Pulse news magazine

Volume 31, December 2020

Electric propulsion’s new role in warfighting

BAE Systems employees are combining platform expertise and electric propulsion capabilities to bring the next generation of combat vehicles to the warfighter.

Our military relies on combat vehicles designed and built by BAE Systems’ Platforms & Services sector to get them through the toughest missions. Now, the company is taking its commitment to our troops a step further, combining our platform expertise and electric propulsion capabilities to bring the next generation of combat vehicles to the warfighter.

Imagine yourself in battle fighting your enemy. Your heart is pumping as you assess the situation. With each move, you rely on systems to operate as they should. Your concentration is on the mission at hand, making maintenance issues the farthest thought from your mind. At BAE Systems, enabling mission focus is our goal. We are dedicated to upholding our customers’ trust and confidence and ensuring operational readiness for our warfighters.

Reducing maintenance issues is a key element in improving operational readiness. Thus, Electronic Systems’ Power and Propulsion Solutions business area has worked with the Platform & Services sector for several years designing and integrating electrical systems to efficiently operate various on-board systems. Replacing outdated hydraulics with high voltage electric power driven motors has increased vehicle performance and helped the U.S. Army eliminate a number of maintenance issues. For example, these changes have led to an improvement in the M109A7 fleet’s operational readiness rate.

A BAE Systems employee works on electric propulsion technology Now, Army commanders recognize the benefits of generating power and are preparing to trial electric propulsion on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Electrification of the propulsion and steering system improves performance and enables a transition to autonomous vehicle control. Bringing together expertise from both the Platforms and Services and Electronic Systems sectors, BAE Systems recently received a $32 million prototype agreement by the U.S. Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office to integrate a Hybrid Electric Drive system onto a Bradley.

“Our electric power and propulsions systems are proven and efficient solutions powering more than 13,000 buses, trucks, and marine vessels in 100+ cities around the world,” said ES-PPS Program Manager Rick Sutphin. “Now, we’re excited to be a key enabler of power generation and vehicle mobility on the Bradley.” BAE Systems is responsible for the electronics controlling the traction and steering motor drives, the high voltage power generation system, the engine cooling fan motor power, and the vehicle auxiliary system power. The ES-PPS team is also supporting the development of related controls and vehicle integration, including the energy storage system.

Collaboration between sectors allows BAE Systems to combine the diverse skillsets of electric power and propulsion with design and manufacturing of highly-reliable combat vehicles to deliver cutting edge solutions to our customers. Implementing effective electric drive and propulsion systems will not only allow us to remain the go-to source for ground vehicles and electronic systems but will bring the military a step further toward the use of autonomous vehicles and safer environment for our soldiers in battle.

By Carol Gorenflo, Communications, Endicott, New York