We've covered some of the developments in the U.S. military in its move to make its field vehicles safer, more efficient, and more affordable. The U.S. Army's TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) is conducting final testing on Ultra-Light Vehicle (ULV) prototypes.
The prototypes are being evaluated primarily on the basis of mobility and mine blast and ballistics survivability, with results published in 2014.
The ULV is intended to bridge the gap between the discontinued HMWWV (Humvee) and the larger, heavier MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected). Although the term "Ultra-Light" is in the name of the ULV, by consumer standards, it's no lightweight with a curb weight of 14,000 pounds.
The ULV also employs a diesel-hybrid drivetrain with front and rear electric motors, with the primary engineering advantage being the elimination of a physical driveshaft, giving the vehicle better underside ballistics protection, as well as silent drive capability and exportable power generation. In the event that one of the motors is disabled or damaged, the motor powering the opposite axle can be used to power the vehicle out of harm's way.
On the ULV fact sheet, the diesel engine is listed as being a Subaru boxer diesel, like that used in the European-spec Forester and Impreza, with 175 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.
The cost per unit is projected to be $250,000 for a production run of 5000 vehicles.
Source: U.S. Army TARDEC