Author Topic: Hybrid electric/"stealth" snowmobiles  (Read 81090 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Hybrid electric/"stealth" snowmobiles
« on: August 21, 2011, 13:02:40 »
From Tony's Merx updates.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,101947.msg1069971.html#msg1069971

Quote
Quote

.... Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) - Suffield, Medicine Hat, Alberta, has a requirement for which the objective is to advance the state of the art in hybrid-electric design for snowmobiles and to produce a fully functional prototype hybrid-electric snowmobile for test and evaluation, complete with a "silent" operating mode functioning on electric power only ....


MERX posting, 17 Aug 11

More in the Statement of Work (PDF) downloadable here (since The Canadian Press isn't sharing it  ) and The Canadian Press here:


Quote

The Department of National Defence plans to develop a new stealth snowmobile for covert military operations in Canada's Arctic, with $550,000 set aside to build a prototype.

Ottawa has posted a public tender for a hybrid-electric snowmobile that would allow Canadian Forces soldiers to swoop silently across the frozen landscape.

The vehicle would perhaps be the most unconventional tool in the arsenal of a Conservative government promising to beef up Canada's military might in the North.

The nature of these future clandestine assignments is unclear from the federal tendering document. But one thing is clear: silence is priority No. 1.

Existing engines apparently aren't up to the job.

"The noise level of an internal combustion engine cannot be reduced to an acceptable level for missions where covertness may be required, especially given the increased propagation of sound in cold, dry, Arctic air," reads the tender, posted last week by National Defence's research and development agency ....



Previous snowmobile orders here.



It seems to me that this is custom made for Bombardier.  An area in which they have demonstrable expertise; research funded by the Canadian taxpayer;  and commercial applications.  SILENCE IN COTTAGE COUNTRY.  - Not to mention Stealth SEADOOS.......
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Offline RDJP

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 13:26:21 »
We already send funding to the universities, so why not cut costs and get McGill to prototype one with military specs?

http://electricsnowmobile.mcgill.ca/English/index.htm

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2011, 13:27:33 »
It seems to me that this is custom made for Bombardier. 
Knowing full well that as soon as they got the contract, they'd start insisting on additional funds/time to figure out how to plug the 1500km extension cord into the Churchill power grid.
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Offline Robert0288

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2011, 15:58:50 »
This idea is brilliant, now all they have to do is make sure it has enough power and torque to drag along the 'tactical quiet' generator behind it.

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2011, 16:35:27 »
Have I overslept again and its April Fools' Day? This has got to be one of the most hare brained schemes I've heard of.

I am no tech wizard, but after seeing what the extreme cold does to batteries....I'm not so sure about this. Just sayin.... :2c:
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Offline SherH2A

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2011, 17:40:10 »
Must be April Fools Day or at least August Fools Day.

It seems to me that if the CF are fighting a technological equivalent enemy in the Arctic, that all a hybrid electrical snowmobile would do is provide more easy targets for the enemy.

I think reducing the noise of the engine would do little to protect the snowmobile born forces. An enemy force with minimum technology should be able to target the snowmobile using IR, mast mounted LLTV cameras, simple motion detectors, and if the enemy is able to get 10 to 15 meters up, they should be able to see the snowmobile trails left by the tracks of the snowmobile.

While a powered source of snow transportation could be a real game changer, if you're looking for concealable vehicles, perhaps a 5 or 6 man iceboat might be a better idea.  There would be problems relying on the wind to transport troops to a time schedule. You can't count on the weather to do what you want it to. Even larger iceboats, with proper materials and heat insulation could transport a section and it's support weapons and supplies.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2011, 17:44:28 »
Have I overslept again and its April Fools' Day? This has got to be one of the most hare brained schemes I've heard of.

I am no tech wizard, but after seeing what the extreme cold does to batteries....I'm not so sure about this. Just sayin.... :2c:

The use of carbon-nontube capacitors is another way to go to work around the low temperature issues.

Offline Retired AF Guy

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2011, 18:03:01 »
Re-printed under S29 of the Copyright Act.

Quote

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Operation Silent Snowmobile: Canadian Forces plan new vehicle for covert Arctic ops
By: Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

The Department of National Defence plans to develop a new stealth snowmobile for covert military operations in Canada's Arctic, with $550,000 set aside to build a prototype. Ottawa has posted a public tender for a hybrid-electric snowmobile that would allow Canadian Forces soldiers to swoop silently across the frozen landscape.

The vehicle would perhaps be the most unconventional tool in the arsenal of a Conservative government promising to beef up Canada's military might in the North. The nature of these future clandestine assignments is unclear from the federal tendering document. But one thing is clear: silence is priority No. 1.

Existing engines apparently aren't up to the job.
"The noise level of an internal combustion engine cannot be reduced to an acceptable level for missions where covertness may be required, especially given the increased propagation of sound in cold, dry, Arctic air," reads the tender, posted last week by National Defence's research and development agency. "Electric snowmobiles are a potential solution to this problem, eliminating the internal combustion engine and using a much quieter electric motor to drive the track system."
Since coming to power, the Conservatives have gradually increased the Canadian Forces' presence in the resource-rich Arctic. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made annual trips to the region, where he's appeared in carefully orchestrated photo-ops on ice floes as jets screamed overhead.
A government spokeswoman could not immediately provide information as to why the military would need snowmobiles for clandestine operations. But one northern security expert said this could be a signal the government is getting serious about Arctic sovereignty.
Whitney Lackenbauer considers the project a departure from the government's usual in-your-face military approach to the Arctic. "To me, it very clearly suggests that someone within the Canadian Forces perceives the need to actually have substantive capabilities, rather than simply acting symbolically in the region," said Lackenbauer, a historian at the University of Waterloo. "Up to this point, as I see it, the focus has very much been on showing the flag. So it's not about keeping your activities quiet, it's about broadcasting it to the world as loudly as you can."
Still, he has no clue what kind of scenarios National Defence has foreseen for it to want — or need — stealth snowmobiles. "I'd be interested in knowing what the military envisions as being the threats that it's going to encounter with these," he said, speculating they might be useful to stop smugglers or other criminal activities. "I'm at a loss to know what that is."
The tender calls for the snowmobile to have a range of at least 15 kilometres when it operates in its quiet, electric mode at an average speed of 20 km/h on level snow.
The vehicle must also be able to hit a top speed of at least 75 km/h. In its gas-power mode, the snowmobile must be able to maintain a speed of 30 km/h while towing a payload of 250 kilograms on a sled, and it must have a range of 100 kilometres.
"It also must have the ability to switch to 'silent' mode easily and quickly with minimal tools, at which point it can function solely on electrical power," the tender says.
The document says bids cannot exceed $550,000 and a prototype must be completed by March 31, 2013.
Hybrid snowmobiles are not yet available from major manufacturers, but a McGill University engineering professor said the idea is on the cusp of commercial breakthrough.
Peter Radziszewski has helped students build experimental electric and hybrid snowmobiles at the school over the last decade. He doesn't see any reason why constructing a hybrid snowmobile to the tender's specifications wouldn't be feasible — as long as the producer can work with the government's tight budget.
Radziszewski said the hefty challenge of maintaining performance in a machine weighed down by two engines and a stack of batteries won't be easy, either.
"It becomes a heavy, heavy snowmobile," he said. "It's very difficult."
Radziszewski highlighted that the electric motor offers environmental benefits of zero emissions — a feature not even raised in the government tender.
"I really don't know what their interests are, but one can well imagine... that silence is golden in this particular case," Radziszewski added. Rob Huebert, a University of Calgary political scientist, called the project good military planning for a region that could see increased activity by smugglers, illegal aliens and organized crime in the future.
"We're starting to see individuals that you would probably want to be able to sneak up on," said Huebert, associate director of the school's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies.
"I think what you're going to find is the more you look, the more you find."

Article Link

This article for some reason puts the emphasis of using the hybrid snowmobile in the Arctic, the actually MERX as posted earlier just says a hybrid snowmobile and doesn't make any mention of the Arctic.

Edit: I just read the "Statement of Work" that Milnews.ca had posted in another forum. That Statement of Work does mentions an emphasis for the operations in the Arctic. My bad.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 18:10:39 by Retired AF Guy »
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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2011, 18:13:11 »
The use of carbon-nontube capacitors is another way to go to work around the low temperature issues.

In English please....infantry here....small words, short sentences please.
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2011, 18:14:34 »
Cold effects depend on battery types used... there's all sorts of battery options, and plenty of non-traditional storage alternatives...

I'm guessing (Hoping???) when the article says they're investing in a snowmobile, they're actually investing in something more substantial then slapping a few batteries in a yammy (Which I just don't see happening), instead looking at developing a hybrid diesel-electric or gas-electric vehicle along the lines of a BV206.

Running on batteries to electrical motor rather then generator to motor would substantially reduce the thermal profile of a vehicle (Let it cool after shutting off the generator, and it could run at almost ambient temperature), and reduce the noise signature to more or less zero.

Of course, the further you want to go "silently" the more batteries you need... batteries typically fall into two categories... heavy or expensive... pack in more batteries to go further, you loose more troop or cargo carrying room... expand troop or cargo carrying room, add more batteries... downward spiral of space and weight...

Which of course, leaves you with a rather large vehicle... and extremely visible in the open arctic...

Back to slapping a few batteries in a yammy, I just don't see their being enough room in the vehicle to make any sense...
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 18:30:28 by a Sig Op »
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2011, 18:29:16 »
In English please....infantry here....small words, short sentences please.

Non-battery battery-style substitute.

"I can't believe it's not battery".

(Capacitors act as an electrical storage device, and have been used in roles similar to batteries. Many newer MP3 players for example use capacitors rather then batteries. Not familiar with carbon nano tube capacitors, but a quick bit of google shows they may be an option in hybrid electric car designs)
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2011, 21:28:17 »
Jim, think of whittling off the wood and drilling out most of the middle of a pencil...then shrink that hollow tube of graphite by 1,000,000 times.  Now line a bunch of those little tubes up with each other to make a layered, porous structure with a temperature-tolerant electrical gel of sorts, and you can store lots of electrical power in that structure.  A lot more efficient than the big, aluminum canister, paper-wrapped capacitors of old.  Such "supercapacitors" have a higher energy density than even the most advanced Lithium-ion batteries in use today.

Cheers
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Offline N. McKay

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2011, 22:53:01 »
Part of the reason hybrid drive works for cars is that energy is recovered through the use of regenerative braking: the breaks act as generators and take mechanical energy out of the wheels by converting it into electricity for later use in moving the car (as opposed to friction and heat in the case of conventional brakes).  I've never driven a snowmobile but I assume that, when you want to stop, you just lay off the throttle?  Is there actually any brake?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 09:35:23 by N. McKay »

Offline Romanmaz

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2011, 23:37:31 »
Part of the reason hybrid drive works for cars is that energy is recovered through the use of regenerative braking: the breaks act and generators and take mechanical energy out of the wheels by converting it into electricity for later use in moving the car (as opposed to friction and heat in the case of conventional brakes).  I've never driven a snowmobile but I assume that, when you want to stop, you just lay off the throttle? Is there actually any brake?
Yes, they have brakes....... ;)
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2011, 06:30:59 »
Part of the reason hybrid drive works for cars is that energy is recovered through the use of regenerative braking: the breaks act and generators and take mechanical energy out of the wheels by converting it into electricity for later use in moving the car (as opposed to friction and heat in the case of conventional brakes).  I've never driven a snowmobile but I assume that, when you want to stop, you just lay off the throttle?  Is there actually any brake?

It makes a hybrid drive more efficient, but will work just fine with out it.
There are brakes on a snow mobile, but it's not going to be used enough to improve the efficiency of the vehicle through regenerative braking.

Regenerative braking is a fairly simple process, usually it's accompanied by another form of braking (in hybrid cars, generally mechanical braking). The mechanical brake being intended primarily for "stopping" and the regenerative brake intended primarily for "slowing down".

Great for recovery of energy that would be otherwise wasted in say, driving down a long step hill, and braking to keep speed from increasing.

Probably not going to add much efficiency in the arctic tundra on snowmobile with no posted speed limits though.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 06:36:10 by a Sig Op »
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2011, 07:00:31 »
Other military hybrid vehicle experiments...

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/hmmwv-he.htm
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2011, 21:43:40 »
If/when carbon nanotube capacitors become a viable technology, it would probably make more sense to use them to power trucks, LAV's, small ships or even light UAV's. Of course, a unit the size of a radio battery would probably keep a soldiers radio, GPS, NVG and iPhone powered up for a week or so, so there are lots of high impact uses for supercapacitors....
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2011, 14:12:15 »
I can produce one for about $10,000 extra per machine. There is a small requirement for an umbilical though.....

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2011, 18:45:53 »
Call it a "Radial mobility extension device - special purpose".

You'll be able to get the remaining $490 000 in the budget for it.
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Offline Kalatzi

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2011, 12:34:17 »
Seems our friend down soth have picked up on this.

Seems that they feel that only they should be wasting money on stuff for no good reason.

Canada Seeks Stealthy Snowmobile, For No Good Reason
"The Canadian government wants a stealth snowmobile. Just, apparently, because.

It’s not as if Canada has any alpine enemies to sneak up on with shadowy, frigid cavalry. But that’s not going to stop the Canadian Department of National Defence from spending a half million dollars on a prototype."
link here http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/canada-seeks-stealthy-snowmobile-for-no-good-reason/#more-54766

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2011, 13:17:58 »
No,no. Simple solution ...  SOLAR PANELS!!! ;D

Only downside is that they will now have to let a contract for someone to develop a white solar panel, then it would be truly stealthy.
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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2011, 14:58:42 »
Seems that they feel that only they should be wasting money on stuff for no good reason.
By "they," you actually mean the article's author, Spencer Ackerman: "Danger Room's senior reporter, based out of Washington, D.C., covering weapons of doom and the strategies they're used to implement."

Pick one:

a)  :brickwall:
b)   ::)
c)   :boring:
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2011, 13:18:15 »
Not sure how this happened, but this reply ended up being posted in the "What is Canada Buying? thread:

Playing the devil's advocate for a second here:

US SOF teams inserted into the Sha-i-kot valley up to a week prior to OP ANACONDA, usually infiltrating via 4X4 ATV's. The high mountain passes were coverd in snow, and on least one occasion, the team discovered curious Taliban fighters following the tracks the ATV's left (although they never actually seemed to have followed through with the tracking). The SOF ATV's were not described in great detail (this information is from the book "Not a good day to die), but the inference is they were modified for SOF use. It seems probable that part of the modification would be to install larger or more efficient sound supressing mufflers along with racks to carry more gear, and possibly mor powerful engines. Certainly there is no indication in the book that the Taliban were aware of the SOF entry into the Sha-i-kot valey, so the sound of the ATV engine was muffled to the point no one was able to hear it.

Now hybrid electric is flavour of the month, and anyone who has been around a Toyota Prius moving away from a stop sign can attest to the total lack of sound as the electric motor starts the car in motion, so having a silent snowmobile seems to be one way to combine the lessons of over smow mobility and stealth in a package that is more familier to most Canadians.

</advocate>
OTOH, mobility and logistics are pretty closely related, and if I were in charge of things, I would be investigating TDI diesel engines for the entire vehicle fleet since the enhanced reliability and fuel economy would have a much greater impact on CF operations. (A VW Jetta with a TDI engine can claim 40+ MPG without the extra weight or complexity of electric engines, battery packs and control electronics. Larger and heavier trucks and AFV's would not get 40 mpg, but even a 5-10% improvement would have a dramatic impact on costs, or even the number of trucks needed to carry fuel).

Moving quietly with a TDI engine would simply involve putting sound insulation around the engine compartment and installing a high efficiency muffler, both probably simpler and cheaper than a hybrid showmobile.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline LineJumper

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2011, 15:58:15 »
(A VW Jetta with a TDI engine can claim 40+ MPG without the extra weight or complexity of electric engines, battery packs and control electronics. Larger and heavier trucks and AFV's would not get 40 mpg, but even a 5-10% improvement would have a dramatic impact on costs, or even the number of trucks needed to carry fuel).

BTE '04 anyone? What did that cold snap cost in fuel I wonder?
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Offline FlyingDutchman

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Re: Electric hybrid snowmobiles
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2011, 10:27:38 »
No,no. Simple solution ...  SOLAR PANELS!!! ;D

Only downside is that they will now have to let a contract for someone to develop a white solar panel, then it would be truly stealthy.
That could work.  Hybrid vehicle, gas for distance, and when using gas have solar panels exposed.  When you want to go stealth you hit the battery, cover the panels, move in quietly.
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