Feeds

US Army funds Prius-style hybrid battlewagon

'Aggressor' could ease US forces' thirst for fuel

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The US Army is funding the development of a prototype military hybrid vehicle operating on similar principles to the groundbreaking Toyota Prius.

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Inc of California announced it had won the contract in a release on Monday. Under the $4.88m deal, Quantum will develop a diesel hybrid version of its previous "Aggressor" prototype, a "high performance light-duty off-road fuel cell hybrid vehicle."

Company execs describe their previous fuel-cell Aggressor as "successful", but it seems to be understood that the US forces don't think fuel-cell kit is ready for the battlefield in the near future. The new hybrid version, according to Quantum, will "provide a cost-effective, near-term solution as fuel cell technology matures".

The US military, with plenty of tech funding to spread about, has been trying to find innovative ways of cutting its fuel consumption for a long time. This isn't out of any concern regarding ecological issues, but due to hard operational necessities. The primary constraint on military operations is nearly always the availability of supplies - as the old gag has it, "amateurs talk tactics, dilettantes talk strategy; professionals talk logistics".

Bulk fuel can make up over a third of an army's needs, amounting to thousands of tonnes per day for a division-sized force. Cutting down on this requirement would allow the US forces to operate further, faster, and more easily, and reduce the amount of soft targets for insurgents in theatre.

Hybrid vehicles still get their power by burning fuel like a normal car; in this case diesel or JP-8. However, a hybrid's internal combustion engine generates electric power rather than just supplying torque via a gearbox. The juice is accumulated in a storage battery, which then drives the wheels electrically. The drive motors can be used to harvest kinetic energy during braking, too, rather than wasting it as a normal car does.

All this means that a hybrid can deliver solid performance using a smaller and more economical engine, and that it uses fuel more efficiently. All this could be good news for US forces supply bods of the future; and in the case of the Aggressor there could be tactical benefits too.

"The vehicle's silent watch capability, high performance acceleration, extended range, and exportable power provide significant advantages for the US Army in communications, surveillance, targeting, and reconnaissance missions," according to Alan Niedzwiecki, president and CEO of Quantum.

Mr Niedzwiecki evidently expects that the new Aggressor will be able to shut down its diesel and go silent much more often than normal military vehicles. Its large battery seemingly won't need charging up all the time, even under the demanding power requirements of modern battlefield kit such as thermal imagers, nightsights, digital comms, satnav, and targeting lasers. The "exportable power" could mean the Aggressor will also serve as a mobile charging point for the arrays of personal and weapon electronics modern troops are tending to carry.

Electric drive also offers high acceleration away from stationary (also seen in the neck-snapping Tesla Roadster battery sports car), which could be useful for US troops; especially ones using the Aggressor's fuel economy to mount long-range deep recce missions far from friendly supply dumps. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.