Design for Eco-friendly Tanks Proposed by BAE Systems

Eco-friendly TanksBAE Systems has proposed a design for hybrid-electric vehicles to replace the tanks currently in use by the US army. It aims to replace the 33 ton Bradley tank with a more fuel efficient 70 ton tank having a stronger armor, a bigger gun, and a capacity to hold 12 people, up from the Bradley’s current capacity of 9.

The first green tank

BAE Systems, which had also created the Bradley, are confident that their proposed new hydro-electric tanks will impress the US army. It will have increased capacity of holding 12 men inside, and will have armor on all sides of the vehicle, including the bottom. Being a hybrid, the vehicle can operate on both electricity and conventional fuel.

The vehicle would weigh 70 tons, and building it would cost around $32 billion. Its price would be between $11-17 million, which is higher than the $4 million Bradley. It has lithium-ion batteries which can recharge when the vehicle brakes. The proposed propulsion system would be similar to the one used in heavy duty trucks and tractors. It boasts an improved gas mileage, lesser moving parts, and greater acceleration as compared to a diesel engine. The developers are confident that the hybrid vehicle’s fuel-efficiency makes it more attractive than a conventional fuel vehicle.

Eco friendly promotional items may not be suitable always

Defense industry experts feel that the nature of conflicts has changed. Smaller conflicts and counter-terrorism operations are more predominant than large scale wars, and the proposed tanks may not be suitable for these. So, it seems that eco friendly promotional items and equipment are not always the preferred choice.

Experts feel that while technical performance may be advanced, the tanks are too expensive for the small improvement in performance they offer. BAE Systems will have to offer considerable improvement to justify its total cost of $32 billion for developing and building the proposed new vehicles.

Also, another company in competition has proposed a more conventional vehicle, though details are not known. The Army is interested in buying as many as 1,904 combat vehicles and may face difficulty in justifying the huge costs involved, since each BAE Green tank costs $17 million.

The proposed ‘Green Tank’s fuel efficiency is less than 1 MPG, which is much lesser than the 1.4 MPG offered by Bradley. This is because of its weight which is 70 tons. This vehicle would consume fuel upto 4.61 gallons per hour even when doing nothing. While this is much lesser than other conventional tanks of this size in the US army, which consume upto 10 gallons per hour, it is no better than the Bradley this proposed tank is trying to replace.

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-31/bae-systems-pitches-eco-friendly-tank-to-u-dot-s-dot-army

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