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Next Generation Lightweight All Terrain Utility Vehicles for Modern Military Operations Hybrid Ultra-Light Combat Vehicles for Military Tactical Mobility Fresh Challenges The Future is Lightweight Fueling the Next Generation The Future of Military Utility Vehicles

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Next Generation Lightweight All Terrain Utility Vehicles for Modern Military Operations Hybrid Ultra-Light Combat Vehicles for Military Tactical Mobility


Fresh Challenges The Future is Lightweight Fueling the Next Generation The Future of Military Utility Vehicles

Foreword 2 Tom Cropper, Editor

Hybrid Ultra-Light Combat Vehicles for Military Tactical Mobility


Thomas Brown, Product Development Engineer, MILSPRAY Military TechnologiesÂŽ Sponsored by

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UTV Vehicle Benefits for Military

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Fresh Challenges Money Worries The Need to Modernize Hybrid Power

The Future is Lightweight Bulking Up

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Fueling the Next Generation


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The Future of Military Utility Vehicles

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References 15

Big Investment, Big Risk Experience Counts


Tom Cropper, Editor

Rapid Innovation Staying Safe Fueling

Cover photo - USS AMERICA LHA6 (photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries) WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 1


Foreword A

CROSS THE world armies are launching

armor rather than more. These new, faster and more

projects to find a next generation of vehicles

agile vehicles enhance driver safety very simply by

to replace what increasingly looks like an outdated fleet. In doing so, they have to look carefully at current and future operations and assess how military needs are changing now and into the future. Our lead article comes from Thomas Brown, Product Development Engineer at MILSPRAY Military Technologies®. As he argues, both the nature of warfare and the market in which the military operates are changing. Oil price volatility, tight budgets and increasing scrutiny on carbon emissions heighten the need to reduce fuel consumption. At the same time, lighter, go-anywhere vehicles offer increased functionality across a military unit. We will then look more closely at how and why

making them much harder to hit. James Butler then looks at some of the key trends affecting all terrain utility vehicles particularly the need to find a more sustainable source of fuel. The army is one of the most fuel-hungry organizations on the planet – reducing usage can help it become more sustainable from a financial and environmental standpoint. Finally, we’ll cast our eyes forward to the future. As so often with the military, the ideas for future vehicles often come straight from the pages of science fiction. We’ll try to analyze those developments which could truly transform utility vehicles now and into the future.

demand is changing. The need now is for vehicles which are more effective, affordable and safe and, as Jo Roth discovers, that often means the counterintuitive idea of developing vehicles which have less

Tom Cropper Editor

Tom Cropper has produced articles and reports on various aspects of global business over the past 15 years. He has also worked as a copywriter for some of the largest corporations in the world, including ING, KPMG and the World Wildlife Fund.



Hybrid Ultra-Light Combat Vehicles for Military Tactical Mobility Thomas Brown, Product Development Engineer, MILSPRAY Military Technologies®

Oil/Energy Problem The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest consumer of fossil fuel products of any single institution in the world. At 117 million barrels of oil and $17 billion in fuel costs in fiscal year 2011 (Schwartz, Blackeley, & O’Rourke, 2012), the DoD’s use of fuel accounts for approximately 2% of petroleum consumption for the United States (“Total Petroleum Consumption - 2011”, 2016), and 3% of the DoD’s $548.9-billion-dollar base budget (Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request, 2010). This level of fuel consumption is higher than consumed by entire countries such as Austria, Ecuador, and Switzerland (“International Energy Statistics - EIA”, n.d.). The DoD has stated that 75% of its energy is used for operational purposes such as training, moving, and sustaining military forces (Schwartz, Blackeley, & O’Rourke, 2012)). Fossil fuels are a critical resource for our military, and this dependence can be detrimental. The instability of oil prices and supplies can result in erratic and unexpected costs. In 2011 alone, the U.S. military spent an additional two million dollars in fuel costs, over the original budget (Consensus for American Security, 2012). With over 93% of the military’s transportation sector dependent on petroleum based fuel, operating without this fuel is not an option (Decker, 2013). In attempting to lessen the volatility of oil prices, military forces are bound to protect oil supplies in dangerous regions of the world. In doing so, we are putting our men and women of the armed forces in harm’s way (Decker, 2013) as well as the added cost of deployment of our forces and assets to protect the oil resources. Additionally, in the field, the transportation of oil supplies to and from base camps is a dangerous endeavor. Because of these issues concerning fossil fuel, the military has established a goal of reducing consumption. Current agency goals include the use of alternative energy sources for 50% of the needed energy requirements by 2020.


Many agencies have set their minimum goals for renewable energy production at the same level as they currently consume. This is known as net zero goals (Hoy, 2008). The Department of Defense’s goal to reduce oil consumption is an effective and much needed measure to increase our national security.

UTV Vehicle Benefits for Military In recent years, the DoD has begun looking into ultra-light weight tactical mobility (UTM) vehicles, to improve the capability and fuel efficiency of its fleet. A large part of the net zero goals will rely on the fuel usage by both tactical and nontactical vehicles. With such high operational costs, the military must find a way to reduce the fuel consumption used in transport and training. Because the DoD cannot decrease equipment usage, the only viable option to reduce fuel consumption is by looking at more efficient vehicles. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 3


The Department of Defense’s goal to reduce oil consumption is an effective and much needed measure to increase our national security


The use of UTMs provides the DoD with a number of benefits that include increased mobility, internal (air) transport, and increased fuel efficiency. Over the past two decades, the use of improvised explosive devices (IED), rocket propelled grenades, and other explosive devices has increased substantially. Because of this, the military has been focused on the increased armor protection of its vehicles. Vehicles such as the up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, UAH) and the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles have been developed to counteract these devices and protect our warfighters. As a result of this increased protection capacity, transport vehicles are ever increasing in both size and weight. The M998 HMMWV possesses a curb weight of approximately 5,380 pounds. The UAH increases this weight to an estimated 7,000 lbs. This increase in curb weight limits both the fuel efficiency of the vehicles and the vehicle’s mobility. Larger, heavier vehicles are limited in their ability to traverse different environments. The MRAP, when fully loaded, can see fuel consumption of three miles per gallon, while the HMMWV can see less than 12 miles per gallon. Improved infrastructures are required to support the vehicles of these heavier weight and fuel consumption. A twenty ton MRAP cannot travel over any bridge: the bridge must be a sizable structure to support its load. The vehicles are also limited in their transportability as many are not transportable by most operational aircraft and amphibious ships. All of this, along with the larger engines, tires, and overall vehicles rofiles make these operational vehicles more vulnerable to audible and optical detection out in the field (Rand Corporation, 2015). The vehicles designed to protect our service members, are actually becoming a larger target and, thus, placing the warfighters in harm’s way.



Ultra-light tactical mobility vehicles allow Military units to perform a number of tasks with additional advantages. Some of these tasks can be performed by larger, heavier vehicles. However, the high maneuverability of UTMs provides the warfighters the ability to perform the same tasks quickly, with lower fuel consumption, while being much more inconspicuous when compared to larger vehicles. Tasks such as reconnaissance and patrol can benefit from the high mobility of UTMs which allow them to travel in different and rougher terrains. Pursuit or evacuation situations can be improved with the UTM’s high speed capability. Though UTMs may not be the best choice for every mission, they give Military personnel another option that can better fit a number of tactical needs. Soldiers are required to carry a large number of electronics on their persons for every mission. Flashlights, radios, navigational equipment, and other command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment are only a few of the required personal payloads needed. All of this equipment requires a power source and, due to the inability to remain grid tied at all times, soldiers are dependent on batteries to power their personal equipment. A typical US Airborne soldier can be required to carry in excess of 16 pounds of batteries to power equipment for extended missions (Robinson, 2015). This amount of battery weight can be better used to carry other equipment such as ammunition or hydration or food resources. Sixteen pounds is equivalent to approximately 2 gallons of water. UTMs allow soldiers to take vehicles further into the operational area, which allows the vehicle to play a larger role during the mission. By reducing the amount of time that a soldier is on foot, UTMs enable soldiers to travel faster, further, and longer, and reduce the strain of carrying equipment and resources into the mission. (Rand Corporation, 2015).

eXV-1 Solution MILSPRAY Military Technologies®’ eXV-1 is a hybrid powered, all-terrain, ultra-light weight, tactical vehicle. The differentiators for this vehicle lie in three key areas: Mobility, Stealth, and Warfighter Protection. The eXV-1 vehicle is propelled using a central electric motor, fed by lithium polymer batteries. Energy to the batteries can be supplied from grid tied power, or by using the vehicle’s onboard generator powered by a diesel engine. The vehicle can travel 250 miles on a full tank of fuel and 50 miles in silent mode drawing only from lithium batteries. To increase resource effectiveness, the eXV-1 has been designed to work with MILSPRAY’s Scorpion Energy Hunter® and use solar generated power to further reduce the user’s dependence on grid power. The Scorpion Energy Hunter® is an



integrated power management, energy storage, and energy harvesting system housed in a containerized, expeditionary, deployable format. Optimized for performance and weight characteristics, the eXV-1 is an all-terrain vehicle that can travel anywhere more efficiently than most conventional vehicles. Attention to the vehicle’s weight, dimensions, and dynamic package have been a focal point in the vehicle’s design. Selectable 2WD/4WD differentials, a two speed transmission, and run flat tires allow the eXV-1 to complete its mission under any conditions. A light frame and small agile package permit the eXV-1 to navigate difficult and confined terrains and environments. The vehicle is also internally transportable within the C-130 Hercules, V-22 Osprey, and CH47 Chinook aircraft and at Maximum Vehicle Gross Weight (MVGW) of 5000 pounds it can be air lifted under a UH-60 Black Hawk at night and in hot conditions. The eXV-1 can be operated in both all electric and generation modes. In the 100% electric mode, the vehicle can travel up to 50 miles completely silent. This operation mode is useful in patrolling and pursuit activities. By allowing soldiers to approach the target area quickly, quietly, and


effectively, the eXV-1 affords increased safety and operational effectiveness. With this ability, soldiers can travel further. When additional range is required, the 7.5 gallon diesel or JP8 fueled engine can be started automatically to drive the generator and increase the total range of operations to 300 miles. When the vehicle is not being used for transport, the on-board batteries can supply 22kW of electricity to power and charge necessary equipment. The eXV-1 is equipped to power a large number of C4ISR equipment in the field. MILSPRAY’s eXV-1 incorporates a variety of protection methods for occupants. The MILSPRAY® Ballistic Resistant System (BRS) provides ballistic protection for occupants and key vehicle components. The BRS is an Underwriter’s Laboratory Level 7 (UL-7) rated system which can sustain multiple impacts for a 5.56 NATO, or up to 7.62x39, rounds while maintaining protection for the occupants. Additionally, the underbody of the vehicle is equipped with blast mitigating skid plate to reduce the effectiveness of IEDs or other ground level blast collisions. To protect the vehicle from abrasive or corrosive damage, MILSPRAY’s Tough CoatTM is used throughout the vehicle to protect it from environmental and physical hazards, and extend the life of the vehicle. Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) paint can be applied as Tough CoatTM to reduce the vehicles detection under visual and IR surveillance. The eXV-1 has the option for gun holsters and a machine gun mount and can tow up to 2000 pounds. The eXV-1 is the right solution for the warfighter deployed to the front and behind enemy lines, border protection, drug interdiction and antipoaching missions. The quiet mode can also be used when in sensitive wildlife areas. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 5


By reducing the amount of time that a soldier is on foot, UTMs enable soldiers to travel faster, further, and longer, and reduce the strain of carrying equipment and resources into the mission


References: Consensus for American Security (2012). The Military’s Oil is Putting Our Forces at Risk. American Security Project. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from http://www.americansecurityproject.org/the-militarys-dependence-on-oil-is-putting-our-forces-at-risk/ Decker, B. (2013). GEN. JAMES CONWAY: Oil dependence limits U.S. military options. Rare. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from http://rare.us/story/gen-james-conway-oil-dependence-limits-u-s-military-options/ DoD’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Initiatives. (2011) (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://www.eesi.org/files/dod_eere_factsheet_072711.pdf Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request. (2010) (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://archive.defense.gov/news/d2010rolloutbrief1.pdf Hoy, P. (2008). Forbes Welcome. Forbes.com. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/2008/06/05/mileage-military-vehicles-tech-logistics08-cz_ph_0605fuel.html International Energy Statistics - EIA. Eia.gov. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from https://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm?tid=5&pid=5&aid=2 Rand Corporation,. (2015). Assessing Conventional Army Demands and Requirements for Ultra-Light Tactical Mobility. Rand Corporation. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR718.html Robinson, P. (2015). What Do Soldiers Carry and What’s Its Weight?. Protonex.com. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from https://protonex.com/blog/what-do-soldiers-carry-and-whats-its-weight/ Schwartz, M., Blackeley, K., & O’Rourke, R. (2012). Department of Defense Energy Initiatives: Background and Issues for Congress (1st ed.). Congressional Research Serice. Retrieved from https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42558.pdf Total Petroleum Consumption - 2013*. Eia.gov. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/



Fresh Challenges Tom Cropper, Editor

A range of cost, environmental and operational considerations pose a difficult challenge for the next generation of lightweight military vehicles.


N 1902 FR Simms and Vickers produced the first armored car for the military. The Simms Motor War car wasn’t much to look at, but it heralded a new era of military transport – when cars would replace the horse as the main source of transport in the combat arena. Ever since, they have played an integral role but have continually had to update their offering to cope with fresh challenges and new realities. Today, that evolution continues as lightweight military vehicles find themselves catering to conflicting demands of saving money and energy, while also providing enhanced protection to troops.

Money Worries The most immediate and pressing problem is money. Spending figures surrounding fuel use in the military are eye-watering. The US alone is the largest consumer of liquid fuels in the world and spent $17bn on fuel in 2012. Even attempts to cut fuel end up spending more money. In 2015, a report showed the army had spent $43million1 on a remote fueling station in Afghanistan. The project had been intended to demonstrate how Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves could offer an affordable alternative to expensive oil imports. However, the eventual cost spiraled to more than 140 times a similar project in Pakistan. The cost of fuel skyrockets once the cost of transporting fuel securely to hazardous locations is factored in. One estimate suggests that the cost of military fuel is 100 times that of civilian2. Given the budget constraints of the army, the cost quickly becomes unsustainable. Since the deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, most western militaries have been pivoting towards a peacetime level of military spending. After ten years of near constant deployment, this has been something of a shock to the army. The US army budget for 2017 continues the troop drawdown begun in 2012 with a cut of 15,000 soldiers in the active army3. With money tight, the army has sacrificed modernization in favor of readiness, meaning spending on new equipment will be limited4.

There are signs of a change. In 2016, the UK announced its first budget increase in six years as it pledged to continue meeting its NATO obligation of spending 2% of GDP on defense5. A new range of threats and challenges including an aggressive Russia and China, terrorism, piracy and the war in Syria give defense a more important status.

The Need to Modernize In addition, the army needs to modernize for a new age of warfare particularly in relation to its vehicles. The experience of warfare in the desert highlighted a number of problems with vehicles. Some were unable to operate in the heat, fuel consumption proved too high and thin skinned 4x4s proved vulnerable to IEDs and RPGs. Small shoulder-mounted rocket launchers had previously been considered for use only against more heavily armored personnel carriers. However, the low cost and maneuverability of these weapons made them ideal for low tech combatants. Armies in the UK, Europe and the US are running various projects to produce the next generation of military vehicles, but questions remain over what direction projects will take. Will they have more armor to combat new threats or even less to make them more agile? DOD figures in 2009 found that casualty rates in the heavily armored MRAP were 6% compared with 15% for the lighter skinned M1 Abrams and 22% for a Humvee6. This additional armor, though, increases weight, reduces speed and restricts vehicles to roads. Other projects will be looking at reducing weight including armor in favor of faster, more agile vehicles which can go anywhere and are more difficult to detect.

A Sustainable Future A key part of that future will be the army’s sizable carbon footprint. Estimates suggest the DOD alone emits more than 70 million tons of carbon – equivalent to the total carbon emissions of WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 7


Since the deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, most western militaries have been pivoting towards a peacetime level of military spending

Nigeria. The Paris Climate deal ensured armed forces around the world, including the US, would no longer automatically be exempt from having their emissions included in ambitious reduction targets7. The army is comfortably the largest consumer of fuel in the world. In the US, for instance, the DOD’s consumption accounts for 2% of the country’s overall fuel use. Considering it spends $17bn on fuel and over 90% of vehicle operations are dependent on fuel, it is simply no longer sustainable under the current climate. The military is therefore working hard to reduce consumption and a major plank in this strategy is renewable fuels. The army plans to source 50% of its energy needs from alternative fuel sources8.

Hybrid Power This will mean an increase in the use of electric and hybrid motors. An electric drive will power vehicles in normal operations while a petrol or diesel engine can provide additional horsepower for higher speeds. Not only can this dramatically decrease the army’s consumption of fossil fuels but it also has key strategic value in allowing vehicles to operate with a reduced


noise signature – and consequentially, a reduced risk of detection. In 2013, figures from Navigant Research suggested the US military could be on course to spend $2,4bn on electrical vehicles – both hybrid electric and plug-in electric. It would purchase more than 90,000 electric vehicles for non-tactical use9. Scott Shepard, analyst at Navigant Research, said: “In remote theatres of operations, the cost of moving fuels to forward military locations can be a multiple of the cost of the fuel itself. The military’s approach to reducing fossil fuel consumption from non-tactical operations includes acquiring increasing numbers of vehicles powered by ethanol blend and biodiesel blend fuels, but the majority of the investment will go toward HEVs and PEVs.” Such fuels may not be able to power some of the larger and more powerful vehicles – at least not in the short to medium term – but they can poke a sizable hole in fuel consumption. They are giving rise to a new sector of ultra-light combat vehicles which promise to deliver the ambitious goals of achieving more mobile, effective, safe and affordable vehicles.


The Future is Lightweight Jo Roth, Staff Writer

Fast moving lightweight vehicles offer a glimpse at the future, but can they really keep their occupants safe?


HE ARMY is driving towards two seemingly conflicting goals. On the one hand it wants to save money and cut fuel consumption but, on the other, it has to provide additional protection to troops fighting in an increasingly volatile environment. To many, the answer lies in a new generation of ultra-light all-terrain vehicles – an idea which flies in the face of historic trends.

Bulking Up The last few years have seen the army forced to increase the weight of its light armored vehicles. The deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq saw the proliferation of threats in the shape of roadside IEDs and RPGs. The latter, in particular, caused havoc against thin skinned army vehicles which were hopelessly ill-equipped to provide adequate protection. To counter this threat, vehicles began to bulk up. It started with reports of crew welding adhoc armor onto the sides of Humvees. In some cases, soldiers were reported as hiring local Iraqi mechanics to weld on any available metal to provide a measure of protection. Very quickly this was being referred to as ‘Hagi armor’. Others were contacting private army contractors when they learned that the required equipment to undertake these rapid retrofits was not available directly from the army itself10. The army was slow to catch up. Cage armor was increasingly used on lighter vehicles as well as metal plating. While these could offer additional protection, they added significantly to weight and vehicle profiles. Vehicles became slower and more cumbersome. Fuel costs also increased adding, not only to expense, but also creating a host of logistical challenges. Most importantly of all, these larger and slower vehicles presented an easier and more tempting target for the enemy. Additionally, metal plating could sheer off and create further risk of injury.

New Thinking In replacing the current fleet of military vehicles, therefore, new thinking is coming to the table.

DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technology project, for example, specifically sets out to challenge the notion that more armor equals safer vehicles. The program released an eye- catching video to describe its concept, which focuses on four main areas: signature management, radically enhanced mobility, survivability through agility and crew augmentation. These will, they believe, create vehicles which can navigate independently around perceived threats and keep passengers safe from harm. Ultra-light vehicles offer a number of clear advantages over their more heavily armored counterparts: •M  obility: They are light and more agile with the ability to cover terrain that a heavily armored personnel carrier could not. • Speed: Light weight means faster speed. •N  oise: Depending on how they are powered, ultra-light vehicles offer a much lower signature – and as such a lower risk of detection. Many new models being proposed come with hybrid electric motors, which offer near silent running at low speeds. DARPA’s program, and others like it, is all about transformative technology – radical innovations which may change the way the army works in the future. However, as the experiences in Afghanistan prove, what is really needed are ground-breaking new technologies, which are available now. Those are coming. In another promotional video, MILSPRAY® showcases its answer. Rather than the CGI of DARPA’s presentation, this has the advantage of having a working model available to use right now. The eXV-1 resembles a pumped up all terrain buggy. It incorporates lightweight composite amour rated to Underwriters Laboratories Level 7, designed to provide protection and survivability without compromising performance. The armor is coated with MILSPRAY’s Tough Coat anti-corrosive coating, which offers protection from scratches and corrosion. The ultra-lightweight design adheres to one of the more important aspects of survivability: ‘don’t get hit’. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 9


DARPA’s program, and others like it, is all about transformative technology – radical innovations which may change the way the army works in the future

In addition, it has an option of 2WD/4WD, run flat tires, double A arm suspension and up to 160kW available from the hybrid drive. This comprises an electric motor coupled with high performance lithium polymer batteries, which can be charged externally. As well as offering low energy consumption and reducing the army’s reliance on fossil fuels, this has the added benefit of a vastly reduced engine signature in comparison to a regular internal combustion engine. It is lighter, faster and quieter – able to cover a wider range of terrain and capable of avoiding detection from the enemy.

An Exciting Opportunity As such it represents an ideal fit for DARPA’s desire for lightly armored agile vehicles. As part of this, the US Army has released a requirement for three light armored vehicles: • Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) • Ultra-Lightweight Combat (UCLV) • Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV) These include light vehicles to be carried to locations on aircraft, capable of being placed in remote and hazardous environments. These new requirements represent an exciting opportunity for development firms such as MILSPRAY® if they can deliver a new generation of vehicles capable of meeting those requirements.


To do so they need not only to produce the technology, but to ensure it is capable of operating in the real world.

Meeting the Challenges So what challenges would the real world present? The first is to ensure armor can provide the protection troops need. Ensuring plating has been rated as high as possible is crucial, so buyers need to know as much as possible about its design and how it has been tested. Reliability is crucial. These vehicles will be operating in some of the more inhospitable environments the world has to offer. Bodywork has to be resistant to the elements while engines must be durable and capable of prolonged operation in all climate conditions from extreme heat to extreme cold. Electric hybrid engines will need to be recharged easily, on the go, without reverting to a specially designed station. The trend today is counter intuitive in many respects, given the increasing threat lightweight military vehicles face in day to day operations. However, such vehicles can increase significantly the army’s overall effectiveness, while also adding to the safety of soldiers. This is creating a breed of vehicles which can truly deliver on the entire spectrum of the military’s needs.


Fueling the Next Generation James Butler, Correspondent

How the army is looking to power itself into a more sustainable future.


HE MARKET faces a mixture of challenges and opportunities. On the up side there is widespread recognition of the need to change. Current fleets are increasingly looking long in the tooth compared with the demands of modern warfare. On the downside, budget constraints mean military commanders are having to be extremely careful about how they spend. Extravagant new systems may well be pushed onto the back burner as the army prioritizes combat readiness over modernization. The balance between what the army needs and what it can afford will be a major trend in purchasing decisions. For all that, the overall prospects of the light military vehicle market are good. Indeed, a recent report suggests the market could explode over the next few years. A study from Forecast International said the market for light wheeled vehicles will be worth at least $30bn by 2024 and will shift 36,000 units worldwide11. However, the report did add the caveat that growth was largely being fueled by projects such as the US Military’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle project and, if this did not survive budget cuts, growth would be much smaller. The need for new vehicles will drive demand, but this will be balanced by increased caution surrounding budgets. New vehicles will have to work harder to convinced buyers of their worth.

The Rise of New Fuels This price caution plays into another dominant trend – the need to find alternative replacements for fossil fuels. New international agreements are placing pressure on all industries to manage their carbon footprints and the military is not necessarily going to be exempt. Throughout the western hemisphere, some of the largest forces in the world are implementing ambitious plans to cut their energy use and to transfer to renewables. The UK’s Ministry of Defence, for example, has set out a comprehensive strategy for sustainability moving towards 202512. The US and other major forces have similar strategies in place, while they are also looking to reduce dramatically their reliance on fossil fuels.

Attention is therefore moving towards greener alternatives to petrol or diesel. In 2012, the US Army Energy Initiatives Task Force issued a draft proposal for renewable energy contracts with $7bn on offer to develop new technologies13. Over the past ten years, the military has been investing millions of dollars into hybrid electric drives, which combine an electrical motor with regular combustion for greater efficiency. Studies using a hybrid drive found that a 70 ton vehicle would use 14,700 gallons of fuel for a 180-day campaign while a hybrid drive would consume just 8,78014. With hybrid drives already having success in the commercial automotive world, there is a good head start to work with. Even so, it’s taken decades of work and countless demonstrator models to come up with viable options. The nature of military work makes hybrid installation challenging. Space is limited within a military vehicle, while units also need to be extremely light. The requirements of military drivers are vastly different to their civilian counterparts. Electrical loads are much higher, while the use of heavy military armor means an increase in the heat surrounding electronics. Add to that the rigors of coping with daily long- term operations in some of the harshest environments in the world – and the fact that spare parts will not necessarily always be available – and you have a major obstacle to progress. Hybrid electric drives are now making progress, but to be effective they are having to pass an extremely high performance bar. The long and rocky road hybrid technologies have endured adds to the sense of caution among buyers. Other developments focus on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Again, the army benefits from existing research and development from the commercial world. The US army is in the process of unveiling the result of a partnership with General Motors to produce a new concept vehicle powered by fuel cells. The partnership fits in with the Pentagon’s intention of including commercial research in the next generation of technologies. “Hydrogen fuel cells as a power source have the potential to bring to the force incredibly valuable WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 11


Hybrid electric drives are now making progress, but to be effective they are having to pass an extremely high performance bar


capabilities,” said TARDEC director Paul Rogers. “We expect the vehicle to be quiet in operation and ready to provide electricity generation for needs away from the vehicle.

Lighter Vehicles The development of next generation fuels such as hybrid generators is perhaps helped by another key development. As mentioned elsewhere in this report, the US army in particular has expressed a desire for less armor rather than more in its next generation of technologies. It is searching for power options which provide small, fast and nimble vehicles. Such a desire removes some of the obstacles standing between hybrid engines and military use, such as the need to operate while encased in layers of armor. These smaller vehicles may require a lower power output from the engine 12 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

and be easier to offer the extreme reliability the army needs. The army has reached a moment of real change – when it needs next generation technologies that offer a dramatic rethink on convention. Alternative fuel sources such as those discussed in this article will play a critical role in deciding whether or not the army succeeds in its ambitious goals of making enormous sustainability savings over the next few years. However, there are hurdles to be overcome. The technology has been years in development, but even now it still seems relatively new and untested. New projects have floundered in the past, which makes the going just a little bit more difficult for those which come afterwards in terms of convincing skeptical buyers. Even so, this is a challenge the army needs to face if it is to succeed in meeting its goals in the future.


The Future of Military Utility Vehicles Tom Cropper, Editor

Uncertainty reigns over what exactly military utility vehicles should look like in the future.


VERY NOW and again there comes a time when conventional thinking doesn’t work anymore – military vehicles have reached one of those moments. The requirements of the army moving into the next ten years will be considerable: they need vehicles that are fast, agile, mobile, fuel efficient and, above all, safe. Unfortunately, existing designs cannot do what the army wants and needs. It’s not just a case of advancing existing vehicle designs; it’s a case of rethinking the entire game completely, which is why some of the ideas proposed for future military vehicles are so striking.

Rapid Innovation Just look at some of the concepts in progress: advanced fuels, automated driving, enhanced armor and state of the art defense systems. Developers are pushing forward the boundaries of what’s possible. Military vehicle design is indeed entering an exciting, but unpredictable phase. The experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan have proved that the current fleet of vehicles is aging and in urgent need of an upgrade. Across the world, competition is rife to supply the next generation of lightweight all terrain combat vehicles. The US is currently looking to replace its iconic fleet of Humvees. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program seeks to find a new family of vehicles with enhanced survivability and a greater payload. The British Army, meanwhile, is in the process of an extensive upgrade of its warrior fleet. Canada, Poland and Denmark have all committed themselves to major modernization programs. However, there is currently no clear consensus of where technology should go next. Many of the benefits offered by new designs come with clear and obvious flaws, and programs such as the JLTV have not progressed as quickly as most would like. Militaries have been plugging the gap by purchasing more of their tried and tested military vehicles – such as the Humvee – and making do.


For example, a major area of debate is V-shaped hulls versus flat bottoms. To combat the threat of IEDs many new vehicles come with V-bottom designs to direct blasts away from occupants. However, this comes at a price. Such vehicles are typically taller, which impacts on their center of gravity, making them far less agile and maneuverable. As a result, many other designs stick with a reinforced traditional flat bottom.

Staying Safe The question of armor is also one which divides opinion. In reaction to the threat of IEDs and RPGs, in the Middle East the immediate reaction was to increase the amount of armor plating. Light utility vehicles began to bulk up, blurring the line between light tactical vehicles and more heavily armored personnel carriers. AM General’s proposed replacement for the Humvee, the BRV-O, directly addresses its predecessor’s biggest shortcoming by bulking up on the armor. This new bulkier looking vehicle has a solid blast-resistant frame as well as space for add-ons. Meanwhile, one of its biggest competitors, Oshkosh, look to draw upon the success already achieved with the heavily armored MRAP. This was brought on to replace the Humvee and was so successful that, in certain situations, troops were unaware they had run over an IED. Something which might have maimed or killed them in a Humvee barely registered on their consciousness in the MRAP. Such developments, however, directly counter some of the key requirements of a light tactical WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 13


The current arrangement

Vehicles will be shrinking and shedding armor in order to increase the range of terrain over which they will be operating. The future could, then, belong to the ultra-light class of military vehicles. Defense will shift focus from armor based protection to avoiding threat detection, which plays into another key development – one addressed in more detail elsewhere in this Report – fuel.

for fueling the military increasingly feels unsustainable. Attention is shifting towards those technologies which can reduce the army’s consumption of fossil fuels


vehicle. Their size restricts them to the road and can make them easier targets. Smaller, quieter and more lightly armed alternatives, on the other hand, enhance safety by reducing the chances of being hit. Lighter armor constructed from composite materials can improve survivability, while agile all-terrain power can enable the vehicle to go anywhere. The GXV-T concept, for example, showcases this change of direction. The US Army is taking the tank and shrinking it. DARPA’s hope is that the new vehicle can reduce vehicle size and weight by 50%, reduce the number of on-board crew needed for operation by half, access 95% of all terrain and double its speed. It features lighter smart armor and a top mounted gun turret. The project will also explore ideas surrounding crew augmentation. DARPA hopes the eventual vehicle will, to a degree, be autonomous, able to identify and evade threats on its own without interaction from the crew. They hope to bring in a host of driver aids similar to those which are already being given to aircraft crew. Size, then, is important under DARPA’s vision, but not in the way it has been up until now.


Fueling The current arrangement for fueling the military increasingly feels unsustainable. Attention is shifting towards those technologies which can reduce the army’s consumption of fossil fuels. In the short to medium term, the most promise seems to come from hybrid electric engines. These have been in development but are only now truly being employed on the ground. For use in larger and heavier vehicles, engines will have to be designed to cope with the rigors of military use and, historically, that has proved challenging. Further into the future we could see the rise of hydrogen fuel cells with a number of concepts probing the possible benefits of fuel cell technology. Assessing the future direction of the military vehicle market is as uncertain as it is fascinating. Probing forward into the future of what’s possible reveals a range of paths the army could take, whether that’s more armor or less armor, hybrid engines or fuel cells – they all have their possibilities. However, the big caveat overlooking all these possible options is the historic difficulty of taking developing technologies and turning them into reality. The JLTV project has been a decade in the planning with many years still stretching ahead of it and, with funding a major issue, others will face a similarly uncertain future.



Army Colonel Says he was Retaliated Against: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/11/23/army-colonel-says-he-was-retaliated-against-for-blowing-whistle-on-43-million-gas-station/



You Know Who’s Not Getting Cheap Gas? http://www.cnbc.com/2014/12/17/you-know-whos-not-getting-cheap-gas-the-us-military.html

Army 2017 Budget: Four Key Points: https://www.armytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2016/02/13/army-2017-budget-4-key-points-soldiers/80232530/


Budget Cuts Forcing Army to Lose its Readiness: https://www.armytimes.com/story/military/capitol-hill/2016/04/05/budget-cuts-forcing-army-lose-its-competitive-edge/82672258/


Defence Budget Increases for the First Time in six Years: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/defence-budget-increases-for-the-first-time-in-six-years



DOD Figures: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a502022.pdf


Pentagon Loses Emissions Exemption: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/14/pentagon-to-lose-emissions-exemption-under-paris-climate-deal

Renewable Energy: http://army-energy.hqda.pentagon.mil/programs/renewable.asp


US Army to Spend $2.4bn on Hybrid Electric: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2013/11/07/us-military-to-spend-2-4-billion-on-electric-vehicles-by-2020/


10 Army Playing Catch-up: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4731185/ns/world_news-brave_new_world/t/frantically-army-tries-armor-humvees/#.V9gGcZgrLIU 11

JLTV Vehicle Forecast: http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/2015/02/jltv-vehicle-forecast.html


Sustainability Strategy: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-mod-strategy-2015-to-2025


US Military Gets Serious About Biofuels: http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Biofuels/U.S.-Military-gets-Serious-about-Biofuels.html

Hybrid Drives: http://www.army-technology.com/features/featureinnovation-drive-how-new-engine-technology-is-transforming-military-vehicles-4346630/ 14





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