Modern-day tanks, while lethal and high-tech, have one major downside — you can hear them coming from miles away.
Flensburg-based armament firm FFG (Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft) may have found a solution.
Imagine a 35-ton tank with a 13-man crew that can sneak up on you as quietly as a Toyota hybrid. The technology has arrived, and it’s called “Genesis,” — a prototype hybrid-drive eight-wheeled tank that is purely electric, Gerhard Hegmann of Die Welt reported.
The Genesis, which FFG says should be ready for deployment in about two years, features a “Silent Mode” thanks to the electric drive. The electrical output is estimated at 1,368 kilowatts.
When necessary, the batteries are recharged by a 200-kilowatt six-cylinder diesel engine from the Deutz company. Also, the driver does not steer mechanically, but via electrical connections as in a “drive by wire” aircraft system, Die Welt reported.
Using pure electric drive, the range at 40 km/h is about 150 kilometers. In the diesel-electric drive at 60 km/h, the range is around 600 kilometers, FFG said.
“The only limiting factor in the march is the size of the tank,” said an FFG spokesman. The maximum speed is expected to be more than 100 km/h, as with modern wheeled tanks.
The “Genesis” tank is controlled by software, which directs the eight wheels individually. Sensors also monitor grip, Die Welt reported.
Maximum torque, i.e. the moving force, is enormous at 15,622 Newton meters per wheel. This force can also be called up very quickly because the speed of the diesel engine does not have to be increased first.
The Genesis can also act as an electrical filling station for other E-vehicles. The angular shape not only serves to protect the vehicle from being fired upon, but is also intended to keep the radar signature small and thus contribute to camouflage, Die Welt reported.
As an armored personnel carrier, Genesis sits two people in the ultramodern cockpit with touchscreen monitors, has space for ten infantrymen, as well as one soldier to operate the remote-controlled turret and 30-millimeter cannon made by Norwegian firm Kongsberg.
A variety of mission scenarios would be possible, including a medical version. And while it can’t swim, it can dive into four-metres of water on electrical power, making it almost invisible, Die Welt reported.
Camouflage notwithstanding — the company painted the tank in company-owed blue to garner attention — the Genesis has been developed internally by FFG under the greatest secrecy.
It was originally to be presented at the Paris armament fair Eurosatory in June, which has been cancelled due to Covid-19.
Corresponding development projects have also been launched in the US.
Textron Systems announced recently that it will deliver an all-electric version of its M5 Ripsaw Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) prototype to the US Army for experimentation next year, Military.com reported.
The Army wants to develop a light, medium and heavy version of the RCV to give commanders the option of sending unmanned vehicles into combat against enemy forces.
Textron is scheduled to deliver four prototypes of its 10-ton M5, which resembles a lightweight tank powered by diesel and hybrid electric motors, by the end of the year, Military.com reported.