Eurosatory 2024 – Michelin unveils new tires and rubber tracks

Paolo Valpolini

At Eurosatory 2024 the Michelin group exhibited a series of first, ranging from new winter tires for armoured vehicles and trucks, to latest developments in light vehicles tires, to rubber tracks, to non-pneumatic tires

Three new products could be seen in the Michelin stand at Eurosatory, aimed at different type of vehicles. Speaking mobility, what is in contact with the terrain is quite obviously the first element of an automotive chain that generates the final result, the best possible ability to move off-road in the worst possible conditions.

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Two years ago the development of rubber tracks for the military market had just started, and the company asked EDR On-Line not write about that programme at that time. This year a pre-series a track destined to BV206 was exhibited in the company stand at the Paris exhibition. This was produced in Sri Lanka by CAMSO, a company specialized in off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks and track systems for the material handling, construction, agriculture and powersports industries, which was acquired by the Michelin group in 2019. CAMSO is producing mostly externally driven tracks, mainly for the civil market, and has produced for years such tracks for BV206 articulated all-terrain vehicles used by various countries, the only military output for the company. Externally driven tracks see the teeth of the sprocket engaging recesses in the track itself.

When in 2022 the group decided to move in the military rubber tracks market, CAMSO started to work on internally driven rubber tracks, the one seen at Eurosatory being of that type. In this case the rubber track features teeth that engage recesses in the sprocket. All research and development is carried out at CAMSO premises in Magog, Quebec, current efforts being focused on materials, conception and industrialisation. EDR On-Line understood that Michelin plans to move from lightweight vehicles to heavier ones, the aim being to reach the 40 tonnes mark in the coming years. All military rubber track production will be carried out in the future in a new facility in Plattsburgh, New York State, USA and will be ITAR free.

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Back to wheels, Michelin was showing for the first time its new X Force Winter tire, designed for severe winter countries. The widening of the NATO footprint in Scandinavia, with the entrance into the Atlantic Alliance of Finland and Sweden, and the increasing importance of the Arctic region, underlined by the recent “Nordic Response 2024” exercise that gathered 20,000 troops from 13 Allied countries in northern Norway, requires maximum mobility for military vehicles. And wheeled vehicles are becoming more and more numerous, as shown by the Common Armoured Vehicles System (CAVS) programme centred on the Patria 6×6 armoured vehicle that currently sees the participation of Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Germany.

According to Michelin its new X Force Winter improves by 24% the acceleration on compacted snow versus existing Michelin Force ZL and by 59% versus the Michelin XZL tires. Developed for heavy transport and infantry combat vehicles, it is being launched in the 16.00 R 20 size, other sizes following successively.

The X Force Winter underwent severe tests carried out in partnership with Test World/UTAC on the Ivalo tracks, in northern Finland, and was certified following the 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake protocol, 3 PMSF in short.

The improved grip is the result of the depth of the double-wave3D sipes at mid-height of the tread block which confers a long-lasting performance, Michelin experts say. The tyres remain compatible with chains and can be studded. The new Michelin X Force Winter is totally compatible with the Michelin Group’s Teleflow central tyre inflation systems.

According to company representatives the new tyres will be available for the 2024-25 winter season. The company will produce the Michelin X Force Winter in its North America and European facilities ensuring a surge and sustainment capacity when needed.

Also part of the Michelin is BFGoodrich, the company founded in 1870 by Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, which produces tyres for land, aviation and space, and which was acquired in 1990 the French group.

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At Eurosatory 2024 BFGoodrich launched its latest development aimed at off-road light vehicles. Named BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO3, it succeds the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2, which for many years a company bestseller widely used worldwide by defence customers. The new tyre is already available in some sizes in the United States, the Paris exhibition marking its international launch.

As with its new Michelin X Force Winter pneumatic, the group looks at extreme conditions on- and off-road use use; the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO3 has full depth locking 3D sipes that provide excellent snow traction and ensure even wear over the life of the tyre the company states. The entire BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO3 range is marked 3PMSF (3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake) and thus is compatible for year-round use, including in countries with strict winter tyre regulations. The new rubber compound used, and the tread design have been developed to resist gravel tearing and to optimise durability in all conditions.

It adopts the CoreGard technology that derives from BFGoodrich’s race proven Baja T/A KR3 tyres. This technology provides two major advantages, according to BFGoodrich, it gives extended shoulder rubber, which protects the critical sidewall failure zone, as well as giving advanced deflection design, preventing protruding objects from snagging and splitting the sidewall.

The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO3 will be available in Europe from beginning of 2025. At Eurosatory the new tyre was visible fitted to a GM Defense M1301 Infantry Squad Vehicle.

Photos by P. Valpolini