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Global Military Ground Vehicle Propulsion System trends and Market

A military vehicle is a type of vehicle that includes all land combat and transportation vehicles, which are designed for or are significantly used by military forces. Many military vehicles have vehicle armour plate or off-road capabilities or both. A military truck is a vehicle designed to transport troops, fuel and military supplies to the battlefield, through asphalted roads and unpaved dirt roads.  In general, these trucks are composed of a chassis, a motor, a transmission, a cabin, an area for the placement of the load and the equipment, axles of transmission, suspensions, direction, tires, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, engine cooling systems, and brakes. They can be operated with a gasoline engine or with a diesel engine, there are four-wheel drive (4×4) vehicles, six wheeled (6×6), eight wheeled (8×8), ten wheeled (10×10) and even twelve wheeled vehicles (12×12).


Currently, the US  Army is dependent on large vehicles powered by internal combustion engines to move personnel and materials to the battlefield. But such engines are extremely complex with many parts that could become more expensive as the demand for fossil fuel engines falls and production is cut back. In addition, such complex engines are difficult to maintain. Worst of all, conventional engines mean moving tonnes of fossil fuels across the globe and to the battlefield – putting commanders at the mercy of very long and very vulnerable logistics chains.



EV Propulsion

Military vehicles are often loaded with energy-hungry mission electronics, such as navigation, communications and survivability systems. On-board devices such as sensors or communication and weapon systems require a continuous power supply.  Militaries have traditionally solved this by hauling larger, heavier diesel generators around on a trailer. Some equipment may use a special generator to provide electricity, but some systems, such as Threat Detection, Active Protection Systems and data communications are operating continuously, draining the vehicle’s energy reserve. In order to meet this demand, vehicle designers integrate more powerful alternators, auxiliary power units, energy generation systems and high capacity batteries to increase the energy available on board.


OBVP refers to providing an alternative source of AC power on the battlefield that is generated from the vehicle itself which can solve many technical and logistical problems.   For example, by providing the HMMWV with a 10 -KW OBVP system supplying continuous AC power, the need to trailer a diesel generator is reduced significantly. In addition, now the HMMWV can negotiate terrain that it could not previously engage while towing a generator, thus leading back to the more agile concept.


Electric propulsion is to interface electric supply with vehicle wheels, transferring energy in  either direction as required, with high efficiency, under control of the driver at all times. Instead of using a single motor, the use of multiple motors has also been used. Likewise, costs are forecast to decline from $10 per kW to $4.5 per kW by 2035, while power density is expected to quadruple from the current 7kW/l to 30kW/l by 2035. Key to this, the APC says, is the introduction of alternative winding materials, while additive manufacturing has the potential to remove the need for dedicated winding processes.


Very high levels of integration are also predicted in electric drives, with the e-machine, transmission and power electronics coming together to create a single, light-weight, tightly-packaged and lower cost unit with greatly reduced complexity.


Hybrid Propulsion

Hybrid propulsion is any vehicle propulsion system that includes two or more sources of propulsion in one design, usually which can be used either together or alternately.One of the most common of these systems in industry today combines a diesel engine with electric motors, at times operating purely on diesel power, at times operating purely on electrical power, and at times using a strategic mix of both. A common variation of that is the gasoline-electric hybrid design, often seen in personal automobiles.


The benefits of hybrid propulsion design are as varied as the types of vehicles they can power. Buses, boats, trucks, aircraft, and military vehicles that do a lot of work in standby, line-sitting, or low-speed transit mode can waste fuel – and fuel budgets – using a traditional diesel propulsion system. A diesel electric hybrid propulsion system can deliver fuel savings, higher average engine load, lower maintenance costs, increased uptime, and more. As fossil fuel costs and pollution concerns continue to rise worldwide, interest in and development of more fuel efficient, lower polluting propulsion systems that also deliver real power – like hybrid propulsion – will continue to grow.


Military  vehicle performance requirements such as 60% grade ability, speed on grade, cooling and soft soil mobility add challenges that could diminish the gains seen by a hybrid vehicle. In addition, their reliability and maintainability is unknown for the lifecycle of a military vehicle. Lastly, the continuously changing threat impedes engineers from understanding the duty cycle and use of the vehicle. However, as technology is ever advancing and hybrids are becoming mainstream for commercial applications including some heavy duty vehicles, such as busses and delivery trucks, it appears that these technologies could be leveraged to eventually field hybrid military vehicles.


U.S. Army’s Hydrogen & Methanol Fuel Cell

Fuel cells could someday power numerous devices – automobiles and mass transit systems, buildings, and virtually any type of portable electronic device. Unlike batteries, which eventually run out of power (and thus need to be recharged), a fuel cell will continue to generate electrical energy as long as it has a fuel – usually hydrogen – and oxygen or some other oxidant necessary for the complete electrochemical reaction. Fuel cells are significantly more efficient than internal combustion engines, but one of their main drawbacks is cost: Most current fuel cells employ acid-based electrolytes, meaning their activity is dependent on catalysts made from expensive precious metals such as platinum.


The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) leveraged General Motors’ fuel-cell and off-road vehicle technology investments and commercial off-the-shelf products to develop the ZH2 demonstrator.  “The ZH2 is more than just a hybridized vehicle. It’s really a leap ahead as we look at solutions we’re trying to get on the battlefield particularly applicable to reconnaissance and security organizations,” said Lt. Col. Tim Peterman, 2nd Squadron Commander, 14th Cavalry Regiment. The ZH2, fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell and electric drive, has a stealthy drive system which produces a very low smoke, noise, odor and thermal signature. This allows Soldiers to conduct silent watch and silent mobility missions on the battlefield.


The ZH2 generates electricity from highly compressed hydrogen stored in the vehicle combined with oxygen from the atmosphere through an electrochemical reaction. Existing fuels such as gasoline, propane, JP8 (the Army’s main petroleum fuel source) and natural gas can also be used to produce hydrogen. TARDEC and other Department of Defense entities are researching and comparing the costs and benefits for each energy source to determine which is most effective and efficient for various areas of operation within the continental U.S. and abroad.


Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is now funding Cornell University to engineer small, portable, lightweight, durable and longer-lasting Fuel Cells engineered to produce electricity – Dr. Purush Iyer, Army research office regarding AI & Fuel Cells Research, ARL said . The Army Research Lab (ARL) is particularly interested in this technology because it can provide more power with less weight, which is important for soldiers carrying heavy bags.


Iyer explained how scientists are now working intensely to manufacture new smaller, safer and more efficient electricity-generating Fuel Cells for soldiers in combat. Larger form-factor Fuel Cells already exist. For example, Fuel Cells are now being integrated into “Auxiliary Power Units” for Abrams tanks. In a manner quite similar to the smaller Fuel Cells now under development, these larger Fuel Cells are being integrated to enhance and extend the performance of the Abram’s sensors, weapons, on-board electronics and computer systems. Like many armored combat vehicles, Abrams tanks are very power-dependent and fast-emerging modernization is increasingly requiring the vehicle to generate more electrical power


This new effort, however, is quite different than ongoing work to develop Fuel Cells suited for larger combat vehicles; it is instead focused upon an advanced effort to engineer entirely new Fuel Cells. Most existing Fuel Cells, Iyer explained, are now created by “oxidizing” Hydrogen to generate electricity. The new method, which Iyer says may still be more than five years away from being operational, replaces Hydrogen with Methanol. “We are looking at alternatives to oxidizing Hydrogen Fuel Cells and searching for materials that act as a catalyst in Methanol oxidation. When Hydrogen is oxidized, it is much harder to control than Methanol. When Methanol is oxidized it produces power,” Iyer told Warrior.


Global Military Ground Vehicle Propulsion System Market

ResearchAndMarkets.com’s  report projects  the market to grow at a significant CAGR of 5.89% on the basis of value during the forecast period from 2020 to 2030. The market is anticipated to reach $17.31 billion by 2030. This growth is owing to an increase in the defense budget by various countries and rise in R&D activities through huge investments in the proposed engines. Furthermore, various Arab and African countries such as Nigeria, the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia have realized the importance of bolstering the defense sector by expanding their local capabilities through manufacturing various parts of military equipment locally as part of their purchasing contracts, further bolstering the market growth for military ground vehicle propulsion system.

Armored fighting vehicle type has witnessed an increase in demand for new propulsion systems, owing to the continuous investment by various militaries to upgrade the armored vehicles to increase the efficiency, lethality, and connectivity of the vehicles. Armored fighting vehicle type has witnessed an increase in demand for new propulsion systems, owing to the continuous investment by various militaries to upgrade the armored vehicles to increase the efficiency, lethality, and connectivity of the vehicles.


In addition, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) application is expected to be the most lucrative application segment in the military ground vehicle propulsion system market, attributed to the continuous procurement of small unmanned ground vehicles with electric propulsion systems to be used for EOD in battlefields and other hostile environments.


Innovation in military ground vehicles is gradually taking shape, exploring advanced power options including hydrogen fuel cells, electric engines, and hybrid-electric engines. Civilian manufacturers and automotive engineers from defense organizations are discovering such innovative engine designs to provide additional benefits to militaries in range, reliability and fuel consumption.


Some of the key players in the global military ground vehicle propulsion system market include General Dynamics, QinetiQ Group, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Oshkosh Corporation, Harris Corporation, Rheinmetall AG, Epsilor-Electric Fuel Ltd, Leonardo S.p.A, Cummins Inc, Caterpillar Inc, General Motors Company and MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH.



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