Driving the military

QinetiQ’s advanced design for a hybrid drive transmission has been selected for manned ground vehicle (MGV) integration of the US Army’s Future Combat System.


QinetiQ’s advanced design for a hybrid drive transmission has been selected for manned ground vehicle (MGV) integration of the US Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) as part of a US-based team led by BAE Systems.



According to a statement, the lightweight QinetiQ transmission makes electric drive military vehicles a reality for the first time.



QinetiQ will develop its E-X-Drive tracked vehicle transmission as part of the overall traction drive system (TDS) for the US Army’s planned fleet of tracked military vehicles as part of a team led by BAE Systems’ new Land & Armaments business, together with Honeywell in the USA.



“We believe the implications of this technological breakthrough are significant,” said Graeme Ferrero, QinetiQ’s Managing Director Defence Technology. “In essence, the compact layout of the transmission system makes the difference. The high efficiency of the electric drive minimises power loss and, should any part of the system fail, there are a number of built in back-up and safety features ready to take over its function.



“It will also bring some savings on fuel consumption. By adopting this system, the US is setting the standard for the development of tracked military vehicles worldwide.”



The US Future Combat Systems (FCS) is a networked system of systems made up of 18 individual systems, plus the network, plus the soldier – that utilises advanced communications and technologies to link soldiers with both manned and unmanned ground and air platforms and sensors.



The team’s effort on TDS is for the Systems Design and Development phase and covers the supply of a number of prototype transmissions to the FCS project, which takes the system through to the ready for production stage. While developed for FCS, the traction drive system’s compact configuration also makes it suitable for technology upgrades into existing in-service platforms.


Although electric drive for tracked military vehicles is not a new concept, the limitations of motor designs and the large power demands required to steer a tracked vehicle have limited previous attempts. QinetiQ says it’s design, coupled with advances in modern power electronics and high efficiency permanent magnet motors, now makes tracked electric drive a realistic proposition.