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):