Army's next battle: Fuel, transportation costs: Gen. Thompson says hybrid-electric tactical vehicles offer a viable alternative.Confronting growing fuel and transportation costs, the U.S. Army has no choice but to start fielding fuel-efficient trucks, officials said. The Army, additionally, needs to finds ways to control the escalating expenses associated with maintaining a fleet of nearly 240,000 trucks.
One way to do that is to have "fewer, but more capable trucks," said Maj. Gen. N. Ross Thompson III, head of the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments command. In the long term, he said, the Army will be able to save billions of dollars in logistics-related costs by consolidating the number of truck types it uses currently and by adopting hybrid-electric vehicles.
"If the trucks are more capable, you don't need as many of them. Even if they are more expensive and more capable, you can still save by having fewer drivers, mechanics and handlers," Thompson said in an interview during a conference hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association, in Monterey, Calif.
The Army obviously will not be able to just have one type of truck, he noted. It always will need light, medium and heavy trucks. "There will be a range of sizes, but as much as possible, common components across all the fleets."
The current fleet of 238,000 trucks, over time, will become smaller, "unless the Army goes up in size," said Thompson.
Between 1987 and 2007, the Army's heavy truck fleet will grow from 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles. The medium fleet, meanwhile, will shrink from Verb 1. shrink from - avoid (one's assigned duties); "The derelict soldier shirked his duties"
fiddle, shirk, goldbrick
avoid - refrain from doing something; "She refrains from calling her therapist too often"; "He should avoid publishing his wife's 206,000 to 83,000 and light trucks will go from 174,000 down to 124,000. Annual funding for truck programs is about $1.2 billion. This account is expected to rise to $2 billion by 2007.
Thompson is adamant about the Army's need to replace gas-guzzlers with fuel-efficient vehicles, likely to be diesel-electric hybrids, he said. "I think there should be a 50 percent fuel-efficiency requirement in current vehicles.
"If I have a truck that gets 30-50 percent fuel economy, then I don't need as many 5,000-gallon fuel tankers [or] as many fuel handlers. If I have on-board load-handling equipment to do the lifting, I don't need the cranes and forklifts."
In hybrid power Hybrid Power in this context describes the combination of a power producer and the means to store that power in an energy storage medium.
In power engineering, the term 'hybrid' does not mean a "method," such as the popular use of hybrid to mean a vehicle like the Toyota drives, the methodology for generating power can either be through an internal combustion engine Internal combustion engine
A prime mover, the fuel for which is burned within the engine, as contrasted to a steam engine, for example, in which fuel is burned in a separate furnace. (gas or diesel), turbo shaft (turbine), fuel cells or all electric (batteries only).
For military vehicles Military vehicles include all land combat and transportation vehicles, excluding rail-based, which are designed for or are in significant use by military forces.
See also list of armoured fighting vehicles. , experts agree the most desirable system is a hybrid-diesel, where a small diesel engine powers a generator and charges the battery. This technology provides on-board electric power, which means that the Army would bring fewer generators to the battlefield, said Thompson. In a word of advice to the industry, he added, "I don't think that I would invest in generator companies that support the U.S. Army, or in trailer companies that are used to transport generators."
The Army goes through 200 million gallons of fuel a year, resulting in annual expenses of $3.5 billion, including transportation and labor. Even nominal savings in fuel consumption could result in significant cost reductions, Thompson said. Fuel and water currently constitute about 60-90 percent of the short tons the Army takes to the battlefield. Further, about 55 percent of the fuel is consumed, not by the front-line forces, but in the echelons above corps and rear units.
The Army Brigade Combat Teams The brigade combat team (BCT) is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branched maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. , each with 959 vehicles, would greatly benefit from hybrid power drives, he said. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a TACOM TACOM Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (US Army)
TACOM Tactical Communications
TACOM Tactical Command
TACOM Tank-Automotive and Armament Command
TACOM Theater Army Command
TACOM Tactical Army Command
TACOM Tactical Army COM study, if all the vehicles in the brigade were hybrid, the unit would increase its range by 180 miles on a single tank of fuel, and would need 4,000 fewer gallons of fuel for every 100 miles.
Of the top 10 battlefield fuel users in the Army, said Thompson, four are trucks: the heavy line haul truck, the medium tactical truck, the heavy-equipment transport and the Humvee.
Despite the enthusiasm about hybrid-electric vehicles, Thompson acknowledged that the Army is not quite ready to accept this technology for combat use, and it may not be for several years. Hybrid drives A hard disk drive that contains a built-in, non-volatile cache comprised of flash memory. Reads and writes go through the cache first, enabling the platters to remain at rest most of the time. For laptop computers especially, the less the disk rotates, the less power is used. have yet to become mainstream in the U.S. automotive industry The automotive industry is the industry involved in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and sale of motor vehicles. In 2006, more than 69 million motor vehicles, including cars and commercial vehicles were produced worldwide. , so it's not yet clear how long it will take for this technology to mature. Hybrid-electric vehicles also cost more and weigh more than conventional diesel-powered trucks, so the Army needs to study how the cost and weight penalties can be offset. Additionally, said Thompson, not enough testing has been done to bear out the reliability of hybrids, particularly in the area of energy storage and power electronics.
The National Automotive Center, a subordinate organization to TACOM, has been an advocate of hybrid-electric vehicles for several years and has sponsored projects to develop hybrid versions of the M113 armored vehicle, the heavy-duty HEMTT HEMTT Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck truck, the Light Armored Vehicle, the 2.5-ton medium Army truck and a heavy line-haul tractor trailer. But those programs remain in the experimental phase. Among the most promising hybrid-electric vehicle projects in the Army today are the Humvee and the Combatt, which stands for commercially based tactical truck.
The Combatt program--spearheaded by the NAG--is a partnership with General Motors, Daimler Chrysler and Ford, to upgrade commercial pickup trucks and SUVs so they can be suitable for military use. Congress gave the NAC See network access control. $14 million in fiscal 2002 to upgrade up to 18 vehicles (six from each manufacturer) with hybrid electric drives.
"The NAC is the Army's venture capital company," said Thompson. "They are creative individuals [who] make people uncomfortable sometimes, because they are out there pushing ideas and pushing technologies that force people in a particular business to look at things differently."
With funds from the Combatt program, Daimler Chrysler produced a diesel-electric hybrid Dodge Ram
The Ram is a full-size pickup truck from Chrysler LLC's Dodge brand. The name was first used in 1981 on the redesigned Ram and Power Ram, though it came from the hood ornament used on 2500 pickup truck. The vehicle can be operated in either diesel-electric hybrid or electric-only mode. When parked, the drive components can be used to provide up to 20 kilowatts of continuous electrical power to operate other equipment.
The company plans to sell the Dodge Ram HEV HEV
hepatitis E virus
hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus of pigs. commercially beginning in 2004. The hybrid power train, said a spokesman, improves fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent and curbs tailpipe tail·pipe
The pipe through which exhaust gases from an engine are discharged. Also called exhaust pipe.
a pipe from which exhaust gases are discharged, esp. emissions.
TACOM received $3 million in fiscal 2002 to build two hybrid Humvees and test them for 20,000 miles at the Aberdeen Proving Ground Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) is a United States Army facility located near Aberdeen, Maryland (in Harford County).
The Army's oldest active proving ground, it was established on October 20, 1917, six months after the United States entered World War I. .
The plan is to procure 106 hybrid Humvees by 2007, even though, said Thompson, "I think that number needs to be 100 times that."
To raise the visibility of the project, TACOM established a program office for the hybrid-electric Humvee. Assistant program manager Steve Roberts
intr. & tr.v. hy·brid·ized, hy·brid·iz·ing, hy·brid·iz·es
1. To produce or cause to produce hybrids; crossbreed.
2. " 10 percent of the Humvee fleet.
Those vehicles would be assigned to "missions that require a great amount of stand-by electrical power and where stealth is important," said Roberts. AM General Corp., the Humvee manufacturer, currently is working with PEI Electronics to produce four hybrid vehicles This is a list of hybrid vehicles in chronological order of production: Early designs
To make a hybrid Humvee, the engine, transmission and transfer case are removed and replaced with a smaller engine, generator, battery pack and electric traction motors A traction motor is a type of electric motor used to power the driving wheels of a vehicle such as a railroad locomotive, electrical multi-unit train (such as a subway or light rail vehicle train), a tram, or an automobile. . The hybrid Humvee is a battery dominant system, "which means we use the battery energy to level the road-load power required to achieve a specific level of desired mobility," said Don Underwood, vice president of PEI Electronics, in Huntsville, Ala. "This also provides a significant amount of energy density for military applications like silent watch, or support of command and control operations, without operating the engine or generating a signature."
Other hybrid systems may be engine dominant, which require the engine to operate continuously.
The program's goal is to demonstrate a 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption and the ability to generate 33 kilowatts of power off the vehicle, Roberts explained. That would be enough power to run an Army operations center The facility or location on an installation, base, or facility used by the commander to command, control, and coordinate all crisis activities. See also base defense operations center; command center. or a missile-defense shelter.
The current hybrid drive in the Humvee achieves 15 percent fuel economy, according to PEI Electronics. That percentage was based on an average gross vehicle weight of 7,500 pounds during highway operations averaging 55 mph, said Underwood. "As speed is decreased and the amount of dynamic pressure (resistance of pushing air as a function of surface area and the square of the vehicle speed) decreases, the average fuel economy increases proportionally to a maximum of 26 miles per gallon Noun 1. miles per gallon - the distance traveled in a vehicle powered by one gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel
unit, unit of measurement - any division of quantity accepted as a standard of measurement or exchange; "the dollar is the United States unit of at 16 mph," as measured on a cross-country course at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland.
Underwood said that the industry's goal is to limit the cost of hybrids to approximately 25-40 percent above the cost of a conventionally powered vehicle. "This is always highly dependent upon power density and cross-country mobility requirements," he said.
After the current development-test phase is completed, TACOM will solicit industry bids to build more hybrid Humvees. AM General is the only Humvee manufacturer, but there are several companies that make hybrid-electric drive technologies.
"We'll develop performance specifications," said Roberts. "We will not tell the contractor how to build the vehicle. We would buy the chassis from AM General but another contractor would provide the hybrid drive."
Roberts' office is working in cooperation with the Army's program manager for mobile electric power. "They are helping define the requirements for off vehicle power ... and will be assessing the impact of hybrid-electric vehicles on the Army's generator fleet."
The issue of fuel-efficiency in Army trucks was discussed extensively by most speakers at the 2002 NDIA NDIA National Defense Industrial Association
NDIA New Doha International Airport (Qatar) tactical wheeled vehicles conference. But not everyone agreed that it should be a top priority in the Army.
"This organization [the Army] does not exist to be fuel efficient," said Lt. Gen. John S. Caldwell, military deputy to the Army's assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics.
But he acknowledged that the Army must take action to cut back on fuel use. "I appreciate the brain power being brought forth by Gen. Thompson on fuel efficiency," Caldwell told the conference. But the most important function of the Army, he stressed, is to "deliver lethality."
A congressional staffer who also spoke at the conference said that many lawmakers support the use of hybrid-electric vehicles in the military services, but he cautioned that "there is a perception that batteries are too big, heavy, dirty [hard to dispose]."
Tom Edwards For the musician see Tom Edwards (musician)
Tom Edwards born in British radio presenter and television announcer, born in Norwich on March 20, 1945. He began his working life as a journalist, before becoming the announcer on a Border Television programme called , deputy chief of the Army's Combined Arms Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects.
Though the lower-echelon units of a combined arms team may be of homogeneous types, a balanced mixture of such units are combined into an Support Command, also warned Army officials attending the symposium that they need to articulate their expectations about hybrid-electric technology, s0 companies don't end up delivering false promises and unrealistic sales pitches.
All too often, said Edwards, companies oversell o·ver·sell
tr.v. o·ver·sold , o·ver·sell·ing, o·ver·sells
1. To contract to sell more of (a stock or commodity) than can be delivered.
2. To be too eager or insistent in attempting to sell something to. technologies. This applies to hybrid-electric vehicles, which advertise 50 percent fuel savings but only deliver 20 percent.
The issues associated with fuel-efficiency are complex and require more than just adding hybrid drive, noted Goef Schmitz, president of Island City Engineering, in Schofield, Wis, The company works on various military truck programs.
"The solution will not result from pursuing a single technology, a magic bullet (jargon) magic bullet - (Or "silver bullet" from vampire legends) A term widely used in software engineering for a supposed quick, simple cure for some problem. E.g. "There's no silver bullet for this problem". ," he told National Defense. "The key is to understand the vehicle's mission, the terrain and overall efficiency across the combat logistic environment," including the weight of the cargo and the type of load-handling equipment used.
For the Army's logistic truck fleet to become more efficient, said Schmitz, vehicles should be designed with increased mobility, to match available technology. With additional mobility, he said, "We can anticipate increasing logistic truck speeds over cross-country and off-highway terrain two to five times."
Similarly, vehicle payload (1) Refers to the "actual data" in a packet or file minus all headers attached for transport and minus all descriptive meta-data. In a network packet, headers are appended to the payload for transport and then discarded at their destination. requirements should match available truck technology, Schmitz noted. The Army also could mandate that manufacturers reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel economy, without dictating how to reach those goals.
Schmitz said he believes the Army should reevaluate the need for non-payload equipment aboard logistic vehicles, such as load-handing equipment, winches, pallets, flat-racks, containers and spare tires. "Every pound of dead weight is fuel, ammunition, and water not carried," he said.
While no single technology will address the fuel consumption problem, he added, incremental Additional or increased growth, bulk, quantity, number, or value; enlarged.
Incremental cost is additional or increased cost of an item or service apart from its actual cost. steps can help. For example, he explained, the use of synthetic lubricants lubricants
preparations for the lubrication of passages to reduce frictional injury, e.g. oily preparations, including petroleum jelly, lanolin or water-soluble preparations such as methyl cellulose. can achieve 3 to 6 percent increased fuel economy in commercial truck fleets.
Hybrid vehicle For other types of "Hybrid Transportation", see .
A hybrid vehicle (HV) is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to propel the vehicle such as:
"There is an unavoidable energy loss when engine power is converted to electrical power. A second loss occurs if energy is stored, a third when removed from storage and a fourth when converted back to mechanical power to drive the axle," he added.
The fuel savings are largely vehicle duty-cycle dependent. Electric hybrids can deliver impressive performance and fuel economy within a limited, predictable duty-cycle, said Schmitz. "For well defined commercial, vocational truck and perhaps even in limited line-haul military applications, there may exist a case for electric hybrids." Duty cycles, he stressed, should be based on real-world mission scenarios. Commanders, ultimately, must decide whether they will require "access to full power at any time, all the time [and whether they can] wait for the batteries to recharge re·charge
tr.v. re·charged, re·charg·ing, re·charg·es
To charge again, especially to reenergize a storage battery.
RELATED ARTICLE: TACOM Chief: Army Industrial Base in Peril
The Army's vehicle programs are not following a consistent policy in the way they allocate maintenance and repair work, said Maj. Gen. N. Ross Thompson III, head of the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command.
This is a problem, he said, because a lot of the repair work that should be sent to the Army's organic depots is outsourced to contractors, thus making the depots less efficient and more costly to operate.
"We have an industrial base problem," Thompson said at an industry conference. "Once a vehicle is fielded, most of the work needs to be done in the organic base."
During an interview, Thompson explained that program managers for various vehicles often have set up partnerships with preferred suppliers to do repair work and vehicle overhaul. But that is not a good way to do business, he said, because it fails to consider the "holistic picture of the Army, not just individual program decisions."
Many program managers, said Thompson, "don't take a view of Army capacity, so there is wasted capacity. We need to raise the visibility of Army organic capabilities. Individual programs take a narrow view."
Asked how he would go about changing the current way of doing business, Thompson noted that his organization, TACOM, is the head contracting agency. "We may or may not approve certain contracts," he said, if they fail to comply with sound "make or buy" policy.
Such policy has been in place in the Army for many years, but "so far has not been executed very well," said Thompson. "TACOM can help enforce the policy." Every program manager, he added, gets "carte blanche CARTE BLANCHE. The signature of an individual or more, on a while. paper, with a sufficient space left above it to write a note or other writing.
2. In the course of business, it not unfrequently occurs that for the sake of convenience, signatures in blank are to develop their own support system, because they don't get guidance from the top."
Among the upcoming projects that will test the make-or-buy policy is the remanufacturing of 4,300 Humvees between 2003 and 2007.
The Army budgeted $25,000 for each truck, to replace key components in older Humvees and extend the life of the vehicle. Officials said it's likely that the work will be done at the Army's Red River Depot, in Texas.
Industry Advocates Use of Electronic Brakes
A consortium representing brake manufacturers is working to inform military truck-buying agencies on the benefits of electronic braking systems. The technology is widely used in European truck fleets, but has not been adopted in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. yet.
An electronically controlled braking system essentially is braking by wire. It involves substituting a wire with an electronic signal, instead of the current system, which uses compressed air compressed air, air whose volume has been decreased by the application of pressure. Air is compressed by various devices, including the simple hand pump and the reciprocating, rotary, centrifugal, and axial-flow compressors. in a tube. "Rather than sending a message to the wheel via compressed air in a long tube, 1920s style, we are doing it electronically," said David Hammes, chairman of the electronic brakes task force of the American Trucking Association.
"If you compare to an aircraft, a pilot in World War II had a joystick (hardware, games) joystick - A device consisting of a hand held stick that pivots about one end and transmits its angle in two dimensions to a computer. Joysticks are often used to control games, and usually have one or more push-buttons whose state can also be read by the computer. with a wire connected to the aileron aileron: see airfoil; airplane. , the rudder rudder, mechanism for steering an airplane or a ship. In ships it is a flat-surfaced structure hinged to the stern and controlled by a helm. When the ship is on a straight course, the rudder is in line with the vessel; if the rudder is turned to one side or the other and the wing flaps," said Hammes in an interview. "Today, the pilot has a wire that sends an electronic message to a motor that turns the aileron, the rudder and the flaps. We are doing the same with trucks."
In heavy trucks, brake by wire will "save lots of money in assembly, because you are not connecting plastic tubes and rubber hoses into the valves, you are connecting wires," he said. "It saves a lot of room under the dashboard."
Today, he added, "You have to tweak To make minor adjustments in an electronic system or in a software program in order to improve performance. See calibrate.
1. tweak - To change slightly, usually in reference to a value. Also used synonymously with twiddle. and play with the valves and the hoses. With electronic braking, the balance will be an instantaneous signal to the wheel."
The U.S. brake manufacturers currently are working together to make sure that the technology is compatible with every truck make. They want every component from every competitor to be compatible, said Hammes.
He is not sure how long it will take for the U.S. government to mandate electronic brakes, which is the only way that manufacturers will use it. Hammes recalled that it took 20 years for the U.S. government to endorse anti-lock brakes (ABS).
"The North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. brake law is in the process of being rewritten to allow for braking by electronics," Hammes said. "Just like ABS, nobody will buy it unless it is mandated."
He estimates that it would cost $500 to upgrade a truck from conventional to electronic brakes with air disks.