Altair, TARDEC Emphasize Need for Increased Modeling and Simulation in the Development of Military Ground Vehicles — Press Release

by: Matthew Potter
May 18, 2009

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Altair, TARDEC Emphasize Need for Increased Modeling and Simulation in the Development of Military Ground Vehicles

AIM FIRE Military Day event draws key engineering leaders to discuss modeling and simulation tools and their impact on the evolving military vehicle development process

altair-twoTROY, Mich. – May 15, 2009 – The role of modeling and simulation in tomorrow’s defense engineering industry was a focal point for some of the top experts in military and software engineering at the Advanced Innovative Methods for Improved Reliability & Efficiency (AIM FIRE) Military Day, a program co-hosted by leading global technology provider Altair Engineering, Inc. ( and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).

More than 170 military personnel, military engineering professionals, and prime/sub contractors, as well as a member of U.S. Senator Carl Levin’s staff, participated in the May 14 event at Altair Engineering’s World Headquarters in Troy, Mich.

Altair has provided simulation software and consulting to TARDEC and its customers for more than 10 years, and AIM FIRE Military Day was designed to extend that relationship to the most current and urgent needs of America’s military forces.

Dr. David Gorsich, TARDEC’s chief scientist, delivered the keynote, “Reliability and Efficient Military Ground Systems,” which focused on the simulations being used to drive vehicle systems development and the need for more simulation in the testing of these crucial systems.

“Efficiency and reliability are key to improving the robustness of the U.S. military’s fleet of ground-wheeled vehicles,” Dr. Gorsich said. “We must leverage simulation methodologies in the design of combat vehicle systems to achieve the Army’s goals of technologies superiority and readiness.”

The AIM FIRE Military Day event served as an important showcase of new and highly balanced design approaches for military ground vehicles, including Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All-Terrain Vehicles – also known as M-ATV vehicles – which are meant to increase force protection, fuel-efficiency, survivability rates associated with attacks from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and more. A key change in the way these vehicles are being designed is the use of advanced computer simulation methods that help ensure improved reliability and efficiency of the vehicles and their armor and reduced total life cycle costs.

Computer-based programs, employing Altair software, can simulate IED blasts and their potential impact on vehicles of various designs. Data gathered from these simulations may lead to the production of vehicles that weigh less without sacrificing structural reliability and therefore can be equipped with more protection without increasing total weight. Lighter vehicles are operationally more efficient, thereby allowing longer periods between refueling and overall energy and fuel savings. These simulations ultimately create lifecycle cost savings that result from “up front” vehicle optimization design.

“Simulation techniques have immensely improved the efficiency with which we design safer cars and trucks, and similar design tools are making ground-wheeled military vehicles more effective in protecting our troops,” said Jason Napolitano, regional managing director for Altair Engineering, Inc.

Currently, six contractors provide MRAP vehicles, but no single vehicle solves all the potential issues that fighting and peacekeeping forces confront. Altair is working with TARDEC to recommend ways to use computer simulation to standardize a design that meets all of the military’s needs, which results in a more efficient use of defense dollars as well as supports Michigan’s high-tech/defense industry.

The AIM FIRE event covered a wide range of technical issues, from designing a hull that better protects occupants to using simulated field situations for designing and testing vehicles. In addition to Altair and TARDEC, representatives from BAE Systems, Force Protection, Inc., General Dynamics Land Systems and Realtime Technologies, Inc., delivered presentations. The modeling and simulation technologies and strategies discussed at the conference are drawing increased attention from the defense industry, and the AIM FIRE event is expected to set the stage for future industry discussions on using simulation to speed improved vehicle design.


TARDEC, part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), is headquartered at the Detroit Arsenal, Warren, Mich. It is the Nation’s laboratory for advanced military automotive technology. TARDEC’s mission is to provide full service life cycle engineering support to the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, the Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support, and the Program Manager for Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team. TARDEC supports more than 2,800 Army systems and many of the Army’s and DOD’s top joint warfighter development programs. To learn more, please visit

About Altair Engineering

Altair Engineering, Inc. empowers client innovation and decision-making through technology that optimizes the analysis, management and visualization of business and engineering information. Privately held with more than 1,400 employees, Altair has offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. With a 20-year-plus track record for product design, advanced engineering software and grid computing technologies, Altair consistently delivers a competitive advantage to customers in a broad range of industries. To learn more, please visit

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