Researchers Developing Nanotube Arrays to Produce Hydrogen From Visible Light
Lithium-Ion Batteries To Face Tougher Safety Rules In Japan and Possibly Globally

BAE Systems Demonstrates Hybrid-Electric Drive System for Ground Combat Vehicles

Nlosc
The NLOS-C self-propelled howitzer is the first application of the common hybrid drive system.

BAE Systems demonstrated the first hybrid-electric drive system for ground combat vehicles as part of the US Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program.

The Traction Drive Subsystem (TDS) for the FCS program is a diesel series-hybrid drive system that will provide vehicle propulsion, steering and braking, and regenerate electrical power from braking and downhill grades for use in vehicle electrical systems.

The FCS Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV) family of eight vehicles is the first ever planned operational Army suite of ground combat vehicles to use hybrid-electric technology. The first application of the hybrid drive technology will be in the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C)—the lead FCS ground combat vehicle slated to begin initial production in 2008.

The NLOS-C, designed and built by BAE Systems—in partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems—is a fully automated, 155mm self-propelled diesel-electric howitzer. In 2006, BAE Systems awarded Saft a $2-million multi-year contract to design and supply lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery modules for the system. Saft is supplying its VL-V Li-ion battery technology  featuring integrated battery monitoring and status electronics as well as what it called a breakthrough thermal management system. (Earlier post.)

The test was the first evaluation of the complete MGV hybrid electric system consisting of the engine, generator, generator dissipater controller, traction drive system, energy storage system, and cooling subsystem.

FCS is the US Army’s principle modernization program, which is made up of a family of manned and unmanned ground and air systems, and sensors connected by a common network. The hybrid electric drive is the cornerstone of integrated power management designed to meet the demands of future ground combat vehicles in a networked environment while allowing the tailoring of power and cooling dictated by the mission.

This system will be common to all FCS Manned Ground Vehicles which will require less fuel than current force vehicles and lower overall maintenance costs, and is further evidence that FCS technologies are on track and our team is ready to move into initial production in 2008.

—Dennis Muilenburg, vice president-general manager, Boeing Combat Systems, and FCS program manager

Other advantages over currently fielded, conventional combat vehicle power train systems include:

  • Greatly increased power for integration of high efficiency electric drives, sensors, and computing systems;

  • Exportable electric power that reduces logistics burden for towed generators;

  • Enhanced low speed maneuverability;

  • Smaller overall vehicle profile for concealment;

  • Low acoustic signature and quiet ride;

  • Embedded diagnostics/prognostics permitting maintainers to directly determine the source of faults and advanced planning for unscheduled maintenance; and

  • Production of high amounts of electrical power—equivalent to the demand of 300 typical American homes and more than 10 times that provided by a current force vehicle. There is sufficient electric power to enable the use of future high power technologies.

In addition, the MGV design allows for future improvements by decoupling the power generation unit from the drive train architecture. The existing power generation unit can simply be replaced by a fuel cell, for example, once this technology has matured to further improve fuel consumption, acoustic signature, and mobility performance.

Creation of the hybrid electric drive system, led by BAE Systems, is a joint development with General Dynamics Land Systems in partnership with the Army and the FCS Lead Systems Integrator team of Boeing and Science Applications International Corp.

BAE’s HybriDrive series-hybrid system powers the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid buses.

Comments

Brad

ok before someone goes and makes a post about "now we can bomb people in an environmentally friendly way" we kind of have to accept that war has been around since the beginning of civilization, and probabl isn't going to end anytime soon, so it's good to see them cleaning up their act at least

allen_xl_z

BAE also produces the diesel electric hybrid drivetrains that power thousands of civilian buses.

jack

we kind of have to accept that war has been around since the beginning of civilization

So had slavery and treating women as property.

The issue is whether dual use technologies are ethical, hence acceptable, to the public. I'm all for it from the environmental (less pollution), and soldier's (more effective warfighting; greater long term bang for the taxpayer's buck; stealth-not/less likely seen/heard, less likely to be shot at first...more likely to shoot/kill first) point of view. However, I doubt many (esp. liberal civilians here in NYC) will be at ease (pun not intended) for the fact that the very system that power their environmentally friendly buses is also a key component of war machines. Moreover, a substantial portion of the funds used to procure the buses went to BAE, and thus subsidize the further development of weapons systems. Perhaps some of the dollars and cents (who am I kidding, it is virtually a certainty) that went towards those Orion buses will end up in FCS vehicles a decade from now.

allen_xl_z

The issue is whether dual use technologies are ethical, hence acceptable, to the public. I'm all for it from the environmental (less pollution), and soldier's (more effective warfighting; greater long term bang for the taxpayer's buck; stealth-not/less likely seen/heard, less likely to be shot at first...more likely to shoot/kill first) point of view. However, I doubt many (esp. liberal civilians here in NYC) will be at ease (pun not intended) for the fact that the very system that power their environmentally friendly buses is also a key component of war machines. Moreover, a substantial portion of the funds used to procure the buses went to BAE, and thus subsidize the further development of weapons systems. Perhaps some of the dollars and cents (who am I kidding, it is virtually a certainty) that went towards those Orion buses will end up in FCS vehicles a decade from now.

Lad

I hope we are also spending money on developing intelligence systems to fight the war against terrorists. This system will work fine on a battle field against an identified army but won't do much to help us against the first line of defense against terrorists, i.e., defining who is the enemy.

I wonder what this baby cost.

Roger Pham

Agree with Jack, war is just as obsolete as slavery and the treatment of women as property, if only those who started wars realized it!

Technologically speaking, though, this mobile battlefield distributed-generation scheme is just great, and more so if co-generated heat can be utilized. Can't wait to see adaptation of this in civilian world! I mean plug-out means for your HEV if you need both the heat and the power, and if your car runs on low-cost fuel or renewable fuel.

HealthyBreeze

Well, the M1A1 abrahms tank uses a gas turbine engine for efficiency and compact power and still gets gallons-per-mile numbers.

It sounds like BAE is just using regenerative braking to charge up the batteries...big woop.

If this were substantially extending the range of the vehicle, I could see it making a difference...but it doesn't sound like it does much.

For a few $ billions we could have clean PHEV tanks equipped with eco-clean high energy laser guns to vaporize the enemy.

Green wars are coming. Are we due for Green War Congress?

Ben

I doubt the hybrid drive train will save much fuel, it will allow for "stealth mode" silent and low heat signature movement for a few miles, it will also be more rugged and damage sustaining with multiple generators and motors, it will also open the door for electro-magnetic and capacitance armour that can render shaped charge rounds useless and rail guns and electric lasers, Oh my!

fred

Great...a $20 million hunk of (ideally) rusting steel that will crush any immobile Crown Vic or AK47 it encounters.

jb

Diesel locomotives tend to be diesel-electric (series) because mechanical transmissions get too bulky and complicated at the required power and torque levels. I wonder if there were similar considerations for this, althought a self propelled howitzer or even a tank has a lot less power than a typical diesel-electric locomotive?

Way back in WWII, weak transmissions were apparently the achilles heel of the otherwise technically awe-inspiring late war German heavy and medium tanks (e.g. Panther, Tiger, KönigsTiger).

kevin

I just wish we would get more / faster flow through to civilian applications.

Now there is a defence (or defense, depending on where you live) concept

mahonj

Hybrid is ideal for these type of vehicles. They spend most of their time lurking around waiting for orders whereupon they point their gun at something and fire at it.

Hence battery electric drive is best for this type of thing.

Also, armies spend a lot of effort moving fuel to the front lines, so they should be very conscious of fuel economy.

Hopefully some of it might trickle down, on the other hand, the military tend to spend a lot of money on stuff whereas consumer producers are much more cost conscious.

Patrick

The cost conscious aspect of consumer products tends to be a bane of them at times as well.

Many technical innovations began life as military developments and were later ported to civilian applications.

BTW - lasers take way too much energy. They currently employ chemical lasers as solid state are not up to the task yet.

Brad

"So had slavery and treating women as property."

And it still is, maybe not in US and Canada, but it's still around elsewhere

Rafael Seidl

Full-track military vehicles have long featured series hybrid propulsion anyhow, so the battery slots right in. In addition to recuperating energy when braking or during hill descents, the battery provides extra power when the vehicle needs to make a quick getaway. This permits the use of an engine with lower power, which runs more effciently at cruise speeds. That translates into fewer vulnerable supply convoys.

Another advantage is that the batteries allow all systems to continue operation even when the engine is switched off and therefore not making any noise. After a few hours, it will have cooled down enough to sharply reduce the IR signature, as well.

Of course, no matter how fancy a weapons system is, it will never replace diplomacy and low-tech counter-insurgency strategy in fighing terrorist networks. In that sense, this self-propelled howitzer is a solution to a problem the West does not currently face. Now if only someone could come up with a handheld device that can reliably translate between English and Arabic...

Shauna

"So had slavery and treating women as property."

Have they stopped this in the Islamic world?

The comments to this entry are closed.