How an electric Bushmaster can help army logistics and fuel supply

An all-electric Bushmaster is being tested by the Defense Force, as The Driven reported on Thursday.

But why is the military considering going electric? And what are the benefits of electrifying defense force vehicles?

We sat down with Col. Robin Smith, director of the Army’s Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office, in a brief chat to learn more.

What are the advantages of an electrified Bushmaster?

A few years ago the military published an article on power and energy where we looked at how we could potentially power infrastructure soldier systems and platforms in the future, based on ongoing trends, particularly in the transportation industry, and we have begun to realize that in addition to the natural potential deployment of fossil fuels, there are a number of other opportunities with the electrification of our military combat vehicles .

A Bushmaster Electric Protected Mobility Vehicle after being unveiled at the 2022 Army Leaders Symposium. In the background is a Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle fitted with hardened solar panels. Image credit: Max Bree

So for example…. there is potentially less maintenance, certainly simplified maintenance in the way we use the platform. And for the military, maintaining vehicles in the field is demanding, so there’s a great opportunity to make it easier for ourselves.

Along with that comes a simplified powertrain, which potentially means it’s more resistant to battle damage.

bushmaster electric
A Bushmaster Electric Protected Mobility Vehicle after being unveiled at the 2022 Army Leaders Symposium. In the background is a Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle fitted with hardened solar panels. Image credit: Max Bree

A system such as the Electrified Bushmaster will also have a reduced heat signature. Thus, on the battlefield, it will not be as detectable by thermal imaging and other heat source detection devices.

And of course, it will be quieter when it rolls…. (and) the higher torque allows us to get different terrain accessibility, so it could probably climb a steeper grade, (and) can tow different weights the way we currently can.

And of course the acceleration, which anyone driving an electric vehicle would appreciate, is significantly improved.

And while Acceleration itself isn’t necessarily a catalyst in combat, it can allow you to escape an ambush or a sticky situation where you don’t want to be exposed for too long.

And then, of course, (there’s) the reduction in fuel consumption, as I’ve talked about before, so even though this platform is currently all-electric, the longer-term intention is to make a form of hybrid.

Is it possible to actually deploy an all-electric Bushmaster in the field? What are the security benefits of logistics and supply chains?

The (current) platform is fully electric. So it has no engine, it has no gearbox. So it can’t, it can’t be propelled by these mechanical means.

What we’re looking at doing is putting some externally mounted generators, but a very small form factor using rotary engine generators, to create a high power opportunity for ourselves that will increase the range of the platform.

It also means that in certain circumstances we could remove the generators from the platform and use the vehicle in its all-electric form.

bushmaster electric
A Bushmaster Electric Protected Mobility Vehicle after being unveiled at the 2022 Army Leaders Symposium. In the background is a Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle fitted with hardened solar panels. Image credit: Max Bree

So we recognize that we don’t really want to create a new field load issue. This is therefore the first stage of a multi-stage prototype and discovery activity as part of the goal (to) pivot to the future ready.

Recognizing your question about logistics, I’m a logistician by training. And I’m very aware of how much fuel an army needs to be sustained in the field.

And so this is an opportunity, even with hybrid generators (probably diesel) in the short term (and maybe other fuels like hydrogen in the longer term) that will allow us to reduce our overall footprint and demand or logistics convoys in the future.

What does this all-electric concept look like in terms of battery size, range, power and torque?

Without going into details, a vehicle is currently configured (for) around 100 kilometers with a small battery that is (already) installed, and we have a larger battery that is just in production at the moment, which will extend this range to about 300 to 350km, or about the range of a Bushmaster today.

So we’re kind of keeping it the same level, but we’ve lost some weight doing this overhaul, about a ton and a half to two tons of weight.

And he reduced the height of the center of gravity and moved it to the rear. The axle weight is different in the electric vehicle than in the “normal” Bushmaster.

It gives us a range of opportunities in terms of some sort of agility and that kind of stuff.

And of course the challenge for electric vehicles is how you drive them. So on the highway, where you can maintain a steady speed, and you get pretty predictable performance, but driving cross-country on steep grades, towing and those other kinds of military-type roles will change the profile and the scope we’ll get.

This is part of our experimentation so that we can (find) the right size, battery…. recharging capacity and making compromises where we feel necessary.

Comments are closed.