US Army spending big on woke hybrid-electric Abrams – Asia Times

US Army spending big on woke hybrid-electric Abrams - Asia Times

The Army is funding two companies to develop a novel, lighter, Abrams container, dubbed&nbsp, Abrams X.

The new reservoir will have a hybrid&nbsp, electric push and will allow a reduced team size. It will have an automobile- gun load.

Yesterday’s Abrams have uncovered a number of issues as a result of the Ukraine war. The Russians have so far captured eight of the tanks ( and an even greater number of German Leopards ).

The existing Abrams is the country’s heaviest main battle tank, 76.3 loads. &nbsp, Powered by a fuel- eager 1, 500 watts fuel turbine engine, the tank has had problems operating in Ukraine, regularly getting stuck in the mud or rolling into craters made by enemy artillery. &nbsp, &nbsp,

The Russians have discovered that the Abrams may be annihilated by mining, particularly the Lancet, or by robots. It’s resilient to pro- tank weapons such as the Russian&nbsp, Kornet.

Lancet aircraft. Photo: Wikipedia

The Russians complain that the ship’s electronics malfunction during hot weather, preventing use in battle.

Each Abrams box costs about$ 10 million. &nbsp, That does not include several add- ons, like as energetic protection. It does not include the cost of cheap, significant-weight, further reactionary armor.

Because of its weight and wide stance, an ultra-heavy tank has a limited range of places where it can perform, including congested urban streets and narrow bridges.

The Abrams is not the only tank with this issue, but it is the heaviest and widest in its class.

An Abrams on blaze in Ukraine.

The Army has been working on a cross energy container for the past 20 to twenty-five times to remove both the gasoline motor and the gas engine engine options that are currently available from Abrams. To make electricity, a composite cylinder would have at least two electric vehicles, sodium chargers, and a gasoline engine.

According to the Army, Abrams X will be 50 % more energy efficient than the Abrams. This incredible energy efficiency is achieved as a result of significantly lower pond weight and better cross operating efficiency as opposed to the weak gas turbine power group.

Hybrid electric is argued as a means of” silent” ( running solely on battery power ) during times when tank operations are possible. In those circumstances, the tank’s thermal signature would be much less, implying that the engine wo n’t pose a threat to weapons that use heat sources. &nbsp, &nbsp,

A hybrid energy container appears to have a major benefit from both an operational and logistical standpoint.

But there are disadvantages, also. One of them is the requirement for a big lithium battery package. Battery packages are cheap, big, and dangerous because they can blow if hit by shrapnel or when a me blows out the ship’s bottom. The Army will choose a battery that will be large enough to power a heavy tank, which would mean the battery could weigh a few tons, though we do n’t know the size of it. This leaves a gap that is unsolved nowadays, and it raises the question of whether or not it makes sense to take the cross route.

Lithium power flames in a Tesla. Photo: YouTube / Rajvir S

In addition to exploding and burning chargers, an important issue is area cleaning. &nbsp, In battle, vehicles under tremendous pressure can be damaged or burn out and need to be replaced. In a contemporary compact power pack, the whole assembly can be replaced in a few hours, even in the field. &nbsp, &nbsp,

There are a few reasons why it might be nearly impossible to exchange engines and different power supplies on a cross container. The website can be lifted out, but it will be fitted with higher voltage cables and connectors that require the power to be carefully disconnected and the capacitors to be discharged before the engine can be removed. &nbsp, How this will be done in the field is an open question.

The electric motors that run the tank are even more troubling. These will be on the tank’s underside, connected to the drive wheels. It is most likely that the tank will be towed away, put on some sort of transit gurney, and sent to a repair depot with equipment capable of lifting the tank so it can be serviced if the electric motors are damaged.

Tank electric motors will be subjected to far greater stress than any other conventional vehicle. No one can today say anything about the long-term dependability of an electric drive motor that will need to start and fall off repeatedly on the battlefield. Moving 67 tons or more of tanks on the battlefield will stress the moving parts of these engines as they are renowned for producing a lot of torque.

There are numerous additional questions as well. Because electric motors require mounting on assemblies that can handle the weight and torque generated by them, they must be mounted on. This implies that the suspension of the tank will need a lot of work to accommodate electric motor drives, and the drives themselves will add weight to the road wheels where you do n’t want it. It’s unclear how this will work on soft ground, in wet or snowy weather, but it might indicate that the tank will dig itself in more easily than a conventional drive train.

Electronics in electric and hybrid electric vehicles require specialized liquid, closed-loop cooling systems. Other tanks like the Merkava are air cooled, whereas the Abrams today does not require a cooling system. &nbsp, Leopard tanks require two radiators.

Although using electric motors and lithium batteries to power the Abrams X experiment is a nice alternative, it has its own issues and problems that could make it exactly that.

Other nations have tried out hybrid electric power packs, but they have n’t yet adopted them. &nbsp, Israel, beginning around 2016, developed a hybrid version of the Merkava tank, but it did not go in the hybrid direction. &nbsp, Its new Merkava 5 has a turbo- charged MTU diesel rather than a gas turbine.

Autoloader

Russian tanks have autoloaders for the tank’s cannon since 1967, but the US and UK have not adopted them. A future autoloader for the Leopard was a project that the Germans had in mind, but it was never put into practice.

An autoloader makes a tank more mechanical and complex, but it can reduce the crew size from four to three. In the future, it opens the door to various approaches to robotic or autonomous tanks.

Picatinny Arsenal auto loader. Photo: Army. mil

Abrams X is supposed to have a three-person crew and have an autoloader. The US has hardly any experience loading 120mm shells automatically.

Active defense

Abrams X is intended to have a built-in active defense system.

Today, there are very few Abrams tanks equipped with active defense systems, and all of those systems are add-ons. &nbsp, The Army has purchased the Israeli Trophy system, but in relatively small numbers.

Merkava&nbsp, Mk 4m equipped with Trophy APS technology during&nbsp, Operation Protective Edge. Photo: Wikipedia

One of the issues with active defense systems is the ability to defend against drone strikes.   Drones are typically slower moving than missiles and rockets or tank rounds. &nbsp, On the modern battlefield, drones can approach from virtually any angle and often are launched in batches. Any modern active defense system would be best if it were connected to other tanks with active defense and non-tank air defenses in order to eliminate drones. It’s unclear whether that is a part of the Abrams X plan.

One limitation of a built in active defense system is that changes and upgrades are difficult once the system is physically&nbsp, embedded&nbsp, in a tank hull. &nbsp, Active defense is still a young technology and in need of growth and improvement. &nbsp, As artificial intelligence gains a bigger foothold in military systems, tank protection is likely to be extremely important, &nbsp, especially since AI in a network can improve overall tank protection.

Will Abrams X Be Adopted

Abrams X is gaining a lot of buzz as a potential main battle tank. &nbsp, There is little doubt that a lighter tank would work better in most conflicts, although light tanks bring their own vulnerabilities– especially susceptibility&nbsp, to drones and other” cheap” weapons. The case for a hybrid electric platform is one that needs to be demonstrated. Despite some advantages, hybrids also introduce operational, security and logistical issues that are far from being mitigated. &nbsp,

The US Army is “woke,” and one of the reasons to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on hybrid electric tanks is related to ideology rather than necessity. Any investigation into tank warfare in Ukraine is unlikely to support the idea of a hybrid electric platform because the main concern is the visual identification of tanks by FPV drones, not because they are heat sources.

There is no proof that the US Army has developed drone-killing systems to combat US and European tanks in response to the lessons of the conflict in Ukraine.

A system in the future would have the ability to networkedly combat air-launched mines and kill drones. Spending money on a hybrid electric platform is a mistake, in large part because it disregards the real issues facing both current and upcoming battlefields.

Stephen Bryen served as the Near East Subcommittee of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee&nbsp and as the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. &nbsp,

This&nbsp, article was first published on his&nbsp, Weapons and Strategy&nbsp, Substack and is republished with permission.