Posts Tagged ‘Oshkosh’
It has been an exciting year for hybrid power train development in major racing series, with the teams deciding that KERS will return to Formula One in 2011, the growing success of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and now the news that Oshkosh Corporation will be fielding a 400 bhp hybrid diesel-electric Light Concept Vehicle in the Baja 1000 desert race which begins later this week in Mexico. Perhaps even more interesting than the hybrid powertrain is its TAK-4 suspension which offers 20 inches of independent wheel travel…
Just what to expect of the Oshkosh LCV is difficult to predict. It’s Oshkosh ProPulse® diesel-electric powertrain design will obviously deliver excellent fuel economy, but it’s not really been designed for desert racing. The U.S. military uses two sources of power on the battlefield – everything with an internal combustion engine runs on diesel and everything else runs on electricity. This latter category accounts for an increasing percentage of the military’s in-theatre energy requirements, and one of the many advantages of the ProPulse® drivetrain is that it is capable of exporting “significant levels of electrical power”. One day soon, the LCV might well be used as an in-theater, high-speed, autonomous electrical power station.
That’s only part of its unique and ingenious design. The ProPulse system also simplifies the transmission of power to the wheels. The diesel engine powers an electric generator, which provides direct power to the wheels, eliminating the torque converter, automatic transmission, transfer case and drive shafts. The system has no batteries, using ultracapacitors for energy storage. A regenerative system uses the traction motors as generators for vehicle braking, storing the energy and then uses it during the next acceleration event, thus reducing wear and tear on the brake system…
In honesty though, the race participation is all about testing new technologies, and the truly fascinating aspect of the LCV for me is the next-generation TAK-4® independent suspension system. I have been riding off-road racing bikes since a few inches of suspension travel was state-of-the-art, and hence the Oshkosh patented TAK-4® suspension system, which is designed to use up to 20 inches of travel on each wheel, is … astonishing. That’s a lot of suspension travel at race speeds and controlling that much wheel travel at high speeds with obstacles arriving at 90 mph is highly problematic. The press release claim that its speeds may be up to 40% faster than the competition will make it well worth watching.
The extreme wheel travel is clearly being developed so that it can transport goods (and humans), very quickly, over very rough terrain, without damaging its cargo. Military R&D has been delivering breakthrough technology to peacetime society for thousands of years, and it’ll be interesting to see how the TAK-4 suspension copes at racing speeds, given it’s raison d’etre is unquestionably to increase off-road mobility, improve vehicle maneuverability and provide a smoother ride for military purposes. Could the next quantum leap in desert racing be provided by the military?
Worth checking in on the race, this weekend. No matter which way things end up, this is an exciting vehicle and development program. Oshkosh has already kicked the snot out of traditional suppliers to the Pentagon with some of their earlier iron.
The U.S. Army has cleared Oshkosh Corp to resume work on a $3 billion medium truck contract, after a month-long reevaluation of all three bids originally submitted for the work.
In December, the congressional Government Accountability Office had upheld protests filed by losing bidders BAE Systems Plc and Navistar International Corp, telling the Army to go back and reevaluate the bids, as well as Navistar’s past performance.
In a statement issued late on Friday, the Army said it decided the Oshkosh bid was still the best one in late January, and a peer review conducted by top Pentagon officials subsequently affirmed the Army’s decision.
As a result, the Army said it was lifting a stop work order, which would allow Oshkosh to resume work on the trucks…
Defense consultant Jim McAleese said the decision was in line with expectations, and would result in savings for the Army of over $1 billion…
Oshkosh surprised analysts when it won the medium truck contract last August, beating out incumbent BAE Systems, which had been making the trucks for the Army for 17 years.
The “military industrial complex” – which generally means corporations in conservative Republican or Democrat districts who are stuck entirely up into the bowels of Pentagon flunkeys – usually can rely upon a year or two of wearing down bona fide contract awards through the sort of political ennui we’ve come to know and love in the current Congress.
That Obama has succeeded in planting an administrative boot right between the greedy hemispheres of entrenched corporate butts is one of the most significant examples of change since FDR was elected in the 1930′s. The sort of “Hopey-Changey” that never happened before.
BTW, last election cycle, BAE forked over more than $615,000 in campaign contributions to incumbents.