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QinetiQ was announced as project lead of a new £3.2 million research programme to explore latest vehicle technologies to boost the performance of UK Future Ground Combat Vehicles. The announcement was made by the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Chief Executive, Gary Aitkenhead.  The project will focus on new solutions for ground vehicle mobility exploiting the potential provided by electric drive systems, which are very clearly discussed in QinetiQ’s newly released “Powering the Electrified Battlefield” publication.

Though not your average product launch, Qinetic’s DSEI Day 2 saw the arrival of a publication, Powering the Electrified Battlespace  – authored by Qinetiq’s Andy Walker – which deserves its own column inches alongside other products at the show. It address one of the most critical lynchpins on which almost every battlefield system and process depends, on land, at sea and in the air, highlighting the work and depth of understanding Qinetiq has in the area of power and electrification and signifies a truly insightful and generous offering to the industry as a whole.

At this time, it’s probably one of the most valuable bits of reading any of us could conceivably spend time absorbing. Power impacts everything and with increasing electrification on the battlefield, from the individual soldier to robotics and every armoured vehicle and beyond, Qinetiq’s insights are timely. Reducing the battery burden, the inefficiency of diesel (…) the continued electrification of the battlefield is inevitable and makes the subject matter in this document so important. We all need to read this publication, whether we’re building an aircraft, a tank, new soldier systems, logistics vehicles, directed energy weapons, or autonomous systems. In the words of Senior Principle Engineer, Colin Cockcroft, who announced and discussed the publication in the company’s Smart Talks, the point of sharing this depth of understanding in this way is “to get people across the industry talking about this critical subject.”

The project will assess which latest technology can help boost future ground combat vehicles and how they would integrate with current systems, so that UK Defence can invest in the right technology from the start of a programme to avoid wasting time, effort and money. Aitkenhead said, “We are working in partnership with QinetiQ to deliver a three-year programme, which will move from concept studies to prototype testing in a real-world environment. This project will help ensure we have the best ground fleet ever.”

In particular, the project will investigate advanced running gear solutions for wheeled manned and autonomous vehicles to close the gap between the mobility of wheeled and tracked vehicles. The running gear will integrate with QinetiQ’s in-wheel electric hub drive technology and the two combined will deliver significant benefits in armoured vehicle design. The solutions will deliver significant increases in operational and tactical mobility to vehicle platforms along with survivability and fuel efficiency benefits. QinetiQ CEO, Steve Wadey, added that the company’s decades of support for UK Defence has enabled it to develop solutions like the electric hub drive technology, which can truly change battlefield operations for the better.  The first phase of the programme, one year in duration, will focus on studies, concepts and modelling; followed by a second, two-year phase of prototyping, testing and validation using a mobile test rig.

Tim Guest