Eco-Living Magazine

U.S. Military to Develop Green Combat Vehicles?

Posted on the 09 November 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

U.S. Military to Develop Green Combat Vehicles?Okay, Ground Combat Vehicles (GCV), not tanks. But the part about getting such a huge, heavy, important military vehicle to go green is accurate. Defense contractor BAE Systems is looking to deliver a design for a hybrid-electric, next-generation GCV as the Army looks for ways to modernize its armored fighting vehicles. Similar to a tank, GCVs are large, has mounted guns that can swivel, and is enclosed. However, GCVs are one of the vehicles that carry soldiers into combat. They are usually in a larger deployment that can actually include main battle tanks. BAE Systems and Northrup Grumman won a $450 million contract to develop a new GCV.

BAE’s vice president of Weapons Systems, Mark Signorelli, was quoted by GreenBiz as saying “we’re very hopeful this will be the first vehicle to make it all the way to production.” The following interview explains how the decision was made to go with a hybrid-drive. This is not a Prius, to be sure, but the way it functions is quite similar. And, the upshot of the technology is that reduced fuel consumption means less gasoline used by the vehicles which means less need for fuel convoys to refill the vehicles on the march. Since the refueling points are some of the most vulnerable sections of the supply chain and the convoys are especially susceptible, the number of casualties will also be reduced. As Mark put it, “I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 percent of the casualties that were incurred in Iraq were from convoys that were delivering fuel and supplies. It’s one of the more vulnerable points on a battlefield, so anything you can do to reduce the exposure of soldiers in that environment helps save lives.” If there was ever a reason for going green, that is it.

 Excerpt from GreenBiz below.

LG: When you’re educating users, soldiers, and they express fears that are often associated with hybrids, what’s the response? This is not a plug-in, but …

MS: This is not a plug-in. It’s much the opposite. You could pull this vehicle up to a fixed installation, like a hospital or a school, and you could plug that fixed installation into the vehicle. … It’s a diesel-electric system. We have diesel generators on the vehicle, regenerative breaking and steering, and a rather large battery pack that helps to buffer those periods when the generators are coming up to speed. It’s sort of two-edged sword. I get [told]: “You know, it sounds like this is a Prius for the battlefield.” And, yes, from a functional standpoint, it operates almost exactly like a Prius. But it’s a much more robust, rugged system than you would find in a passenger car. And it’s made to operate in these very challenging environments.

[Image: FREDRIK BRODÉN FOR TIME]


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