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July 23, 2020 | International, Land

BAE Systems, QinetiQ tasked with A2 Bradley hybrid electric drive retrofit

by Ashley Roque

The US Army has awarded BAE Systems with a USD32.3 million contract to refit two A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles with hybrid electric drives (HEDs) in a bid to produce additional power for future weapons.

In mid-July, the service announced the terms of the prototyping contract and said it is expecting to receive the retrofitted vehicles in two years.

“By rapidly prototyping HEDs on a small scale, we can jump-start advanced electrification and hybridisation of army platforms, and encourage our industry partners to invest in these products to meet army standards,” said Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood, the director of hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition, who is also overseeing the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO).

The service is eyeing the HEDs as a way to reduce fuel consumption, and increase reliability and performance without adding additional size, weight, and power (SWaP) demands.

This HED effort will consist of an upgraded engine, a transmission replaced by an electric drive motor, and the addition of lithium ion batteries. As a result, the engine power can produce electricity for greater mobility and can also be used to operate additional onboard equipment. One potential power use could include directed energy weapons, such as high-powered lasers, that pose numerous SWaP challenges.

“HEDs add a high-voltage generator that turns engine power into electricity for greater mobility and for operating additional equipment, both of which increase combat effectiveness,” Mike Foster, director of the RCCTO's rapid acquisition, said in the announcement.

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