The AHED8x8 advanced hybrid electric drive technology demonstrator introducing several enabling technologies expected to become the foundation of future vehicle design. The vehicle will be equipped with a 536hp engine, augmented by electrical power burst delivering up to 850 hp for 30 – 60 second bursts. The application of in-hub electric motor drive and hybrid power enables high flexibility of design, especially with low profile vehicles. AHED uses air suspension to enable adjustable height and attitude control changing the ground clearance from 13 to 58 cm (5-23 inches), depending on operational requirement and terrain. This feature and the use of all wheel 8×8 drive are contributing to the impressive cross-country mobility of the vehicle. Mobility is further enhanced with the use of wheel and track hybrid steering offering different steering modes for fast-road and slow and off-road travel. With differential (track) steer, AHED could take a tight turn at 33% tighter than a LAV III. Since all wheels are controlled independently, the vehicle could also use pivot turning, when stationary (turn like a tank).
AHED will use an efficient, quiet in-hub permanent magnet motor. By dynamically managing the torque at each wheel, the vehicle could be configured for full 8×8, 4×4+2 or 6×6 for maximum traction without shifting between “low” and “high” gears. It will also have high redundancy in case of failure or battle damage to some of the wheels. The use of run-flat tires further improves mobilityunder combat conditions. The Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) uses a diesel engine which drives an electrical generator that feeds the in-hub electrical motors and maintains the full state of charge of li-ion batteries located below the floor. This system can be used in three different modes of operation. The diesel electric transmission drive mode is used with batteries disconnected, damaged or removed. When driving in hybrid mode, battery power will be used to supplement the diesel engine power, absorb deceleration energy and soften engine transients. The vehicle will be able to move very quietly on electrical power only, at speeds of up to 20 mph.
Another benefit is the increased fighting compartment volume, improved accessibility via low load deck and large rear door. Further benefit of the new design is the side-by-side front crew seating. The driver and commander will be able to comfortably operate the vehicle and its remotely controlled weapons and sensors from large “virtual windows” displaying a panoramic view of the forward arc, enhanced with target acquisition cues, situational picture and driving aids, including navigation aids, obstacle alerts etc.
AHED family of vehicles will be designed for C-130 mobility and include vehicles weighing from 16 to 20 US tons (14.5 – 18 metric tons), be designed with a common chassis and common components to optimize supportability. Three basic types are planned, derived from the base chassis – a medium profile vehicle, a vehicle with increased head room for command and control, MEDEVAC etc. and a cab-forward base vehicle with maximum payload volume.
The base vehicle will be designed of an aluminum and composite structure, utilizing titanium and ballistic armor and appliqué armor protection. The vehicle is designed to reduce visual and thermal signature, with low a profile chassis, sub-floor exhaust and forward fuel tank, masking the engine. The vehicle can be structured with a new mine resistant capsule providing protection to the crew and systems while saving up to 1 ton compared to equivalent LAV III design.
AHED has advanced through several test phases in recent years, accumulating over 4,200 km of road and cross-country testing. By the end of the FRES evaluation phase, AHED is expected to log over 12,000 km.