Electric Army vehicles can now ‘pirouette’ to escape enemy fire

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Hybrid experimental prototypes of the Army'€s Foxhound (rear), Jackal (front) and MAN SV vehicles - Sergeant Ben Beale
Hybrid experimental prototypes of the Army'€s Foxhound (rear), Jackal (front) and MAN SV vehicles - Sergeant Ben Beale

An electric reboot for Army vehicles will allow them to “pirouette” to escape enemy fire.

As part of the Army’s £10 million investment into fitting hybrid electric drives to armoured 4X4s, a Man SV, Jackal and Foxhound have all been repurposed to work on a hybrid system.

Marcus Jenkins, the director of MagTec, the UK-based company which is leading the green revolution, said the engine change meant the vehicles now performed better.

Speaking to The Telegraph at the DSEI arms fair, Mr Jenkins explained that because they had applied electric motors to drive each wheel, as opposed to a traditional vehicle where one engine drives all the wheels at the same time, they had created a more agile product.

Mr Jenkins said: “These vehicles have never been able to pirouette before. Now we can drive wheels in a different direction and they can spin on the spot.”

This would make it easier to “escape” enemy fire, he said.

Trials are currently taking place, with the vehicles due to be rolled out to the Army for use in training and on operations.

During the trials they have also seen a reduction in noise, adding a “stealth” component that would particularly suit Special Forces, Mr Jenkins added.

“The likelihood is there will be more of these vehicles coming into play and rolled out across the Army’s existing fleets.”

Mr Jenkins said the hybrid model saved 30 per cent of fuel and had a battery life of 13 hours.

The hybrid and electric drive systems would provide sustainability benefits, a key part of the Ministry of Defence’s strategy to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by adopting greener technology.

Colonel Simon Ridgway, the assistant head of plans for ground manoeuvre capability, said: “It will ensure the Army’s electrical infrastructure is ready to meet the electrical demand required on the battlefield of the future,” he added.

“Delivering effect needs the right power, in the right place, at the right time and using hybrid vehicles will make it easier to get the power to where it needs to be.”

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