Army Unveils First Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System for New Combat Vehicles
SANTA CLARA, Calif. --- The U.S. Army unveiled its first hybrid-electric propulsion system for a new fleet of Manned Ground Vehicles (MGVs), which will be tested and evaluated at theArmy's Power and Energy Systems Integration Laboratory.The Army said it is developing and building eight new MGV variants for 15 Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Teams (FCS BCTs). All eight commonly designed MGV variants will provide soldiers with enhanced survivability, increased speed and mobility, new network-based capabilities, and more modern, modular technology.The Army is saving money by employing a common chassis across all eight MGV variants. With 75-80 percent commonality, the MGV chassis significantly reduces design, production and sustainment costs compared to the expense of eight completely different MGV variants."The unveiling of our new MGV hybrid-electric propulsion system shows, once again, that future combat systems really are about what's happening today," said FCS BCT Program Manager Major Gen. Charles Cartwright. "With new FCS technologies, the Army is providing state-of-the-art capabilities to our soldiers sooner rather than later." For the first time, the Army will be integrating a functional hybrid-electric drive system into a combat vehicle. The drive system is part of the propulsion system that will power the vehicles. The Army is using hybrid-electric power because the more modern FCS BCTs have much greater electrical power requirements than the current-force Heavy BCTs. Hybrid-electric vehicles provide the requisite electrical power because they employ a rechargeable energy storage system. An ancillary benefit of the hybrid-electric vehicles is improved fuel economy and less reliance on oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. The first hybrid-electric MGV variant, the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), will commence production in late 2008."The MGV drive train is unique," said Col. Bryan McVeigh, product manager for MGV systems integration. "The traditional engine has been de-coupled from the drive train architecture and is designed only to recharge the energy storage system and power the vehicular systems."The hybrid drive system alone," he added, "literally will move the vehicle. This is a new and better way of moving across the battlefield."Soldiers in the Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF) will begin testing mature FCS Spin-Out 1 technologies this year at Ft. Bliss. Once the AETF has completed its evaluation, these technologies will become available for fielding to deployed forces. Precursor FCS technologies, including the PacBot Tactical Robot and Micro (Unmanned) Air Vehicle, already are being used by solders in Iraq and Afghanistan.Future Combat Systems (FCS) is the Army's principal modernizationprogram. FCS consists of a family of manned and unmanned air and ground systems and sensors, all connected by a common network.