An Army program to develop and integrate new powertrain technology is setting the stage to provide leap-ahead capabilities for the military's vehicle fleets, as the service pursues next-generation platforms.
The Advanced Powertrain Demonstrator initiative began in 2015 after the Army canceled the Ground Combat Vehicle program. The aim was to mature critical technology that could enable a more revolutionary future platform, said Bruce Brendle, associate director of ground vehicle power and mobility at the Army's Ground Vehicle Systems Center, which spearheads cutting edge automotive research and development.
The demonstrator, known as the APD, has several components, including an advanced combat engine, transmission, integrated starter generator, modular batteries and thermal management system.
"We were looking at a more power dense solution... offering an engine in a smaller package," said John Tasdemir, powertrain branch chief at GVSC.
The smaller form factor could free up space for additional armor protection for Bradley fighting vehicles or other platforms, Tasdemir said. Future vehicles could also be designed to be smaller and less heavy to enhance mobility, or have more room to carry additional capabilities.
"For new dean-sheet vehicle designs, you can have a more compact propulsion system," he said. "You can add more to the soldier crew, you can add more weapons, more capabilities for other technologies on the vehicle besides the powertrains for next-generation combat vehicle applications."
The 1,000-horsepower advanced combat engine with a two-stroke opposed piston diesel design, will offer efficiency improvements in fuel economy and cooling mechanisms, while increasing vehicle range, according to officials.
The more efficient and power dense the system is in terms of packing, the more power can be delivered to the sprocket to enhance mobility and propulsion, Tasdemir said.
The advanced combat transmission is another key component of the powertrain.
"You might have the best engine in the world, but if you have the worst transmission ... you're not going to get the gains or the benefits," he said. "You have to look at the whole system approach."
The transmission is involved in three key functions: propulsion, braking and steering.
"What this solution offers is the efficiency gains that current combat vehicles and U.S. Army combat tracked vehicles do not have," Tasdemir said.
Some transmissions in Army platforms have...