Silhouette of modern soldiers with military vehicles

Military And Defense Automation

Anna Sapiga
Anna Sapiga
PA Engineer

In the heat of combat, a soldier’s focus isn’t on the mechanical design of the vehicle they are driving or piloting. The soldier simply believes that the machine they are operating will work the way it’s supposed to. With the help of actuators, military automation has become possible. Military automation has changed the face of battle, and these devices have played a key role.

No matter what division of the military you are considering, each one makes use of them. The air force, the army and the navy all benefit and improve their function. 

The Air Force

Advances in-flight technology have been skyrocketing in the last few decades. Take a Sopwith Camel from 1917 and pit it against an F-14 Fighter, and there wouldn’t be much of a contest.

Actuators play a significant role in flight control actuation. The devices are used to control the elevator on the horizontal stabilizer trim (HST). The HST resides at the back of the fuselage. It is made up of the back wing section of the plane and allows the aircraft to fly straight. Without an HST, a pilot wouldn’t be able to the motion of the nose of the jet. To be more precise, the elevator is controlled by linear cylinders. These devices can be controlled by the pilot, who moves them up or down, so the plane can maintain its course. On many fighter jets in the military, the HST and the elevator are combined to create one solid surface. Instead of the actuator moving the elevator, the device moves the entire back wing.

Aside from keeping fighter jets from spiraling out of control, they can be used for weapon’s bay doors. Bay doors are hooked up to automated control so that when the need arises, the doors open.

Silhouette of modern soldiers with military vehicles

The Army

Nearly all ground vehicles in the army rely on at least some military automation. Starting with armored vehicles, these vehicles can have automated windows that rely on actuators. Tanks make use of actuators for elevation. When a tank aims at a target, it can’t aim straight at it, especially if the target is a the far end of its reach. In order to reach the target, a tank must aim above the target, so the projective is fired in an arc. They are often used to elevate the barrel, so it can accurately hit the target.

They may also be used for active vibration control. When a vehicle rolls along the ground, it will inherently create vibration because of the surface it moves over. To counter this vibration, the components can be used to apply an equal force that opposes the motion. Vibration control is also used in aircraft.

Photo of a submarine on the sea

The Navy

When a naval vessel needs to change direction, actuators can be used to control the flaps that alter its direction. These must be able to withstand long periods submersed in water, so the IP rating needs to be a certain amount.

As with tanks, naval vessels are commonly equipped with weaponry that uses elevation systems. The elevation systems that allow projectiles to create the arc enable the controller to hit the intended target.

Of course, we can’t forget about the amount of valves on any military vehicle. Valves may be required to allow for the release of pressure, and they can be used to provide this control. Turning each valve when needed would be a much too demanding process, and this type of military automation allows officers to focus on more important things.

The Benefits of in Military Automation

When we think about the military, we usually think about life or death situations. The name of the game is adequate defense and victory. This technology has helped the military become more effective at providing defense capabilities. The more that can be efficiently automated in the military, the more resources can be diverted to where it’s more important. People have often heard it said that the wars of the future will be fought with technology, and this is what is meant. Automated vehicles and technologies will be used in combat to reduce the number of lives at risk.

Military automation clearly benefits from linear electric actuators, but we understand that without the valuable personnel to control those vehicles, the actuators wouldn’t be of much use. Those at the forefront of linear motion technology are constantly thinking about how to improve use, quality, and reliability so the soldiers won’t have to.