The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) funds research and development relating to low and zero-emission transportation solutions, including providing funding for fleet demonstration projects. The DoD also plans to purchase large numbers of low and zero-emission vehicles in the future to meet its tactical mission objectives. Particular areas of DOE interest include:
- Hydrogen fuel cells
- Development and demonstrations of trucks, tractors, and other vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells
- Development of technologies and systems for hydrogen delivery and storage
- Development and demonstrations of advanced airborne systems using hydrogen fuel cell
The U.S. Army has two major programs that encompass goals relating to deployment of low and zero-emission transportation solutions. The Future Tactical Truck System (FTTS) is the Army’s Objective Force sustainment vehicle system, designed to address shortfalls exhibited by the Army’s current tactical truck fleet by reducing the number of different vehicle models, reducing logistics footprint, improving C-130 deployability, and improving fuel economy. The Future Combat System (FCS) program is designed to achieve long term mobility improvements in combat vehicles including tanks and armored personnel carriers. A key objective of both the FTTS and FCS programs is to develop hybrid-electric vehicles, with the possibility that hydrogen-fueled vehicles may be included within this mix.
With at least seven different types of trucks in the fleet today, the Army increasingly is burdened by the cost of operating, maintaining and modernizing those vehicles. Under the FTTS, the Army will develop a multi-mode modular cargo vehicle, which will have two variants: a larger “maneuver sustainment” truck that will replace the current heavy and medium fleets, and a “utility” version that is the equivalent of a light truck.
The Army plans to production of FTTS in fiscal year 2008. Between 2008 and 2016, more than 5,600 trucks could be built, at a cost of more than $3 billion. The timing is important in this program, because the Army wants the FTTS to be fielded alongside the Future Combat System, a new high-tech combat vehicle slated to enter service in 2008 or 2010. Unlike existing trucks, the FTTS will have to keep up with the front-line combat vehicles.
The FTTS utility vehicle, called FTTS-UV, will replace the Humvee, said the briefing charts. The heavier version of FTTS, called FTTS-MSV, will replace the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles and the heavy fleet that currently includes the M-915, the PLS, HET and HEMTT cargo trucks.
The Future Tactical Truck Systems (FTTS) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program will assess key technologies and emerging Future Army (FA) Sustainment Concepts in developing the requirements of an optimized distribution platform, as well as the command and control platform for the Unit of Action. Hybrid trucks are likely to be a centerpiece of the ACTD program.
The ACTD will compare the performance of a transportation squad of seven FTTS-MSV trucks against a HEMTT (heavy expanded mobility tactical truck) squad. The goal is for the FTTS trucks to achieve a 60 percent reduction in resupply time, 50 percent more fuel efficiency, 25 percent greater mobility, 15 percent more survivability, as well as significant improvements in sensors and networked communications technologies.
Not only does the Army operate multiple truck variants but also a diverse array of pallets, containers, materials handling equipment and interface devices. To create a “seamless intermodal system,” the briefing said, the Army needs to simplify the logistics apparatus—consolidating the manifold pieces of hardware down to a single load-handling system, a single FTTS chassis and a single intermodal flat-rack to move containers on and off airplanes and trucks. As part of this work, the Army is funding development and demonstration of aircraft tow tractors and cargo carriers that run on hydrogen fuel cells.
The Army’s Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center is developing the Future Tactical Truck System to streamline deliveries to deployed troops. Key focus areas of the FTTS include advanced suspension and propulsion systems. Technologies such as on-board power generation, which reduce supplemental generator requirements, and increased fuel economy, will enable the FTTS to be a crucial logistics footprint reducer for the Objective Force.
The future vehicle concept will provide increased fuel efficiency with extended supply ranges of 600 to 900 miles. A major goal for the FTTS is to extend average operational range from the current 300 miles to 600 miles per vehicle, but with no increase in fuel payload. The reasoning behind this goal becomes clear when it is realised that 70 per cent of the logistic burden on a battlefield is fuel, and that fuel delivery can cost between $ 30 (by Hemtt tanker) and $ 400 (by CH-47, as in Afghanistan) per gallon.
FTTS trails the FCS by 2 years, as FCS is the pacing system and drives FTTS support requirements. This enables FTTS to achieve commonality with the FCS and reduce RDT&E expenses by leveraging the FCS Concept/System Development and Demonstration (SDD) effort. The initial stages of the FTTS RDT&E effort will rely almost entirely on modeling and simulation in order to reduce program risk and development costs. This data would be used to support the competitive award for the prototype development phase of the SDD efforts.
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