Military Review

M2 Bradley hybrid is preparing for testing


M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle

In the United States, work continues on a project to modernize the M2 Bradley serial infantry fighting vehicle using a hybrid power plant. By now, the necessary design work has been completed and the assembly of the prototype has begun. In the near future, he will go to the test, and later the second will join him. By the end of next year, the Pentagon will determine the real prospects for such a project.

Course of development

The idea of ​​translating military equipment, incl. armored combat vehicles, fully electric or hybrid power plants appeared at the Pentagon for a long time. Several years ago, they began to consider it in relation to specific samples. The standard BMP "Bradley" was chosen as one of the potential carriers of the hybrid installation. This project received the working name B-HEV (Bradley - Hybrid Electric Vehicle).

Based on the results of preliminary study, in July 2020, a contract was signed for the creation of an experimental project with the subsequent manufacture of a prototype for testing. The customer is the Department of Defense's "Rapid Capabilities" and Critical Technologies Directorate. The American divisions of BAE Systems and QinetiQ were appointed as the contractors.

The contract cost of the project was $ 32 million. 15 months were allocated for its development, and the finished prototypes were required to be presented and brought to testing within 24 months. after receiving the order. So far, work is proceeding in full compliance with the established schedule.

The latest modification "Bradley" - M2A4

In the future, the company developers several times disclosed the technical details of the project and their plans. The last news B-HEVs arrived in late November. According to Breaking Defense, the development companies are now completing the assembly of the first experimental BMP with a new power plant. The second car will be completed in February or March.

The first prototype will go to preliminary tests in January. In 2-3 months after that, it will be joined by a second copy of the B-HEV. A full set of tests will be carried out over the next year, although the exact date of its completion has not been announced.

The Office of Rapid Opportunities notes that so far it is only about demonstrating new technology and assessing its real capabilities. If two experienced BMPs show advantages over standard equipment, the B-HEV project will be developed. In addition, the experience and developments of this project can be extended to other relevant programs.

Technical aspects

According to reports, the B-HEV project offers a deep modernization of the serial BMP "Bradley" one of the latest modifications. It provides for the preservation of existing armored units, general on-board systems, electronics and weapons. At the same time, a radical restructuring of the engine compartment is being carried out. Instead of the standard transmission, it houses the QinetiQ EX-Drive hybrid unit.

EX-Drive Transmission Line

The EX-Drive project has been developed since the late nineties and offers a whole family of electric transmissions for use on wheeled and tracked platforms of various classes. When creating a hybrid BMP, an "average" transmission configuration is used, designed for vehicles with a gross weight of up to 50 tons. This choice of transmission not only provides the necessary characteristics, but also provides a large margin for further modifications and experiments.

The EX-Drive medium version is a unit that includes an electric generator, a pair of traction motors, the necessary mechanics and electrical control systems. Depending on the features of the platform, the transmission can be performed using an integrated scheme or with component separation according to available volumes.

In their current form, the electric transmissions from QinetiQ are intended for use in conjunction with a diesel engine and battery. However, in the future, given the necessary technological capabilities and the wishes of the customer, they can abandon diesel engines and completely switch to electricity.

B-HEV prototypes receive the EX-Drive transmission fully configured with all the features offered. Its work will be provided by the standard 903 hp Cummins VTA-650T engine. and high capacity batteries. Apparently, the new units will also be included in the general electrical systems of the armored vehicle.

"Medium" electric transmission EX-Drive

Expected Benefits

It is assumed that the hybrid power plant will maintain or improve the main characteristics of the combat vehicle. At the same time, it will provide an increase in some indicators, as well as give certain advantages over serial infantry fighting vehicles. However, so far we are talking only about calculations, and the B-HEV project still needs practical verification.

An important advantage of the B-HEV project is the use of the existing platform in the form of the production M2 Bradley machine. This allows you to check the transmission in fact in real operation in the army. In addition, a reserve is being created for a hypothetical modernization of combat equipment. If the current pilot project pays off, in the future the Pentagon could begin re-equipping its BMPs - without the need to develop such a project from scratch.

Two electric motors instantly deliver the required torque to the drive wheels and provide straight-line movement with the required speed and dynamics. Maneuverability is also improved: by simultaneously rewinding the tracks in different directions, the chassis can turn on the spot.

The B-HEV project provides for two driving modes: with a diesel engine and with batteries. In both cases, the mobility characteristics should remain at the level of the serial BMP. Using only rechargeable batteries will drastically reduce driving noise. When the batteries are fully charged, the car will be able to move for up to 6 hours.

Due to the high-power generator, it will be possible to ensure not only movement, but also the operation of all on-board systems. In addition, there is a fundamental possibility of increasing the capacity with a reserve for further upgrades.

The economic aspects of the project are of great importance. According to calculations, the EX-Drive system differs from other types of transmission in its increased efficiency, which will reduce fuel consumption by 10-20 percent. Accordingly, the army will be able to reduce the cost of purchasing liquid fuel and free up funds for other projects. In the future, it is possible to abandon the diesel engine with charging batteries from external sources. This will provide even greater savings.

Finally, the ecological features of the technology are also mentioned. Due to the higher efficiency, emissions of carbon dioxide and other substances should decrease, and operation on batteries will generally eliminate the appearance of exhaust gases. In this case, the environmental performance of the machine will be determined mainly by the features of power grids and generation.

Theory and practice

The EX-Drive electric transmission has already been tested on experimental platforms and confirmed all the main characteristics. Now BAE Systems and QinetiQ are preparing to test this product on the basis of a real combat armored vehicle, and in the interests of a large customer. The results of these tests will determine the future of both a specific project and an entire direction.

The latest modification of the M2 Bradley features an expanded range of equipment that imposes increased demands on power supply

The previous successes of the EX-Drive project give its creators reasons for optimism. Indeed, the experimental B-HEV technique with a new transmission can show all the necessary characteristics and qualities, and the project will be further developed. The most optimistic scenario implies the completion of the development of the modernization project and the subsequent massive update of the Bradley BMP in combat units.

In addition, the developments in B-HEV can find application in other projects of this kind. With the help of EX-Drive or similar products, in the future, you can upgrade other samples of armored vehicles. Also, these transmissions are suitable for use in completely new projects.

However, the B-HEV project is notable for its complexity, and its success is not guaranteed. At any stage of testing, he may encounter certain difficulties that will negatively affect the timing of the work, the opinion of the customer, as well as the prospects of the project and the entire hybrid direction. It cannot be ruled out that the new “green technologies in the proposed form will not meet expectations, and the project will be closed for lack of real prospects after the completion of the tests.

The future of the experimental B-HEV project and hybrid power plants for armored vehicles has not yet been determined. They have advantages and disadvantages, and only full-fledged tests of experimental equipment will be able to determine their exact ratio. Tests of the first prototype Bradley BMP with unusual units will begin next January, and the results of the project will be known by the end of the year. And then they can reveal new plans for the introduction of hybrid and electric systems in the field of armored vehicles.
Photos used:
US Department of Defense, QinetiQ

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  1. pytar
    pytar 13 December 2021 18: 17
    Hybrid / electric propulsion systems will be used more and more. In a not so remote future, they will replace completely traditional ones.
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 13 December 2021 18: 22
      Yes. The hybrid installation for heavy equipment is the optimal solution. In addition to technical advantages, a reserve of energy is created for the operation of radar, electronic warfare, and laser systems. They are becoming mandatory for modern armored vehicles.
      1. lucul
        lucul 13 December 2021 18: 38
        "Hybrid plant for heavy equipment is the optimal solution."

        This is an unnecessary rise in the cost of the structure.
        1. dzvero
          dzvero 13 December 2021 19: 11
          For mining dump trucks, there is no alternative.
          Apparently Kinetic managed to create an installation "crammed" into the MTO and with a good resource and reliability. For MBT, the most it is, especially if you abandon the batteries for the "purely electric" move.
        2. PROXOR
          PROXOR 14 December 2021 16: 06
          And the weight will also increase. There will be more copper. Delirium is already heavy bandura, but it will become even heavier.
      2. pytar
        pytar 14 December 2021 22: 13
        Hybrids have their own weight advantages. And technological progress in recent years, drastically diminishes the disadvantages. For modern military equipment, GSU ​​are ideal. Reduces fuel consumption, increases stealth, improves driving performance.
    2. Sergey Aleksandrovich
      Sergey Aleksandrovich 13 December 2021 21: 20
      As soon as we learn how to deliver electricity in barrels and cans, we will immediately transfer military equipment to electric power plants. In the meantime, we will observe the failure of another attempt to create a diesel electric vehicle on tracks.
      1. Sergey Kulikov_3
        Sergey Kulikov_3 13 December 2021 23: 23
        The electric drivetrain and without the barrels of electricity is quite an interesting and necessary topic.
        1. Momotomba
          Momotomba 14 December 2021 06: 46
          Quote: Sergey Kulikov_3
          The electric drivetrain and without the barrels of electricity is quite an interesting and necessary topic.

          But this does not mean that it needs to be poked into all the equipment in a row. soldier
    3. APASUS
      APASUS 14 December 2021 11: 25
      Quote: pytar
      In a not so remote future, they will replace completely traditional ones.

      For military equipment, maintainability is one of the main factors. I doubt that such systems will replace traditional ones. And given the price of such systems, the complexity of maintenance, such equipment cannot be called mass
      1. pytar
        pytar 15 December 2021 00: 13
        For military equipment, maintainability is one of the main factors.

        Undoubtedly! Therefore, modern systems are made on modular principles. From electronics to mechanics, and armor protection for blocks. On the battlefield, no one will pick with a screwdriver, well, except for basic things. The electronic system diagnoses, the damaged block is removed quickly and replaced with a new one. Repairs are carried out in workshops equipped with all the necessary, field and stationary. The maintainability in terms of time and efficiency is even higher than that of traditional ones.
        I doubt that such systems will replace traditional ones.

        Replaced unambiguously and categorically.
        And given the price of such systems, the complexity of maintenance, such equipment cannot be called mass-produced.

        Hybrid system military applications should not be confused with those of a citizen. If in a car, a hybrid works according to a certain optimization, then in military technology it is probably different. Most likely, the electric traction will constantly be powered by accumulators, and the DVG or turbine will be used periodically as a shocker recharging generator, in case there is no specialized electric charging machine in the vicinity. That is, not like a hybrid car. In this way, fuel economy and vehicle stealth are guaranteed.
        Yes, the price may be high at first, but the increased combat performance is worth it! And over time, the price will drop to quite competitive values. After all, jet aircraft are much more expensive than piston aircraft, but for a long time the whole world switched to jet thrust. By the way, hybrids will find more and more applications in aviation, especially in unmanned vehicles! We live in interesting times, technologies make a sharp leap! hi
  2. rocket757
    rocket757 13 December 2021 18: 33
    However, the B-HEV project is notable for its complexity, and its success is not guaranteed.
    It is clear that the idea is interesting, the level of design and technological solutions is above the roof!
    That’s just right from scratch, without having new power sources / batteries, this may remain a promising idea until better times, or rather, before new sources or storage of electrical energy appear.
  3. lucul
    lucul 13 December 2021 18: 33
    Something this Bradley, with each modernization, more and more on the M4 Sherman tank becomes similar.)))
  4. km-21
    km-21 14 December 2021 01: 31
    It's especially fun to read about the environmental friendliness of a killing machine.
  5. Momotomba
    Momotomba 14 December 2021 06: 49
    When the batteries are fully charged, the car will be able to move for up to 6 hours.

    And how many kilometers will it turn out?
    1. Roman_vh
      Roman_vh 15 December 2021 01: 14
      Six will work. Estimate how much cable to pull to the outlet. :)))
  6. TEM
    TEM 14 December 2021 10: 08
    What is the savings in fuel consumption, what is the simplification of the design ??? !!! Technical nonsense !!! DOUBLE ENERGY CONVERSION with attendant losses !!! Another Perpetuum Mobile for
    saw the dough ...
    1. Jacket in stock
      Jacket in stock 14 December 2021 10: 33
      Quote: TEM
      what a simplification of the design ??? !!!

      Is a manual transmission not difficult in your opinion?
      As it has already been written here, on heavy machines, such as a diesel locomotive or a mining dump truck, there is no mechanic at all, only electric traction.
      With the development of electromechanics, such systems become lighter and more compact, respectively, suitable for increasingly lighter machines.
      1. TEM
        TEM 14 December 2021 10: 52
        Mechanical transmission for armored vehicles weighing up to 70 tons has been worked out like our Father!
        Diesel, generator, electric motors, battery in Bradley's dimensions - WHOOO! The fact that the Naglo-Saxons will waste a lot of dough is their problem. If only our
        figures from the military-industrial complex did not fall for this bullshit !!!
      2. rocket757
        rocket757 14 December 2021 11: 05
        Quote: Jacket in stock
        As it has already been written here, on heavy machines, such as a diesel locomotive or a mining dump truck, there is no mechanic at all, only electric traction
        dimensions are not so critical and weight, by the way, there are batteries, only for auxiliary, service matters and not for movement.
        Batteries are, so far, a bottleneck in all such designs.
    2. rocket757
      rocket757 14 December 2021 11: 02
      The system can be balanced both in terms of ergonomic and, and in terms of reliability .... only such a weak link as batteries, so far, in principle, have not been able to improve.
      In total, it is unlikely that it will be possible to make it more reliable and cheaper than the internal combustion engine, it will hurt a lot of things that will work in tension, otherwise the increase in reliability will result in such pennies ... even they will not pull such costs.
    3. vadim dok
      vadim dok 14 December 2021 16: 46
      Excuse me, do you have experience in driving a LIGHT hybrid car and do you know about fuel consumption? SO HERE hybrid cars SAVE fuel!
      1. TEM
        TEM 14 December 2021 18: 49
        Compare a car - a fluff with armored vehicles ??? !!! My 3 (three) diplomas and 12 patents are nervously smoking on the sidelines ... Excuse me, dear, did you even go to school? And if you did, at least you finished?
        1. Zaits
          Zaits 15 December 2021 00: 19
          It is strange that your "3 (three) diplomas and 12 patents" do not allow you to see a serious qualitative leap in power electronics and power electric machines, which has not only taken place, but has also moved into mass production. The efficiency and specific indicators of modern samples have greatly expanded the possible areas of their application.

          And it is even more strange that you are not aware of the optimal operating modes of the internal combustion engine. Even advanced students know about this. From the point of view of ICE operating modes, hybrids are equally effective on a car and on armored vehicles.
          1. TEM
            TEM 15 December 2021 10: 55
            Pentagon Wars Film, 1998 Must-see for general development!
            One of my diplomas in the specialty - "Internal combustion engine" !!!! I can read lectures on the history, designs, production technology and operation of internal combustion engines (including on DPL) for hours !!!
            You, excuse me, are a terry dilettante who does not know the fundamentals in this topic and, in addition, poisoned by advertising husks !!! Publicly "multiply you by
            zero "I don’t want! Unless you’re a spiritual masochist !!! And your interest in military-technical topics warms my soul and leaves me hope that my Fatherland has not yet lost its chance to revive its former greatness ...
      2. avg avg
        avg avg 16 December 2021 11: 01
        Tell us, pliz, about your experience of driving at least light hybrid cars in the Far North! We will listen with interest.
  7. Conjurer
    Conjurer 14 December 2021 13: 18
    The design will be interesting in the case of using a direct conversion engine-generator (in it the piston group immediately - without a crankshaft - moves the "rotor" of the generator (reciprocally)) and electric motors as a transmission. The result is a much more compact and reliable (in terms of motor resource) drive. True, while such an engine-generator in terms of power can only power a vacuum cleaner)))
  8. Saladine
    Saladine 14 December 2021 21: 51
    Oh oh oh. The story continues ...
    1. TEM
      TEM 15 December 2021 09: 46
      Respect and respect !!! It is immediately clear that the person is in the subject!
      Pentagon Wars Film, 1998
    2. TEM
      TEM 15 December 2021 10: 10
      Respect and respect !!! It is immediately clear that the person is in the subject!
      Pentagon Wars Film, 1998
    3. TEM
      TEM 16 December 2021 11: 19
      Some mean little soul of a minus stumbled where she had done up to her ears with her scanty knowledge ...
  9. Lutens
    Lutens 16 May 2022 19: 55
    Either I misunderstood the principle of operation, or the Americans invented KERS. In general, this thing has been used in formula 1 for 7 years, if not more. In recent years, it has migrated to the hybrid supercars of Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren.