Series Hybrid Electric Is to Serve the U.S. Army for a Generation
BAE Systems is getting set for first quarter trials of its 60- to 70-ton, 1,400-horsepower Ground Combat Vehicle for the U.S. Army. The twin-engined, series hybrid electric is to see service for 30 years or more, and its versatile architecture could find application not only for the armored troop carrier in development now, but for new Army tanks and heavy recovery (tow) vehicles, says program manager Deepak Bazaz.
With a series hybrid, he says, “you de-couple the drivetrain.” Unlike mechanical power, electrical power can be made anywhere and delivered anywhere on the vehicle. Series hybrid driveline components, Bazaz told F&F, “are like Lego blocks. You can stick them wherever you want.”
“You can take the edges off the curves,” Bazaz says. “The packaging flexibility allows you to use common components and spread them across the legacy fleet.”
MTU, Qinetic, Saft America
The GCV drive, including twin 530-kilowatt (711-horsepower) engines from Germany’s MTU, a motor/drive transmission unit from Britain’s QinetiQ, and lithium ion batteries from Saft America, has gone through more than 2,000 miles of simulated testing on a rig called the Hotbuck (F&F, August 26).
BAE, which is teamed with Northrop Grumman to develop the vehicle, intends to commence “test stand” trials in the first quarter of 2014. The test stand, despite its name, is a fully mobile vehicle just like the emerging GCV itself, replete with driveline components and hull, but with dummy weights in place of armaments.
Batteries Made in America
The GCV’s high-power lithium battery, says Jeff helm, director of defense sales for Saft America, is of the nickel-cobalt-aluminum oxide type. The 600-volt units can deliver 20 kilowatts of power per kilogram of battery in a two-second burst. With power-dense NCA designs, he says, “you can provide a properly sized battery in a small confined space” – another plus for applying the GCV technology to other Army vehicles.
The GCV battery packs are manufactured by Saft America in Cockeysville, Md., just north of Baltimore.
The GCV has exportable power too, available for communications and for powering Army installations like field hospitals. Someday, says Bazaz, it may also support a new generated of directed-energy weapons.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels interviews and follow-up