Tactical repairs take a step into the future18 August 2022
Field repairs are vital to sustaining the effectiveness of a fighting force, but a lack of equipment and cumbersome processes have often made them inefficient, time-consuming and disruptive. That is about to change with the FRSN from Danish company Glaucus. Managing director Christoffer Gregers Glæsel tells us why.
When operating in an advanced tactical position, time is of the essence. Operational decisions must be made quickly and a fighting force must be able to rely on its vehicles and equipment to put those decisions into effect. At the same time, military mechanics often face an uphill battle to keep vehicles and weapons stations in good working order.
Danish company Glaucus ApS has come up with an innovative solution to the many challenges those mechanics face. Its new Forward Repair System NATO (FRSN) gives them the tools to handle almost any job with the utmost efficiency.
“In the past, military mechanics often had to make do with inadequate equipment that might be placed on different platforms,” says Christoffer Gregers Glæsel, managing director of Glaucus ApS. “This made field repairs unnecessarily challenging.”
“Imagine if the generator is placed on a trailer, the tool load is on the back of a truck and, on top of that, you have to wait for the crane to arrive all while being in a tactical situation,” he adds. “The FRSN is game changer as everything needed is right there.”
Built for the battlefield
The FRSN is a compact deployable workshop that enables military mechanics to solve almost any maintenance and repair problem under any conditions. Glæsel likens it to a multi-tool that is fully equipped and readily available at short notice.
Built on a 20ft reinforced NATO STANAG flatrack and with an on-board crane, a powerful generator, an air compressor, a welder, cutting equipment and full range of diagnostic and hand tools, the FRSN can support the installation of weapons and sensitive equipment in base locations, as well as urgent field repairs of damaged vehicles.
“The FRSN is based on extensive end user requirements, feedback and engagement that enabled our team to truly design a system that includes all the needed components within the dimensions of a 20ft container,” remarks Glæsel. “The challenge is obviously to make sure the choice of components is adequate and still keep the system simple to use. In this process we relied on the experience of current military mechanics and the know-how of our design team to make those crucial priorities.”
The result is a fully comprehensive repair workshop that can be transported on a tactical truck and can be operational on the ground within five minutes of arrival. At the core is a cube-shaped shelter assembly, which measures 2200 x 2200 x 2300mm and has a reinforced ceiling, with doors on two sides that hinge out to extend the covered area.
Within the shelter assembly is the bulk of the FRSN’s tool load, stowed and secured in cabinets and customised drawers. A detachable PVC fabric screen can snap around the open shelter to provide additional protection from the weather. The crane in the unit, which is stabilised by hydraulic legs and capable of 360° operations, can move and replace major components from tracked and wheeled vehicles, including the 6,800kg heavy power pack from the Leopard 2 main battle tank. A key component is the air compressor for on-board pneumatic tools, inflation of tires and compressed air cleaning via an internal distribution line. Another is the welding cabinet, which can store multiple hose reels and four pressurised vessels for different gases, and which is capable of shielded metal arc, metal inert gas and induction welding, as well as exothermic cutting.
“Finding the optimal design of components was a demanding task and required more resources than initially expected,” says Glæsel. “However, the feedback that we continue to receive from the end user community tells us that we achieved our goal.”
“The biggest challenge was to choose those right priorities, in military terms this boils down to prioritising ‘need-to-have’ versus ‘nice-to-have’ requirements, while keeping the overall footprint within the 20ft container dimensions and achieving a correct centre of gravity.”
Compact, balanced, rugged, able to operate in any environment between -32°C to 60°C and capable of pulling out the power pack of a main battle tank in less than 20 minutes, the FRSN is about to raise the bar for military mechanics.