of contact. Then move to a position of advantage to deliver decisive lethality in a way that we do not do now in 100 percent manned platforms,” he said.

“Each phase of the program in 2020, 2022 and 2024 will ultimately allow us to write the best requirement we can come up with based on experimentation, and the analytics to back it up that ultimately allow us to write the right doctrine, develop the right organizations and then deliver the right capability that will be compliant with how we are going to fight differently in the future,” Lesperance said.

— Matthew Cox can be reached at [email protected][5].

Show Full Article[6]

© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ M1 Abrams tanks (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Bradley Fighting Vehicles (www.military.com)
  4. ^ Fort Benning (www.military.com)
  5. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
  6. ^ Show Full Article (www.military.com)
0

God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enemy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enenmy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enemy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

Trump Cites US Military Support to Put Trade Pressure on Seoul

President Donald Trump hinted the administration might roll back military support for South Korea, putting new pressure on the Asian country as it resumes talks with the U.S. to overhaul their trade deal and seeks tariff exemptions.

“We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them,” Trump said Wednesday, according to an audio recording of a speech he delivered to donors in Missouri, which was obtained by the Washington Post. “We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Let’s see what happens.”

Negotiators from the U.S. and South Korea are meeting Thursday in Washington for the third round of discussions to revise their trade accord, known as Korus. Trump has threatened to kill the deal if they can’t agree on ways to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with South Korea. The U.S. goods trade gap
narrowed
[1] to $23 billion last year to the smallest since 2013.

Relations between the two allies have been difficult since Trump came to power. South Korea has said it’ll use all “possible means” to respond to the new U.S. steel tariffs of 25 percent. The third-largest steel exporter to the U.S. is asking for an exemption, which the U.S. says it may offer to nations that trade fairly and are military allies.

Trump’s linkage of trade talks to military support on the Korean peninsula comes as he prepares to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, a historic encounter brokered by the South Koreans.

Security Threats

“This threat raises concern for South Korea on both the security and the economic side of the relationship,” said Troy Stangarone, senior director of congressional affairs and trade at the Korea Economic Institute of America in Washington. “I’m not sure that this actually helps achieve U.S. objectives, because no government can ultimately be seen as negotiating with a gun to its head.”

The threat “in the end creates policy confusion and uncertainty,” as it tells North Korea there are divisions to exploit between the U.S. and South Korea, Stangarone said.

At the first round of Korus trade talks in January, the U.S. presented proposals to improve auto exports and lift trade barriers, while Korea raised issues with the investor-state dispute settlement clause and trade remedies, according to the negotiators.

The U.S. has complained about a rule that limits the sale of American cars that don’t meet Korean safety standards.

The U.S. negotiating team is led by Michael Beeman, assistant U.S. trade representative for Japan, Korea and APEC. The Korean team is led by deputy trade minister Yoo Myung-hee.

References

  1. ^ Link to Trade News (www.census.gov)
0

Rheinmetall intensifies push to enter US Army combat vehicle fleet protection program

UNTERLUESS, Germany — Germany company Rheinmetall has made another push[1] to show the U.S. Army that it has a ready and working active protection system. The company’s marketing effort this week at its Germany-based proving grounds comes as potential fiscal 2018 funding would cover the qualification of another APS for Army combat vehicles waiting in the wings for congressional approval.

The company hosted a number of U.S. Army representatives March 7, firing three RPG-7Vs at its active defense system (ADS), a distributed APS configuration — as opposed to a launcher-based APS system. The ADS uses an explosive charge to blast incoming weapons off their paths in extremely close proximity to the vehicle. The explosive cuts at a downward angle on a threat roughly 1 meter from the vehicle’s hull, disabling the threat’s main charge and drastically minimizing an explosion.

The U.S. delegation present for the demonstration included Elizabeth Miller, the deputy product manager for the Army’s vehicle protection systems, and Clifton Boyd, the deputy project manager for the Stryker brigade combat team effort.

Putting ADS to the test

Rheinmetall took pains to challenge the system in front of the delegation, cluttering the environment around the system, which was positioned on a rig to represent a combat vehicle.

Using old cars and mannequins, the company painted a picture of a crowded urban marketplace. And though unplanned, the demonstration was performed in a mix of snow and rain, adding to the complexity.

For the demonstration, Rheinmetall crafted a scenario that could occur during combat operations:

Two roadside bombs detonate in front of and behind a convoy of combat vehicles as they move through a crowded marketplace, causing the vehicles to come to a halt. A suicide bomber in a car then drives into another car and explodes.

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As the explosion causes mayhem around the convoy, two rocket-propelled grenades are fired, one aimed directly at the ADS system and another at a vehicle behind the rig. The second RPG was meant to demonstrate that the ADS system will only trigger if the RPG is directly headed toward the system.

Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System, or ROSY, was supposed to deploy, enshrouding the vehicle in thick smoke to deter further RPG attacks, but a small piece of shrapnel from a previous explosion severed a wire connecting the system on the rig and it failed to work.

With the vehicle still visible to the attackers, another RPG is fired at the system.

When the smoke clears, the ADS system’s rig shows clear signs it worked. The only evidence of an RPG attack are small pock marks on one side of the rig and white residue on the other side.

Rheinmetall subsequently demonstrated ROSY using a small Polaris ultralight RZR vehicle equipped with the system. The vehicle drove through the scene, deploying smoke. In less than a second, nothing in the area was visible.

Rheinmetall sets sites on US

More than a year ago, the Army determined it needed to field an interim APS solution for the Abrams tank as well as the Stryker combat vehicle and the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The service decided to rapidly assess off-the-shelf APS systems to fulfill an urgent operational need after failing — over a 20 year period — to field an APS system.

The Army’s program manager for APS has said if more funding became available to qualify another system, ADS would be at the top of the list and came in a close second in a design runoff against Iron Fist.

The Army ultimately selected three different systems: Israeli company Rafael’s Trophy system, which is deployed in the Israeli Army, for the Abrams; Iron Fist from IMI Systems[2], another Israeli company, for the Bradley; and Herndon, Virginia-based Artis’ Iron Curtain[3] for the Stryker.

While the Army has stayed on track with Abrams[4], due to a combination of earlier funding availability and qualifying an already fielded system, it has struggled to stay on schedule with the other two configurations. Iron Curtain is six months behind, and Iron Fist is delayed by eight months.

Col. Glenn Dean, who is in charge of the program, told Defense News in a recent interview that Iron Curtain turned out to not be as mature as the service envisioned and that there was some “friction on the test range.”

Unlike ADS, Iron Curtain uses a projectile-like countermeasure to defeat threats before they have a chance to explode. And similar to the German system, Iron Curtain takes out incoming threats very close to the vehicle.

With Iron Curtain’s fate uncertain, Rheinmetall has an opportunity to swoop in if it receives FY18 government funding to qualify its system with the U.S. Army.

The demonstration comes at an important time, as Congress could potentially pass the FY18 defense budget this month. The upcoming deadline for a continuing resolution will force Congress to either vote to fund the Defense Department at last year’s levels or finally reach a budget deal.

A growing track record

Rheinmetall believes its testing and demonstrations performed over many years on a variety of combat vehicles makes it ready to step up to the task for the U.S. Army. The company has already sold the system to a non-NATO country.

Rheinmetall wouldn’t name the country, but it has been publicly announced Singapore bought the system for its Leopard tanks.

Rheinmetall has extensively tested the system for the Swedish government and for Germany, and it has formulated designs for integration onto a wide variety of vehicles to include an eight-wheel drive vehicle similar to the Stryker.

The system has successfully demonstrated it can defeat anti-tank rounds, anti-tank guided missiles and decoy ATRs.

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System was hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Jen Judson/Staff)

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System was hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Jen Judson/Staff)

Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System was hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company’s proving grounds in Germany. (Jen Judson/Staff)

During tests with the Swedish Army, 76 percent of shots left zero residual penetration on the vehicle. The rest of the shots — save 6 percent — left damage measured in millimeters. The remaining 6 percent of the shots were undefeated, resulting in full penetration, according to Ron Meixner, an engineer at Rheinmetall.

He blamed the undefeated shots on the specific detonator used inthe test. The system now has a new detonator that is safer and more reliable, according to Meixner, and “current trials show that this problem has been eliminated.”

The success rate for residual penetration of less than 20 millimeters is 94 percent, he added.

And because the system is designed to defeat an incoming threat at close proximity, there is a wider radius around the vehicle where soldiers can safely operate and where civilians can be present without being harmed by collateral damage, Meixner explained.

One mannequin’s plastic head was found in a pool of mud on the range post-test, its body still standing. The rest of the mannequins were simply splattered in mud.

For APS systems that defeat threats farther away from the vehicle, the area where soldiers can safely operate near the vehicle is more limited.

The system’s radar is also capable of weeding through the clutter of a busy urban environment and can precisely distinguish the type of incoming threat. That way the system can fine-tune its response depending on what kind of projectile is fired at the vehicle, Meixner said.

Rheinmetall has done everything it can to confuse the system’s radar, including building a leaf tosser to send leaves into the air around the system in an attempt to throw the system off. But the radar has been able to detect threats appropriately in every scenario the company has thrown at it.

And while many radars turn vehicles into easy targets in an environment where an adversary can detect signals in an electromagnetic environment, the radar in ADS is low-power enough to limit its detection in the spectrum, according to Meixner.

Increasing appetite

APS systems have been in development for roughly 40 years. The Russians first developed a system in the 1970s. But it’s only now that countries, including U.S., are getting serious about the capability.

Those looking for APS now include a number of European countries. Poland, for instance, is serious about procuring something to protect its combat vehicles. Several military representatives also attended the March 7 demonstration from the Spanish Army and said they were conducting a study to determine a requirement for APS.

Meixner theorized as to why countries are now just getting on board. “You have for the first time an autonomous system on the battlefield that is firing just by the decision the system itself makes, and of course this is really scary.”

But Meixner equated the ADS system to an air bag, another autonomous system with explosives set up to respond on its own when a car is in a crash.

Yet, Rheinmetall has taken extra steps to ensure the safety of the system. The German government aided in funding safety certification of the system and signals — perhaps a sign that Germany intends to ultimately field ADS to its combat vehicles, too.


References

  1. ^ Rheinmetall has made another push (www.defensenews.com)
  2. ^ Iron Fist from IMI Systems (www.defensenews.com)
  3. ^ Artis’ Iron Curtain (www.defensenews.com)
  4. ^ stayed on track with Abrams (www.defensenews.com)
0

Rheinmetall intensifies push to enter US Army combat vehicle fleet protection program

UNTERLUESS, Germany — With potential fiscal 2018 funding that would cover the qualification of another Active Protection System for U.S. Army combat vehicles waiting in the wings for congressional approval, Rheinmetall made another push[1] to show the service that it has a ready and working system this week at its Germany-based proving grounds.

The company hosted a number of U.S. Army representatives March 7, firing three rocket propelled grenades (RPG) 7 Vs at its Active Defense System (ADS), a distributed APS configuration — as opposed to a launcher-based APS system — that uses an explosive charge to blast incoming weapons off their paths in extremely close proximity to the vehicle. The explosive cuts at an angle downward on a threat roughly one meter from the hull of the vehicle and disables its main charge, drastically minimizing an explosion.

The U.S. delegation present for the demonstration included Elizabeth Miller, the deputy product manager for the Army’s Vehicle Protection Systems as well as Clifton Boyd, the deputy project manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

Putting ADS to the test

Rheinmetall took pains to challenge the system in front of the delegation, cluttering the environment around the system, which was positioned on a rig to represent a combat vehicle.

Using old cars and mannequins, the company painted a picture of a crowded urban market place. And while obviously unplanned, the demonstration was performed in a mix of snow and rain, adding to the complexity.

For the demonstration, Rheinmetall crafted a scenario that could occur during combat operations.

Kicking it off, two roadside bombs are detonated in front of and behind a convoy of combat vehicles move through a crowded marketplace, causing the vehicles to come to a halt. A suicide bomber in a car then drives into another car and explodes.

Sign up for our Daily News Roundup
The top Defense News stories of the day
Thanks for signing up!

As the explosion causes mayhem around the convoy, two RPGs are fired, one aimed directly at the ADS system and another at a vehicle behind the rig. The second RPG was meant to demonstrate that the ADS system will only trigger if the RPG is headed directly at the system.

Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System – ROSY – was supposed to deploy, enshrouding the vehicle in thick smoke to deter further RPG attacks, but a small piece of shrapnel from a previous explosion severed a wire connecting the system on the rig and it failed to work.

With the vehicle still visible to the attackers, another RPG is fired at the system.

When the smoke clears, the ADS system’s rig shows clear signs it worked. The only evidence of an RPG attack are small pock marks on one side of the rig and white residue on the other side.

Rheinmetall subsequently demonstrated ROSY using a small Polaris ultralight RZR vehicle equipped with the system. The vehicle drove through the scene deploying smoke. In less than a second, nothing in the area was visible.

Rheinmetall sets sites on U.S.

Over a year ago, the U.S. Army determined it needed to field an interim APS solution for the Abrams tank as well as the Stryker combat vehicle and the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The service decided to rapidly assess off-the-shelf APS systems to fulfill an urgent operational need after failing – over a 20 year period – to field APS system.

The U.S. Army program manager for APS has said if more funding became available to qualify another system, ADS would be at the top of the list and came in a close second in a design runoff against Iron Fist.

The Army ultimately selected three different systems: Israeli company Rafael’s Trophy system, which is deployed in the Israeli army, for Abrams; Iron Fist from IMI[2], another Israeli company, for the Bradley; and Herndon, Virginia-based Artis’ Iron Curtain[3] for Stryker.

While the Army has stayed on track with Abrams[4], due to a combination of earlier funding availability and qualifying an already fielded system, it has struggled to stay on schedule with the other two configurations. Iron Curtain is six months behind and Iron Fist is delayed by eight months.

Col. Glenn Dean, who is in charge of the program, told Defense News in a recent interview that Iron Curtain turned out to not be as mature as the service originally envisioned and that there was some “friction on the test range.”

Unlike ADS, Iron Curtain uses a projectile-like countermeasure to defeat threats before they have a chance to explode, and similar to the German system, Iron Curtain takes out incoming threats very close into the vehicle.

With Iron Curtain’s fate potentially uncertain, Rheinmetall has an opportunity to swoop in in if it receives FY-18 government funding to qualify its system with the U.S. Army.

The demonstration comes at an important time, as Congress could potentially pass the FY18 defense budget this month as another continuing resolution comes to an end. That deadline will force Congress to either vote to continue to fund the Defense Department at last year’s levels or finally reach a budget deal.

A growing track record

Rheinmetall believes its testing and demonstrations performed over many years on a variety of combat vehicles makes it ready to step up to the task for the U.S. Army. And it has sold the system to a non-NATO country.

While the company wouldn’t name the country, it has been published publicly that Singapore bought the system for its Leopard tanks.

Rheinmetall has extensively tested the system for the Swedish government as well as for its own country and it has formulated designs for integration onto a wide variety of vehicles to include an eight-wheel drive vehicle similar to the Stryker.

The system has successfully demonstrated it can defeat anti-tank rounds, anti-tank guided missiles and decoy ATRs.

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall's Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company's proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

Rheinmetall’s Active Defense System (ADS) hooked up to a rig before a complex demonstration of its capabilities at the company’s proving grounds in Germany. (Photo by Jen Judson/Defense News staff)

During tests with the Swedish army, 76 percent of shots left zero residual penetration on the vehicle. The rest of the shots – save 6 percent — left damage measured in millimeters. The remaining 6 percent of the shots were not defeated, resulting in full penetration, according to Dr. Ron Meixner, an engineer at Rheinmetall.

He noted the shots which were not defeated during those tests were due to the detonator being used at the time. The system now has a new detonator that is safer and more reliable and “current trials show that this problem has been eliminated,” Meixner said.

The success rate for residual penetration of less than 20mm is 94 percent, he added.

Additionally, because the system is designed to defeat the incoming threat in close proximity, there is a wider radius around the vehicle where soldiers can operate safely and where civilians can be present without being harmed by collateral damage, Meixner explained.

While one mannequin’s plastic head was found in a pool of mud on the range post-test, its body was still standing and, along with the rest of the mannequins, simply splattered in mud.

For APS systems that defeat threats farther out from the vehicle, the area where soldiers can operate near the vehicle is more limited.

The system’s radar is also capable of weeding through the clutter of a busy urban environment and can precisely distinguish the type of incoming threat so the system can fine-tune its response depending on what kind of projectile is fired at the vehicle, Meixner said.

Rheinmetall has done everything it can to confuse the system’s radar, including building a leaf tosser to send leaves into the air around the system to see if it would throw the system off, but the radar has been able to detect threats appropriately in every scenario the company has thrown at it.

And while many radars turn vehicles into easy targets in an environment where an adversary can detect signals in an electromagnetic environment, the radar in ADS is low-power enough to limit its detection in the spectrum, according to Meixner.

Increasing appetite

APS systems have been in development for roughly 40 years. The Russians first developed a system in the 1970s. But it’s only now that countries including the U.S. Army are getting serious about the capability.

Countries looking for APS now include a number of European countries. Poland, for instance, is serious about procuring something to protect its combat vehicles. Several military representatives also attended the March 7 demonstration from the Spanish army and said they were conducting a study to determine a requirement for APS.

Meixner theorized as to why countries are now just getting on board. “You have, for the first time, an autonomous system on the battlefield that is firing just by the decision the system itself makes, and of course, this is really scary.”

But Meixner equated the ADS system to an airbag, another autonomous system with explosives set up to respond autonomously when a car is in a crash.

Yet Rheinmetall has taken extra steps to ensure the safety of the system. The German government aided in funding safety certification of the system and signals, perhaps, the intension of Germany to ultimately field ADS to its combat vehicles as well.

References

  1. ^ Rheinmetall made another push (www.defensenews.com)
  2. ^ Iron Fist from IMI (www.defensenews.com)
  3. ^ Artis’ Iron Curtain (www.defensenews.com)
  4. ^ stayed on track with Abrams (www.defensenews.com)