Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Diesel-Electric Hybrid Army Vehicle

According to Popular Mechanics, the U.S. Army has a second-generation prototype off-road vehicle called "The Aggressor." It uses a diesel-electric hybrid power source.
A wider, 66-in. body design makes room for high-performance acceleration—as military vehicles go—with the second-gen Aggressor set to rev from 0-40 mph in four seconds and top out at 80 mph. But speed is not the main attraction here; stealth is. The Aggressor’s design provides battery-only operations, allowing it to switch into “silent mode” with a reduced thermal signature.
-- Popular Mechanics, May 22, 2007
The silent mode could help protect U.S. troops from some types of attacks, but saving fuel may be equally important. The same article says (emphasis added):
“We believe that the AMV program offers an innovative solution as a long-range reconnaissance vehicle that fills a technology gap for the U.S. Army in its national defense efforts while reducing its fuel logistic burden,” said Alan Niedzwieki, president and CEO of Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies, which the Army contracted for both versions of the Aggressor.
They didn't mention anything about protecting the environment, because I guess that would have sounded silly. But it does make me think about the bizarre prospect of "environmentally friendlier war." Will we one day see hydrogen-powered drone planes dropping bombs made from recycled materials? Soldiers wearing gear made from hemp, living in solar-powered bamboo barracks? It could happen eventually, if only to save on costs.

Update: Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada is constructing "North America's Largest solar photovoltaic power system" with 70,000 solar panels. Read the article.

4 comments:

Shannon said...

"environmentally friendlier war."

That's wrong on so many levels. Although I think you're right, any incorporation of that sort of thing would be based on cost savings and not any higher purpose. Hail to the free market.

FieldsOfClover

WorldWithoutToil said...

In the long term, sustainable options are also the most economical options. but sustainability doesn't mean environmentally friendly. The last thing we want is a sustainable military-industrial complex.

B said...

In the long term, sustainable options are also the most economical options.

Only if there's no other options to move to. Clearly, at present that is true for petroleum as an energy source. It's not a blanket truth, though.

The last thing we want is a sustainable military-industrial complex.

Eh? Isn't an unsustainable one ipso facto worse?

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