By Stephanie Love, OCPAApril 6, 2009
The Emergence of Hybrid Drive Combat Vehicles
What is it'
The Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program has developed a state-of-the-art hybrid propulsion system for the Army's next generation of combat vehicles-the Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) program. This unique hybrid electric system, now integrated into a prototype MGV, powers and propels the FCS fleet of eight MGV and highlights the Army's commitment to invest in emerging alternative energy technology during this changing strategic and economic environment. Today, this robust hybrid propulsion system is in testing as part of the first MGV, the Non Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C).
What has the Army done'
Starting in the 1990s, the Army's science and technology community began partnerships with industry's leading alternative military and automotive energy innovators to develop a hybrid energy system robust enough for military combat vehicles, but still allowing for technology transfer with the commercial sector. The MGV hybrid propulsion system emerged from this effort.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future'
The NLOS-C prototype vehicle has recently completed more than 400 miles of rigorous road testing using this hybrid propulsion system. Additional simulated and actual road testing will continue on the hybrid system prior to the prototype of more MGV variants, which share this hybrid system, in the 2011 timeframe. This advanced testing allows for risk mitigation, giving industry and Army engineers more time to mature and perfect the technology. Army scientists are also working with America's leading automotive and lithium-ion battery producers in an effort to reduce MGV battery size, while increasing power output. FCS MGVs are set for full production beginning in 2015.
Why is it important to the Army'
With partnerships with more than 200 leading alternative energy companies, the Army has been at the forefront for advanced vehicle alternative energy research and development. Those efforts have now paid off with a working hybrid propulsion system in the FCS MGV program.
The hybrid system will allow for considerable fuel economy savings in the MGV fleet and has allowed designers greater flexibility in engineering the vehicles. This has left more space for mission module components and crew member survivability features. To prepare for the future, MGVs are designed to be refitted if major advancements in other alternative energy technologies, such as fuel cells, mature in the future.
Future Combat System Web site