Army officials held a forum earlier this month to ensure its all-electric requirement for its fleet of future combat vehicles aligns with industry’s ability to enable the use of laser weapons and meet a 10 percent increase in fuel savings.
Industry representatives had an opportunity on Nov. 1 to provide feedback to officials from the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) on plans to fuel the Next Generation Combat Vehicle with electric power and move to an open architecture energy system.
"The electrical demands on the Army's vehicles today are growing far beyond anything we've seen before," George Hamilton, TARDEC’s vehicle electronics architecture lead, said in a statement. "Our focus is on developing and providing a modular, flexible and adaptable vehicle architecture that can expand to meet future demands of all kinds."
TARDEC briefed industry on requirements for the NGCV electrical power architecture including a goal to enable 20 percent increases in both efficient power generation and energy transfer.
The move to electric power systems is intended to meet anticipated power demands for directed energy weapons currently in development.
Army officials also want reduce the cost and schedule to implement a new power architecture, while ensuring the system is modular to enable reusable components across multiple platforms and allow for easier capability integration.
The forum was also intended to gauge industry ability to deliver fuel cell and advanced battery storage technology.
Officials have previously said the move to to make its future fleet of vehicles all electric was hindered by current battery and fuel cell capability gaps that don’t meet requirements for fast charging and improved power density (Defense Daily, Aug. 23).
The Army has indicated it will most likely move to hybrid power systems before transitioning to all-electric while the service continues to mature laser weapon and fuel cell technology.
Bruce Brendle, an official with Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, has previously indicated that the ultimate goal is for NGCV to travel up to 300 miles on a single charge with a full set of batteries.