10th November 2021: QinetiQ has entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with automotive manufacturer AM General to accelerate the development of electrification technologies for military vehicles. The partnership has begun with the development of a hybrid concept of the globally iconic HMMWV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle often referred to as ‘HUMVEE’) – demonstrating the viability of electrifying military land vehicles to deliver enhanced performance while decarbonising military operations. The collaboration was initiated and its development facilitated by the JV & Partnering (JV&P) Advisory team at Lincoln International, a global investment bank.
The HUMVEE vehicle concept is the first step of a highly ambitious programme in which QinetiQ and AM General are exploring how electrification can transform competitive advantage in the land domain. This collaboration will lay the foundation for further research into electrification capabilities for land vehicles, for example autonomous systems, increased situational awareness through enhanced sensor capability and optical communications.
The new collaboration recognises the need for countermeasures, platforms and situational awareness tools to evolve at an astounding pace in response to changing threats and tactics from adversaries. In addition to this, the growing financial, environmental and human costs of transporting and burning fossil fuels – as well as the critical push towards Net Zero – are forcing governments to seek more sustainable energy sources that create smaller logistical and carbon footprints.
By applying a hybrid electric drive system to defence’s most iconic HUMVEE family of vehicles QinetiQ and AM General are laying the foundations for the future of electric-powered land combat vehicles which will enable the delivery of next generation technologies while driving down carbon emissions in the defence sector.
Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, delivering a physical prototype model has been challenging. However, by using existing collaboration tools, the joint team have created two fully interactive and immersive Virtual Reality models of HUMVEE vehicles showing how QinetiQ’s innovative electric drive technology is integrated with minimal disruption to the vehicle. The two different models can be individually adapted and then compared side by side to immediately see the impact of the changes made. The motors draw power via cables from a battery which can be positioned almost anywhere within the vehicle to give ultimate flexibility over the use of space. The hybrid electric drive system will enable the vehicles to tackle more hostile terrains, while increasing lethality by giving it the ability to conduct extended periods of silent watch and silent running. This includes minimising the vehicle’s acoustic and thermal signatures.
Critically, as the defence industry must accelerate towards Net Zero, QinetiQ’s hybrid electric drive system also provides up to 30% less fuel consumption than purely combustion-powered alternatives, reducing fossil fuel dependency and decreasing emissions on the battlefield. This improved fuel efficiency will also extend the vehicle’s operational range.
Mike Sewart, Chief Technology Officer, QinetiQ said: “Advances in hybrid electric drive systems specifically for military vehicles mean there is now a credible alternative to conventional mechanical designs, revolutionising the way armed forces move and operate on the battlefield while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. This collaboration is a critical step for driving defence into a new age of sustainable, more versatile land combat vehicles, capable of tackling complex threats whilst minimising the impact on the environment. The use of VR immersive technology to co-create an interactive solution has been an important step in the journey we are taking together.”
Regis Luther, Senior Vice President Engineering & Chief Technology Officer at AM General said: “Integrating electric drive technology into the HMMWV is an exciting first step in how we expect to deliver on the battlefields of the future. By working with QinetiQ, we’re looking at innovative ways to meet the future requirements of our customers around the world, for sustainability and performance through electrification.”
Emma Blackley, JV&P Director at Lincoln International said: “We are delighted to have originated and nurtured this complementary relationship over the past months. We are confident that today marks a significant milestone for both parties, powerfully illustrating the value of business collaboration in evolving markets.”