Unique Mobility's Power Electronics Onboard World's Fastest Automated Howitzer

Company provides controls for artillery subsystem.

Published: 27-Nov-2000

GOLDEN, Colo., Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Unique Mobility, Inc. (Amex: UQM), announced today that its proprietary power electronics play a critical role in two subsystems on the Army's Crusader 155 millimeter self-propelled howitzer currently under development. Unique has teamed with Barber-Nichols Inc., Arvada, Colorado, and MPC Products Corporation, Skokie, Illinois, to provide subsystems to the program. One UQM electronic controller drives the pump motor providing coolant to the gun tube and the second drives the cooling fan motor. In recent testing, the Crusader fired at a rate of six rounds per minute, making it the world's fastest automated howitzer.

The Crusader has been undergoing testing at the Yuma Proving Grounds to validate the reliability of the armament and ammunition subsystems and demonstrate gun tube life at high rates of fire. The Crusader is expected to achieve a firing rate of ten rounds per minute this fall.

"This is the first time in history that an artillery system has demonstrated fully automated ammunition loading, pointing and firing," stated Ted Kuriata, Crusader's Technical Director. At rates of fire of ten rounds per minute, the Crusader can fire the equivalent weight of an automobile in ordnance, at a target 25 miles away, every minute.

William G. Rankin, Unique's President and Chief Executive Officer said, "Unique is best known for its advanced motor technology, but the same advantages apply to its electronic controls. The power electronics we have developed to control our UQM(R) propulsion systems are very sophisticated, providing microprocessor based millisecond response times, controller area network compatibility and the ability to manage high power and high voltage efficiently in a compact package. Our electronics have been designed, built and tested to withstand the harsh environment of under-the-hood operation in both on-road and off-road applications and have a proven record of durability and reliability. The operating environment for electronics on the Crusader howitzer is as harsh as it gets and we are delighted that the Army has chosen to use our controls in this demanding application. More and more customers are requesting that we apply our electronic control technology to their products, independent of our motors, which we believe will contribute to our growing product revenue stream."

Dan Thoren, President of Barber-Nichols said, "Unique Mobility has an excellent staff that can engineer, design and fabricate the electronics needed for our challenging applications. We have come to rely on their expertise in electronic controls for driving our pumps and fans -- like those in the Crusader program. We have been pleased with Unique Mobility's responsiveness and 'can-do' attitude and expect to team with them in many future opportunities."

Wayne C. Penfold, Vice President MPC Products Corporation said, "We have worked with Unique's electronics group for a number of years to develop various electronic control products for our aerospace and military customers. We have also performed extensive testing of these electronic products in a variety of power levels and application environments and have found them to not only be durable and reliable, but to also have an efficiency advantage of more than ten percent over comparable electronic products from other companies which we have tested. We are pleased to be teamed with Unique on the Crusader program and expect to continue to use their electronics expertise on future programs for our customers."

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