Hybrid technology is being tested by the British Army in two of its armoured vehicles as a way to improve sustainability and enhance stealth capabilities.
The Jackal 2 mobile weapons platform and the Foxhound protected patrol vehicle will be refitted with the new hybrid systems – with testing starting in November.
Prototype hybrids of each vehicle are being built as part of a £3 million investment from the Ministry of Defence to find ways to reduce its carbon footprint.
They will still keep the diesel driven internal combustion engine along with batteries and electronics for the first prototypes but that could change in future versions.
The vehicles self-charge from the diesel engine so don’t need to be plugged in, the MOD confirmed, adding it runs a generator which provides electricity to the battery.
Offering improved silent mobility, hybrid and electric systems provide sustainability benefits and deliver potential military advantages, an MOD spokesperson said.
‘Electric systems will also provide game-changing power off-board, while increased power onboard will allow the vehicles to operate the latest technologies.’
The innovative hybrid electric-drive system will be developed by Coventry-based NP Aerospace along with General Dynamics UK, Supacat and Magtec.
They will develop prototypes of the Foxhound and Jackal 2 vehicles to test the new technology with the possibility of it being rolled out more widely in future.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin, said: ‘It is vital our armoured vehicles are equipped with the latest technology so we can maintain our battle-winning edge.
‘These tests will ensure our Armed Forces have the latest, safest and most efficient technology, while continuing to support prosperity across the UK.
‘They represent a potential opportunity to improve our vehicles sustainability and military effectiveness.’
Alongside delivering multiple technical and operational enhancements, the introduction of hybrid technology will ultimately reduce the Army’s reliance on fossil fuels – a step towards the Government’s 2050 net zero goal.
Measures like this will be reflected in the department’s ongoing Climate Change and Sustainability Review, led by Lt Gen Richard Nugee.
Nugee said it was great to see the Army testing electric vehicles that will benefit both personnel and the planet.
‘This goes to show how seriously we are incorporating sustainability into our operations, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of military innovation.’
This next-generation army vehicle technology is being tested under the Protected Mobility Engineering & Technical Support (PMETS) programme.
The programme was setup to ensure that the UK’s cutting-edge fleet of 2,200 armoured vehicles are continuously updated and upgraded.
The £63m PMETS contract was awarded to NP Aerospace in 2019, supporting 100 jobs in Coventry and 250 jobs across the UK supply chain until 2024, MOD said.
The modified platforms will begin trials between November 20 and July 21 at the Millbrook Proving Ground outside Bedford.