Electrified Military Ground Vehicles: Advancements and Implementations

In recent decades, the global community focused on ground vehicles has witnessed a remarkable surge in the integration of advanced capabilities onto such platforms. These capabilities span a spectrum of enhancements, encompassing more robust protective equipment, highly capable sensors, improved mobility, enhanced communications, and upgraded lethality technologies. While all of these newfound capabilities are highly advantageous, they have resulted in a steep rise in power demand for ground vehicles, which has created the objective of how such demands can be effectively met.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) specializing in ground vehicles have diligently strived to match these needs, and their endeavors have resulted in the creation of high-output alternators, more potent engines, expanded channels and capacity within power management systems, and augmented battery banks. Each of these adaptations is aimed at sustaining the rapid pace of integration.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has also proactively allocated research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) funding over the last decade to deal with the issue of escalating power demands within ground vehicles. A significant case in point is the US Army's Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) requirements, which mandate a hybrid electric drive and a high-voltage architecture—specifically 600VDC or higher. This design directive aims to minimize electrical current requirements while achieving elevated levels of overall power capacity.

To address these challenges and herald a new era of ground vehicle power architecture, a pioneering standard, MIL-PRF-GCS600, has been formulated. This standard is set to guide OEMs, systems integrators, and developers of subsystem technologies in anticipating and designing for compliance within a 600VDC environment.

In tandem with aligning advanced capabilities with the new ground vehicle power paradigm, the industry faces the imperative task of innovating and testing power generation and distribution technologies that support this new power framework. Notably, starter-generators have undergone optimization in terms of size and weight, rendering them suitable for ground vehicle platforms that coincide with engine/transmission drive shafts. However, a bi-directional DC-DC converter is indispensable for facilitating the startup of the integrated starter-generator. This converter translates the 28VDC output from the battery bank into the necessary 600V standard.

Furthermore, the development of high-voltage power distribution units (PDUs) is essential. These units leverage wide-bandgap materials like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) to endure the rigorous operational conditions within high-voltage subsystems, even when placed within an engine compartment. Safety considerations pertaining to human factors also come to the forefront when dealing with the transfer of 600VDC power within a vehicle. This necessitates careful integration of power converters to step down the voltage to a more manageable level, such as 28VDC. Additionally, the pursuit of new battery chemistries with higher energy densities is imperative to support the power-hungry subsystems that are critical within silent watch environments, while still maintaining low volatility in combat situations where projectiles might be present.

The ground vehicle community, spurred by anticipated requirements from entities such as the US Army Development Command (DEVCOM) and the USMC Combat Development and Integration Command (MCCDC), has played a pivotal role in collaborating with the industry to generate innovative concepts, devise material solutions, and assess emerging technologies for potential inclusion within ground vehicle platforms. Challenges persist, but the industry is poised to meet the escalating power demands driven by the swift evolution of new capabilities being integrated within military ground vehicles.

If you are in the market for top-quality military ground vehicle equipment and power system products, we have you covered here on Buy Military Ground Vehicle Parts. On our website, you can peruse through an expansive inventory consisting of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that are ready for purchase at any time. With AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, we can attest to the quality of our offerings, and we always go above and beyond industry expectations for your benefit. If you find any items of interest on our website, be sure to use our online RFQ service and forms to request quotes for your comparisons. Here at Buy Military Ground Vehicle Parts, we are more than just a dependable distributor; we are your strategic sourcing partner for all your operational needs. 

August 24, 2023 Allen Baker Defense


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