SilentHawk Hybrid Motorbike Moves to Next DARPA Phase
One of the first and oldest rules of military engagement is that surprise is one of the most effective "weapons": in any army's arsenal. Being able to approach the enemy in silence has long been the key to victory. Fast, silent vehicles with close to zero acoustic or thermal signatures would certainly give any military force an important edge in battle.
That's the goal of a DARPA funded project called 'SilentHawk' to develop a stealthy hybrid-electric motorcycle. That project, originally a collaboration between BRD, now known as Alta Motors, and Logos Techologies, is now moving into Phase II trials, as reported by Fox News.
Currently the U.S. military uses a Kawasaki-based dirt bike for its scout forces, as seen in the above photo. The new motorbike, illustrated below, combines a Alta-based Red Shift electric motocross bike with a detachable Wankel-based motor-generator that can burn any combination of diesel, JP-8 or gasoline, giving the series hybrid bike a range up to 170 miles. In electric-only mode, with the generator detached, it can range up to 50 miles on its battery alone. Top speed is a quick get-in-get-out 90 mph.
Marc Fenigstein, Alta's CEO, states in an email to EV World.com that the company is focused primarily on launching its Red Shift motorbike. "SilentHawk is not our primary focus right now and we're not heavily promoting that work."
Interestingly, the SilentHawk prototype includes a front electric hub motor as well as the main e-motor that chain drives the rear wheel, giving the bike dual traction, all-wheel capability.
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