Army Unveils First Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System for New Combat Vehicles
Category: Future Technologies
The US Army, which has long been at the forefront of developing hybrid-electric vehicles, is planning to demonstrate the first eight hybrid-electric propulsion system for a new fleet of Manned Ground Vehicles (MGVs) that will equip 15 Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Teams (FCS BCTs).
Unlike commercial hybrid vehicles, the military hybrid-electric vehicles are significantly more robust and more powerful. The first hybrid-electric MGV variant, the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), will commence production in late 2008.
The soldiers will benefit from increased speed and mobility, advanced technologies in addition to enhanced survivability. These new MGVs are using a common chassis.
Major General Charles Cartwright, Program Manager said that the new MGV hybrid-electric propulsion system was providing state-of-the-art capabilities to their Soldiers sooner rather than later.
The Army, for the first time, will be integrating a functional hybrid-electric drive system, being a part of the propulsion system, that powers the vehicles, into a combat vehicle.
The hybrid-electric power is used by the Army because the more modern FCS BCTs have much greater electrical power requirements than the current-force Heavy BCTs. The requisite electrical power is provided because Hybrid-electric vehicles employ a rechargeable energy storage system, thus putting less reliance on oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. Colonel Bryan McVeigh, product manager for MGV systems integration said that the MGV drive train was unique and the traditional engine had been de-coupled from the drive train architecture and was designed only to recharge the energy storage system and power the vehicular systems. Further he added that the hybrid drive system alone literally could move the vehicle and that it was a new and better way of moving across the battlefield.
FCS Spin-Out 1 technologies will be tested at Ft. Bliss by the soldiers in the Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF). after completion of evaluation these technologies will become available for fielding to deployed forces.
In Iraq and Afghanistan they already use FCS technologies, including the PacBot Tactical Robot and Micro (Unmanned) Air Vehicle. These technologies of FCS incorporate manned and unmanned air and ground systems and sensors, all connected by a common network and designed specifically to improve soldier situational awareness, survivability and battlefield effectiveness.