TD6 Hybrid vehicle experiment assess future support Implications
On Wednesday 19 May 21 TDInfo visited Millbrook Proving Ground to see the Technical Demonstrator 6 hybridisation vehicles.
As part of Army’s investigations exploring future power in the battlefield the TD6 activity is implementing several hybrid electric design constructs and modifying three in-service protected mobility platforms. The trials plan is designed to validate or disprove the benefits, see figure, and inform future capability investment decisions across the Command.
At the time of the visit vehicle modification was complete and the vehicle testing was getting underway. Hybridisation of in-service platforms as part of a mid-life upgrade has the potential to maximise reuse, reduce the environmental impact and supports Defence NetZero ambitions. It offers not only potentially increased operational effect but also the opportunity to engineer out obsolescence and poor performing parts replacing engines, gearbox, final drives and suspension with Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) parts.
While the experimentation informs future engineering design options and early indications, for some limited use cases, are already demonstrating improved operational effect with reduced fuel consumption, increased agility and prolonged silent watch the team are also considering the future in-service logistic and support impacts such as:
• Inherent supply risk from battery technology selection which could impact assured access to required precious metals
• Development and access to the range of engineering skills required to inspect, diagnose, maintain, and repair vehicles powered by ‘green’ technology
• Supply chain improvements required to meet the fuel consumption profile and potential benefits of reduced demand
• Opportunity to change total fleet requirements and the composition in cases where export power may negate the need for deployable generators.
While this is an activity led by a single command the lessons will have implications for many across the Support Function and findings could inform the Defence Support People Strategy, Future Energy Strategy, Fuels Transformation Programme and Sustainable Support plans.
This was an informative and thought-provoking visit with potential impact and opportunities for all in the defence sector. There will be an MoD briefing day on 14 July and an industry open day through ADS the following day. If you are involved in Land Sector or Defence Support then this is something you should not ignore.
Added: 14th June 2021