HDT Global displayed publicly for the first time its Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) Phase 2 offer at AUSA 2017. Hunter WOLF is being put forward for the US Army’s SMET. (HDT Global)

HDT Global’s SMET Phase 2 offering, the Hunter WOLF (Wheeled Offload Logistics Follower), represents a step-change for the company in two areas in that it is wheeled, and that it is electrically propelled with an integrated generator to charge its batteries. For the duration of US Army unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) trials HDT has evolved its established Protector platform, which was unveiled in 2012. Protector differs from Hunter Wolf in that it is fitted with metal segmented tracks and powered solely by a diesel engine.

Speaking to Jane’s prior to the platforms AUSA unveiling Dr Tom Van Doren, Vice-President of HDT Global Blade Works, outlined the company’s thinking behind Hunter WOLF’s configuration. While acknowledging that in certain off-highway conditions caterpillar tracks will always be superior to wheels, he explained that given the army’s desire for SMET platforms to be capable of accompanying soldiers under almost all scenarios, the acoustic noise generated by caterpillar tracks “immediately became an issue.” The quieter, albeit more expensive rubber band track solution, impacted heavily on the army’s rigid USD100,000 unit price for productionised SMET, while the serviceability of band tracks was also raised, as was the poorer overall energy efficiency of all track types when compared to wheels.

HDT’s conclusion was that for the army’s requirement, which included the ability to be flat-towed at up to 50 mph, a six-wheeled skid-steer solution was the way forward.

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