A huge transformation will occur with hybrid diesel-electric engines.  Since fuel accounts for more than half the logistical tonnage needed by an Army, an engine which can cut fuel consumption by more than 50% is a leap forward.  This is not "futuristic"; Honda began selling diesel-electric cars in the USA in 2001 which get 45 mpg, even with city driving.  The Army has already built light truck versions and one for the M113 APC as described in this article from National Defense magazine. There was also an excellent article by an Air Force officer in the Marine Corps Gazette a few years back.

      The fuel savings occur because the electric engine can operate the vehicle by itself for up to 20 minutes.  As a result, whenever the vehicle slows below 10 mph or stops, the diesel engine cuts off and saves fuel, then starts up when speed picks up and it recharges the battery.  Since both engines can provide power at the same time, a smaller diesel engine can be used.  Whenever max power is demanded for rapid acceleration or climbing steep grades, the electric motor kicks in to help.


      ALL future military vehicles must include hybrid diesel-electric engines.  Some are concerned about the 20% increase in procurement cost, but the fuel savings during the first year will pay for that.  Added weight can be offset by a smaller diesel engine or smaller fuel tank.  As for climate problems, vehicles have used batteries for decades, this is just a much larger battery.  Even if they freeze up in extreme cold, the diesel will still work.  This is the KEY transformational technology for future land warfare and few officers are aware that it exists.  This could cut fuel needs by 50%, overall tonnage needed by an army 25%, eliminate half of all fuel trucks and fuel depot operations, and save the US Army almost a billion dollars a year in fuel costs.

Here is some info from Popular Mechanics:


Just as the cavalry gave way to internal-combustion chariots, Army planners are poised to take the next evolutionary step in tactical mobility technology: They are going electric.

Hybrid electric propulsion, already available in some commercial vehicles, is now being considered
Photo by Scott Gourley
In an impromptu drag race (top), the electric hybrid beat the IC engine. Band tracks (above) reduce noise to stealth levels.
Photos by United Defense
for use on combat vehicle platforms.

United Defense L.P., for example, has developed a hybrid electric-drive demonstrator based on its tracked M113 armored personnel carrier.

The hybridís major components include a diesel-powered, engine-driven generator, a battery pack for power storage, and two 250-hp oil-cooled electric motors used to drive the track sprockets.

During normal operations, vehicle power is provided simultaneously from both the battery pack and the generator. The system design allows the prime generator to provide the power necessary to drive track sprockets and auxiliary equipment, with the batteries providing supplemental power for accelerating or hill climbing. Since electric motors act like generators, the system also recovers and stores power during vehicle braking.

The hybrid engine provides 500 hp and more than enough acceleration to leave most internal-combustion (IC) tactical vehicles in the dust. óS.G.


                                     Carlton Meyer  editorG2mil@Gmail.com

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