NREC designed and developed the Crusher vehicle to support the UPI program's rigorous field experimentation schedule. Crusher represented the next generation of the original Spinner platform—the world's first greater-than-6-ton cross-country UGV. At 29 percent less weight, Crusher offers more mobility, reliability, maintainability, and flexibility than Spinner.
As a core building block in the Army's future force, tactical UGVs enable new war-fighting capabilities while putting fewer soldiers in harm's way. The full benefit of this new capability can only be achieved with field-validated understanding of UGV technology limits and consideration of the impact to Army doctrine, personnel, platforms, and infrastructure.
UPI experiments encompassed vehicle safety, the effects of limited communications bandwidth and GPS infrastructure on vehicle performance, and how vehicles and their payloads can be effectively operated and supervised.
Autonomous Off-Road Navigation
NREC integrated the latest automation technology developed at that time onto the Crusher platform as part of the UPI program.
Crusher has a space frame hull designed by CTC Technologies that is made from high-strength aluminum tubes and titanium nodes. A suspended and shock-mounted skid plate, made from high-strength steel, allows Crusher to deflect massive below-hull strikes from boulders and tree stumps. The nose is designed for Crusher to sustain normal impacts with trees and brush, while also absorbing the impact of major collisions.
Crusher’s suspension system allows it to maintain high off-road speeds across extreme terrains. Designed by Timoney, the suspensions support 30 inches of travel with selectable stiffness and reconfigurable ride height. Crusher can comfortably carry over 8000 pounds of payload and armor.
Hybrid Electric System
Crusher's hybrid electric system allows the vehicle to move silently on one battery charge over miles of extreme terrain. A 60kW turbo diesel engine maintains charge on the high-performance SAFT-built lithium ion battery module. Engine and batteries work intelligently to deliver power to Crusher's 6-wheel motor-in-hub drive system built around UQM traction motors.