October 2019 -- Leonardo DRS hopes to see US Army requirements established soon for its On-Board Vehicle Power (OBVP) system to help push the technology into service more quickly.
The company is talking with US Army officials responsible for establishing and delivering power needs for the service, Carlos Aguirre, Leonardo DRS business development manager, told Jane’s on 16 October during the annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, DC.
“We’ve been meeting to figure out how to set requirements for this,” he said.
The system hopes to satisfy a major US Army need – provide power for various systems, soldiers and emerging technologies on the move – without the traditional burden of needing to transport historically weighty and generally onerous power supplying equipment and systems to areas where they are needed.
To meet this need, the company mated naval power technology with one of the most ubiquitous army platforms – wheeled ground vehicles – to provide real opportunity for power on the move.
Generators in ground vehicles can provide power regeneration, but nothing beyond what is required for the host platform. Leonardo DRS took the naval ship propulsion generator concept and reduced it to something that can fit under the hood of a traditional military ground vehicle as part of the Transmission Integral Generator. Combined with an Allison military transmission, the tandem is roughly the size of a car engine.
Even with in idle, the OBVP can generate up to about 60 kW, Aguirre said. The power-producing range runs from 30 kW to 125 kW. With the ability to import and export power, the system can be used to power directed-energy weapons, recharge soldiers’ power supplies, or run command posts.
The company announced on 15 October that it has been selected by the US Army to deliver and integrate its OBVP on prototype command post integrated infrastructure mounted platforms. The upgrade to the platform’s electrical power system will provide next-generation mobile command post systems with access to electrical power directly from a vehicle’s power train.
The technology could also be used to bring power to regions that have been knocked off the grid by disasters.
The National Guard, Aguirre noted, has shown interest in the system to provide power in areas ravaged by hurricanes, fire or other events.
However, the system has hit something of a roadblock for further programmatic development – such power augmentation technology does not fit into the legacy platform or systems programme offices – which is why Leonardo DRS is working with army power officials to develop requirements.