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Hybrids got the juice

A proper command post needs a lot of juice. You're talking radios, radars, computers, network terminals, a mini fridge for your frappuccinos ... the demand for power is constantly growing. These days at a Forward Operating Base in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can spot a command post among hundreds of identical tents by looking for the tent surrounded by greasy, thrumming generators. All those generators have to be hauled, fueled and maintained. But what if you could just hook your command post equipment up to the same vehicle you transported it in?command post.jpg That's the idea behind an emerging requirement across the U.S. military's slate of diesel-electric hybrid demonstration programs. One of the major advantages of hybrid vehicles is their ability, with proper modification, to export electricity. With the right interface, you can just plug your gizmos into your truck, keep it idling and voila! You've cut your logistics burden significantly by dumping all those bulky, finnicky generator trailers.AM General's hybrid Humvee demonstrator powered a command post years ago. (See pic.) Oshkosh has made power export a central capability of its hybrid Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) A3. And General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) is moving forward with a new model of its Marine Corps Reconaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle (RST-V) demonstrator that exports juice, too. RST-V is a small hybrid intended for internal carriage in the V-22."The Marine Corps requested this," says GDLS' Director for Advanced Programs Bill Riker. "Essentially what you end up having with RST-V is a ... generator set. The Marines have asked us to focus on 30 kilowatt [power]. We've done that at 60 Hertz and 400 Hertz at 3-phase [Alternating Current]. The RST-V provides a huge amount of power with the flip of a switch."Besides building RST-V, GDLS is also a major partner in the manned ground component of the tracked Future Combat Systems (FCS). Expect to see serious power export capability written into FCS requirements.The potential applications of this capability are huge. Consider just the FCS Medical Evacuation Vehicle (MEV). With today's M-113- or Humvee-based ambulances, medics can do little more than haul casualties. But the FCS MEV might power a wide range of equipment that could enable medics to treat patients en route to the Forward Surgical Teams. In addition to easing logistics, power export could save lives.

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