The US Office of Naval Research has contracted UK-based defense technology company QinetiQ to develop two separate systems for use in armored reconnaissance vehicles.
Under the contract, Qinetiq will be responsible for developing its proprietary hub drive unit electric propulsion system and long travel suspension for use in armored reconnaissance vehicles.
The Office of Naval Research awarded 16 contracts: two of which went to QinetiQ to enable the first phase of development. This effort leverages the electric hub drive development accomplished by QinetiQ under the DARPA Ground X Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program.
Globally, the electric drives market is changing rapidly, and all major original equipment manufacturers in Europe and the United States have the development of electric powered next-generation combat vehicles in their plans as the defense sector seeks military operational advantages around enhanced mobility, survivability, maneuverability and mission flexibility.
QinetiQ’s electric hub drive unit technology, which combines a compact electric motor with a multi-stage gear box and integral brake, has been conceived to overcome the functional drawbacks associated with single-speed and fixed-speed hub drives for military application. Its ability to operate at either high output speed or high output torque enables combined improvements in operational and tactical mobility.
The long travel suspension concept enables wheel travel of around twice that of a conventional suspension without the need for complex, multi-link systems or configurations used by extreme off-roaders. The concept will enable the vehicle to change mode from a high-ride height IED-resistant standoff stance to rock ‘crawler’ behavior and greatly enhances survivability in amphibious operations through improved in-water performance and entry/exit from water.
Trent Shackelford, Vice President of Business Development at QinetiQ Inc. said: “The demands of warfare continue to evolve rapidly and all fighting forces are looking to technology to deliver the operational advantages of lethality, mobility and survivability to their warfighters. Our hub drive unit and long travel suspension deliver these advantages by significantly increasing the available internal space inside a combat vehicle, offering vehicle architecture that enables greater protection to its occupants. In addition, the significantly improved performance, flexibility in changing ride height and enhanced amphibious capabilities are critical for improved mobility.”