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Turkey’s FNSS has unveiled its Kaplan Hybrid Vehicle, exhibiting it for the first time at the IDEF 23 defence exhibition, held in Istanbul from 25 to 28 July.

The project has essentially involved FNSS taking its Kaplan-10 AFV platform and replacing its diesel engine with a unique hybrid diesel/electric powerpack featuring a 400 hp diesel engine and two PMSM electric motors providing a continuous 397 hp or peak output of 617 hp. This solution can also be integrated into other tracked platforms in the current and future FNSS portfolio, as well as other tracked vehicle families in need of capability enhancement and life extension, the company stated in a press release.

While the Kaplan hybrid propulsion system has been developed for tracked vehicles weighing up to 20 tonnes (the Kaplan Hybrid Vehicle has a combat weight of 17.5 tonnes), the system is intended to be resized for tracked vehicles of different tonnages in the near future.

FNSS has entered the AFV hybrid propulsion market with the unveiling at IDEF 23 of the Kaplan Hybrid Vehicle. (Photo: FNSS)

The hybrid propulsion system of the Kaplan Hybrid Vehicle not only offers silent drive in electric-only mode but also the ability to integrate new-generation weapon systems with high energy needs: capabilities well suited to combat and reconnaissance scenarios. With a lithium ion battery offering 800 V and 56 kWh, the vehicle can operate in silent drive mode for 20 km at a constant speed of 10 km/h and can operate in stationary silent surveillance mode for 48 hours (or 14 hours if the vehicle is using its air conditioning system), according to the specifications detailed on the FNSS website.

FNSS states that its hybrid powerpack “offers remarkable off-road performance for a tracked vehicle with its external transmittable power and increased fuel economy”. The company notes that the high torque provided by the new hybrid propulsion system give the vehicle better acceleration than other tracked platforms, providing a critical advantage in the field and the ability to respond quickly to battlefield conditions.

The Kaplan Hybrid Vehicle is stated by FNSS to have a power-to-weight ratio of 22-35 hp/tonne compared to 21 hp/tonne for the conventionally powered Kaplan-10. The vehicle has a maximum road speed in excess of 65 km, a 0-32 km/h acceleration of 6 seconds and a range greater than 525 km.

FNSS added that, while some subsystem components were imported to expediently produce the Kaplan Hybrid Vehicle, development of local alternatives is underway. One of the most important components to be produced locally is the cross-drive gearbox. This has a design unique to FNSS, which claims it has become one of the few companies with the technological competence to develop this type of system.

The project started in the FNSS Research and development centre in 2021. With assembly of the first prototype vehicle now completed, control software development and other improvement activities continue. Critical verification tests are planned to start towards the end of 2023.

Peter Felstead