Special Forces has had an abiding interest in silenced motorcycles as stealthy and quick insertion/extraction vehicles – and, not just from having viewed Chuck Norris’s 1986 cheesy Delta Force movie, where his trusty motorcycle was portrayed as a Batmobile-like source of plot moving tricks. Air force combat controller teams (CCTs) have been shoving dirt bikes out of airplanes at least since 2010. A 2012 Marine Corp report cited motorcycle use by MARSOC operators, and the Marines have been conducting dirt bike training by third party vendors contracted as early as February 2012. But the airdrop and landing can cause temporary fuel system issues at precisely the wrong moment.
Special Forces toyed with the electric Zero MMX concept a couple years ago, but ditched it due to battery concerns. That vehicle found a home at the LAPD a year later. The electric bike’s charge lasted for only a couple hours.
DARPA gave a grant to Logos Technologies around that time to develop a hybrid bike that could run on several fuels and also support an electric motor with about 50 miles of range. That grant was only $150,000. Things appear to have advanced adequately to have earned a second grant. A Logos representative contacted this morning indicated the new grant was for $1 million.
The bike, called now the Silent Hawk (not to be confused with the silenced SOF helicopters revealed in the aftermath of the 2011 Bin Laden operation), is based on an electric racing bike frame made by Alta Motors. The hybrid engine is Logos Technologies’ development, reportedly from one they developed for a secret drone project.
An example of the sound profile of current electric racing cycles can be seen in the video below. The bike used in the video is a Redshift model, the one employed by Logos for the first Darpa grant’s testing (although with a different engine than the one featured below):
Honeywell International Inc. in Morris Township, NJ won a U.S. Army contract to change the way it supports its AGT-1500 turbine engine, used on the M1 Abrams tank and related platforms. Honeywell had forecast that the overall contract under the US Army’s Total InteGrated Engine Revitalization (TIGER) program could amount to $1.4 billion by the end of its lifetime – and with the program reaching the $1.5 billion milestone, their estimate was proven correct.
What distinguishes Honeywell’s performance-based approach under TIGER from previous contracts? How does the program fit in with overall US Army plans for the M1 Abrams out to 2027? And what are the latest awards made under the TIGER program to the end of FY 2011?
At the end of October 2008, Britain’s Ministry of Defence announced a GBP 700 million program to buy a wide range of survivable vehicles for logistics and support duties in Afghanistan, as well as some specialized functions like mine clearing. On Nov 19/08, the UK MoD announced preferred bidders for the 3 classes of Tactical Support Vehicles (TSVs). A variant of the Cougar MRAP would serve as the heavy Wolfhound TSV, while a 6×6 variant of the Supacat HMT all-terrain patrol vehicle would serve as the Coyote Light TSV for off-road use.
Navistar’s MXT light truck was the preferred bidder in the medium Husky TSV category – and that win may position Navistar for another big win in a subsequent British competition…
May 18/10: Small business qualifier Diesel Engineering, Inc. in Englewood Cliffs, NJ received a $20.8 million firm-fixed-price-contract for engine upgrade kits, to be installed in Israel’s Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers. The Achzarit engine upgrade kits modify the engine, transmission and cooling systems, resulting in an increase in horsepower of approximately 20%, and an increase in acceleration of approximately 200%.
Work will be performed in Elizabeth, NJ (71%), and Prague, Czech Republic (29%), and is expected to be complete by June 2013. The contract was not competitively procured by the American contract representative, the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC (N00024-10-C-4200).
The Achzarit is an unusual APC, in that it uses the hulls of captured Soviet T-54/ T-55 main battle tanks as its base. The Israelis had quite a few of those to work with, and found their level of protection to be quite useful in urban warfare scenarios. They sport 650 hp Detroit Diesel 8V-71TA or 850 hp 8V-92TA engines, and serve as ultra-heavy ambulances, or mount unmanned weapon turrets of various calibers on top to create heavy APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) variants. Achzarits can work alongside Israel’s unique and complementary Merkava main battle tanks, whose distinctive features include the ability to carry troops inside by removing ammunition, a sniper port in the rear access door, and a 60mm mortar in the turret top. Israel has also gone ahead and developed an even heavier IFV, the Namer, based on the Merkava’s chassis.
In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Warsaw Pact defense industries that had supported its mailitary machine were faced with painful restructuring. Poverty and poor national infrastructure left governments with other priorities, even as Russia’s own implosion removed any sense of threat from that quarter. The state-controlled arms company Bumar s.o.o. began in 2002 with the fusion of 8 defense plants, and within a year 3 more plants joined the group; a 2004 interview with Chairman Roman Baczynski predicted a total of 16 plants, with a common logistics and supply system underneath and further restructuring and streamlining to follow. The firm’s specialties include vehicles, guns, and air defense systems. The Polish PT-91, an upgraded T-72M1 tank, is their premier platform.
In late February 2008, Bumar announced it was poised to sign a EUR 809 million (about $1.2 billion) multi-contract deal to supply military equipment to India. Proposed contracts to India need to be greeted with skepticism, because they are often held up for long periods of time, or disappear altogether. Nevertheless, it’s clear that some discussions are in progress regarding…
Honeywell International Inc. in Phoenix, AZ received a $321.5 million modification to a firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Revitalization of the Automotive Gas Turbine 1500 Engines Fleet under the Total InteGrated Engine Revitalization (TIGER) Program. The AGT-1500 TIGER program could be worth up to $1.4 billion. The AGT-1500 powers the USA’s M1 Abrams tanks, and will continue to do so until the new LV-100-5 engines can be finalized and installed.
Work will be performed in Phoenix, AZ (66%), Greer, SC (19%), Anniston, AL (13%), and Rocky Mount, NC (2%), and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2009. This was a sole source contract initiated on Nov. 4, 2005 by the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-06-C-0173).
These acquisitions are part of the FRES Integrated Technology Acquisition Programme (ITAP), which is focused on reducing risk around the latest technologies and their integration into FRES. This program is intended to provide the British Army with a family of medium-weight, network-enabled, air-deployable armored vehicles to meet up to 16 roles. FRES is intended to be the central pillar of a capable and highly deployable medium force that will be able to project power rapidly world-wide, complementing the UK’s existing heavy and light forces. In this respect, it fills a somewhat similar niche to the USA’s Stryker vehicle family, and to the Phase 3 Land Vehicle segment of the USA’s $120+ billion Future Combat Systems experiment.
Honeywell International in Tempe, AZ received a $27.6 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for rebuild of the Advanced Gas Turbine 1500 Engine that powers the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Work will be performed in Anniston, AL and is expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2006. This was a sole source contract initiated on June 27, 2005 by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI (DAAE07-00-C-N131).
BAE Systems Land and Armaments in Anniston, AL received a $90 million firm-fixed-price contract for Overhaul of M577A2, M1068A2, and M1064A2 Armored Personnel Carriers, and upgrade of the same to their A3 Configurations. With the vehicles upgraded under the contract, it will have converted more than 40% of the M113 Family of Vehicles to the A3 configuration.
The M577A2 is an M113 variant with its hull modified for use as a Command Post vehicle. The M1068A2 Standard Integrated Command Post System (SICPS) Carrier is an M577 modified for the next generation of automated command and control through the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS). About two thirds of the U.S. M577A2 fleet was tasked for to either M1068A3 or M1068 (Basic) configurations. An Operation Iraqi Freedom After-Action Review by the 3rd Infantry Division found that M1068A2s or below had trouble keeping up with the M2 Bradleys and other modern vehicles, and recommended upgrades to the A3 system. The M1064A2 is an M113 variant used as a mortar carrier, armed with an Israeli 120mm Soltam mortar in place of the older 107mm mortar of the M106 series.
Work on this contract will be performed in Farmington, Conn. (57%) and Rincon, Ga. (43%), and is expected to be completed by July 31, 2008. There were an unknown number of bids solicited via the Internet on Jan. 30, 2004, and one bid was received. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI issued the contract (W56HZV-05-D-0199).