In March 2010, BAE Systems received a contract to develop an onboard vehicle power management system designed to improve U.S. Marine Corps mission effectiveness by significantly increasing electric power available to ground forces.
The contract calls for installation of a power management system in a government-furnished High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle for test and evaluation by the Marine Corps in the summer of 2010. The Marine Corps is evaluating systems from two suppliers and plans to award a contract for five to 10 additional systems later this year.
The system will more than triple the HMMWV's electric power output and provide exportable power to support facilities such as forward-deployed command centers and field hospitals. It also can provide mobile emergency power during natural disasters. The contract award is part of the Marine Corps' Onboard Vehicle Power program, funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"BAE Systems recognizes the need for more electricity to power the equipment of the modern military," said Marion Van Fosson, general manager of military vehicle systems for BAE Systems. "Our system supports the Marine Corps' commitment to develop and field new solutions that reduce energy consumption and dependence on fossil fuels. Most importantly, the technology will help improve mission effectiveness."
BAE Systems will perform vehicle integration work that expands the HMMWV's power generation capability to 30 kilowatts of continuous mobile onboard power, directly supporting Marine Corps expeditionary units. The integrated, modular, scalable system generates and manages power for use on the vehicle and as an exportable power source, eliminating the need for towed generators and improving the HMMWV's mobility.
The system also manages electrified automotive accessory systems such as water pumps, engine fans, power steering pumps, and air conditioning. Electrifying these traditionally belt-driven systems improves mobility by providing more horsepower to drive the vehicle, improving fuel economy, and extending engine life.
BAE Systems' onboard power management system is currently used on the U.S. military's Paladin Integrated Management vehicle and demonstrated on the HMMWV, Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, and Stryker vehicles.
Back in 2006, BAE Systems Swedish subsidiary Hagglunds AB offered a glimpse of the future of military land systems when it showed a completely reconfigurable electrical vehicle with interchangeable, specialized mission modules, and a choice of wheeled or tracked drives, both electrically driven.
SEP has a low total weight of just 17 tonnes and an ingenious load changing system which enables a vehicle to be quickly refitted with specialized mission modules suitable for different tasks (from towing and ambulance through to troop carrier, rocket launcher, command centre, etc). The vehicle can run in stealth mode on the battery in complete silence and the electrical drive and electrical gearbox enable a number of new capabilities not possible with a traditional diesel power. For example, with the 6X6 configuration, the six wheels can be controlled individually which enables the vehicle to turn on the spot.
In 2007, BAE Systems Hägglunds progressed the development of its new line of electric wheeled and tracked military vehicles by commissioning Danaher Motion, the motion control and drive system manufacturer, to develop the propulsion system including power generators, electric motors for traction and steering, drive electronics and auxiliary power components.
Sponsored by FMV (Sweden's Defence Material Administration), Hägglunds' next generation military vehicle family has been designed to provide increased mobility and availability of on-board electrical power. The unique electric design allows for volume-efficient packaging and high load capability while maintaining C-130 transportability. The current design is sufficiently modular to allow for consideration of a hybrid electric drive option.
BAE Systems demonstrated the first hybrid electric drive system for ground combat vehicles in 2007, as part of the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. The hybrid electric drive system effort was led by BAE in a joint development with General Dynamics Land Systems in partnership with the Army and the FCS Lead Systems Integrator Boeing and SAIC.
The FCS Manned Ground Vehicles (MGV) family of eight vehicles was the first ever planned operational Army group of ground combat vehicles to use hybrid electric technology. The first vehicle to use the hybrid electric drive technology was the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), the lead FCS ground combat vehicle that began production in 2008. The NLOS-C, was designed and built by BAE in partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems, is a fully automated, 155mm self-propelled howitzer.
"This is an extraordinary milestone for the FCS Program," Hugo Croft, vice president, FCS and Advanced Programs at BAE, said in a statement. "Teamwork and hard work by the best of industry enabled the integration of these hybrid drive components. The result is a hybrid electric drive system with improved fuel economy and a resultant reduction in the Army's logistics footprint. Its advanced energy storage, electric traction drive, power generation, regenerative braking, and integrated power management technology all serve to provide our warfighter's increased performance and unprecedented flexibility."
Dennis Muilenburg, vice president-general manager, Boeing Combat Systems and FCS program manager, said "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."
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 manoeuvrability;
- 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
- Produces high amounts of electrical power - equivalent to the demand of 300 typical American homes and over 10 times that provided by a current force vehicle.
There is sufficient electric power to enable the use of future high power technologies. Additionally, the MGV design allows future improvements by decoupling the power generation unit from the drive train architecture. The existing power generation unit can be replaced by a fuel cell, for example, once the technology has matured to further improve fuel consumption, acoustic signature, and mobility performance.
Recently, BAE Systems has set up a joint company with Mahindra and Mahindra in India to make military vehicles, some of them hybrid electric. There is an exciting but complex technology roadmap for battery management systems including energy harvesting and self-powered wireless sensors as developed by the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems at VirginiaTech.
Also attend: Future of Electric Vehicles which uniquely covers the whole electric vehicle market - land, sea, air whether hybrid or pure EV - with emphasis on future breakthroughs.