- The Technology Demonstrator 6 test and evaluation phase is well underway at the Millbrook Proving Ground with the test vehicles being put through their paces both on the Track and in the Test Chambers.
- The TD6 Project aims to identify all the capability benefits that Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) vehicles may bring to the battlefield and to overall platform supportability.
- The TD6 Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) Programme commenced in January 2020 and is being managed by the FCSS TD6 Team, with support from UTAC Millbrook, Jacobs, Magtec, RBSL on behalf of RMMV, Supacat and General Dynamics UK (GDUK) on behalf of NP Aerospace.
The TD6 programme has two main strands of work. The first is to gather data on hybrid technologies from across UK industry. This includes investigating development paths for hybrid and electric vehicle technologies to inform future vehicle development by the MoD. For this, the TD6 Project Team have developed a database of existing UK manufacturing capabilities and capacities. This has so far involved engagement with the UK industry through questionnaires, interviews and visits.
The TD6 Team have had direct contact with around 50 companies ranging from defence suppliers to the motorsport sector. The Team’s focus is for the project to provide the MOD with a database of the UK industry’s hybridisation capability and capacity both now and in the future.
The second strand of work is focused on demonstrating the potential benefits and challenges of vehicle hybridisation in a military context. The core element of this is a series of trials and tests being conducted at the UTAC Millbrook Proving Ground. The aim of this work is to benchmark a sample build of hybridised in service military vehicles against their current Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) capabilities. The sample platforms built represents a cross section of military vehicle applications and configurations of hybrid drivelines.
By testing a cross section of hybridised military vehicles, TD6 aims to provide evidence to support previous studies and address potential user perceptions. The Testing and Trials programme is centered upon identifying the benefits and issues whilst also benchmarking how easy it may be to apply existing and commercially available HED technologies into the military environment.
The electrification of the sample vehicles was designed and integrated by Magtec who are based in Rotherham. For TD6, Magtec has designed and built HED drivelines for the Man HX60 support vehicle, the Jackal reconnaissance vehicle and the Foxhound patrol vehicle. In each case, work was conducted alongside the vehicle design authorities: RBSL on behalf of RMMV, Supacat and GDUK on behalf of NP Aerospace. The vehicle builds used existing Magtec technologies to explore the various configurations.
The vehicles have been built and are now being comprehensively tested to identify the effects of hybridisation on fuel economy, emissions, mobility and driveability, as well as factors such as noise, electromagnetic compliance and infrared signatures. Through the different vehicle configurations, this work will investigate the potential for wider platform HED adaptation. The team is comparing the more conventional HED drivetrain layout currently being used in the Man SV TD6 demonstrator with the TD6 Foxhound and Jackal vehicles; which have more complex individual hub drives and outboard and inboard driveline configurations. All the TD6 platforms retain their current NATO Single Fuel Policy compliant diesel engine but uses them to efficiently drive an electrical generator which charges the on board Lithium Ion batteries. The power is then stored and used to drive the platforms via their HED drivelines.
There will also be exploration of the other aspects of hybrid drive such as the platforms ability for in field power generation: for example the HED Man SV vehicle has the potential to be used as a power source for a field hospital or headquarters as it currently has up to 400KW of exportable power on board. Robust testing and interaction with the PTs responsible for the current and future equipment likely to need power in the field is another strand of current TD6 activity.
The TD6 Team are concurrently investigating the Through Life Support (TLS) aspects of HED with reliability, maintainability and the revised training requirement leading the task lists. The Team are also now defining the potential for a HED upgrade to remove potential issues with future obsolescence of the existing in-service platform driveline components and will be able to quantify the likely subsequent reduction of the HED annual fleet running costs. This work in time will be shared with the Platform Managers in VST to plan a comprehensive Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) programme for their platforms combining the required non automotive platform upgrades with HED technology.
The TD6 programme is scheduled to produce a final report, which will provide much anticipated evidence on the benefits and constraints of hybridisation within the military environment. In addition to potentially platform capability enhancing silent stealth movement, on platform mission systems charging, overall lower fuel consumption, lower emissions and greater platform range, it has also been recognised that the additional capabilities such as the ability to export large amounts of reliable off-board power in the field have now created much wider cross Defence interest in the TD6 Programme.
“TD6 is a key part of the Army’s plan for electrification of the battlefield, which seeks to gain operational advantage through using novel solutions for power, performance and support while also reducing carbon emissions. The programme will provide evidence to support the benefits, both direct and indirect, that hybridisation of some or all of our vehicle fleet may bring to inform our roadmap towards a more capable and sustainable future”