GENAIRCON: Innovative vehicle hybrid power management system undergoes testing

An innovative military vehicle system has been developed, and tested under real conditions by the Greek company IDE (INTRACOM Defense Electronics).

Hybrid GENAIRCON system

The innovative Hybrid GENAIRCON system provides electric power only when required, providing significant benefits for Silent Watch operations and significant operational advantage to the integrated vehicle platform. Hybrid GENAIRCON is ultimately an intelligent and customisable capability upgrade system.

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It provides advanced power management and environmental control by integrating the best-in-class APU and A/C designs with Energy Storage Modules. These are controlled by a user-friendly Central Control Unit, with a Loads priorities management functionality and autonomous operation features. The Hybrid GENAIRCON intelligent Vehicle Hybrid Power Management System (VHPMS) is a force effectiveness multiplier.

Key operational capabilities 

It addresses four key operational priorities for high value vehicle assets:

• Mobility – combat autonomy through fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance requirements

• Survivability - controlled Silent Watch, with full mission readiness for high-value forward assets during covert operations

• Sustainment – personnel performance and vehicle electronics enhancement through a controlled environment

• On-board Power – an integrated power supply and intelligent management for a variety of systems with advanced autonomous operation features. Vehicle electronics and electrically operated mechanisms (vehicle turret) can be powered from the on-board Energy Storage System (ESS). This provides a True Silent Watch capability, thus achieving a unique tactical advantage in covert operations, in a controlled environment.

Secondary subsystems

The Hybrid GENAIRCON intelligent VHPMS comprises the following subsystems

• Hybrid Auxiliary Power Unit (HAPU) - A custom sized and fuel-efficient diesel Generator Set for vehicle Auxiliary Electric

Power and external power distribution. An advanced noise attenuation design produces an extremely low noise footprint even during HAPU operation.

• A Hybrid Air-Conditioning Unit (HACU) - An Environmental Control Unit, driven by the HAPU, thus minimizing energy loss and achieving a single-box solution

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• Energy Storage System (ESS) - A scalable Energy Storage System, providing extended Silent Operation and Pulse Power capability. Each Continuous Power module, based on advanced chemistry cells and integrated electronics, provides the effective equivalent energy storage of multiple 6T Lead-acid batteries, while reducing weight and volume requirements. The Pulse Power Module can reliably service significant pulse loads for demanding applications.

• Control Panel Module (CPM) – This provides automated and intelligent central system control, with advanced maintenance diagnostics and prognostics, either through a custom Control Panel or an existing Vehicle Management System display. The system is fully qualified to military standards, with specific versions available through NATO Stock Number (NSN).

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The system has already been integrated into the Hellenic Army’s M109 howitzers under a contract with BAE Systems(US), as well as into an FV510 TES Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) during the British Army’s Warfighting Experiment 2018 (AWE 2018), an innovative process, which aimed to evaluate disruptive technologies in Robotics & Autonomous Systems (RAS) to achieve operational advantages in the battlefield in the toughest of simulated combat environments.

IDE successfully integrated its Hybrid GENAIRCON into the UK’s Army Warfighting Experiment 2018 (AWE18) - Autonomous
Warrior (Land) exercise. Image: IDE

During the AWE 2018 exercise, the most promising and technically mature products were deployed in a variety of operational scenarios by joint British and US forces. IDE worked closely with the British Army Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) to integrate the Hybrid GENAIRCON into an FV510 TES Warrior IFV. ATDU conducted level B and level C assessments with “outstanding” results.

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As showed during these trials, the Hybrid GENAIRCON intelligent VHPMS provides continuous 24 VDC auxiliary electric power for more than 20 hours of true silent operation, in “normal” surveillance operational mode and over 6 hours in full operational mode, using only the energy supplied from the ESS for key vehicle systems such as the communication suite; the battle management system; the sighting & targeting equipment (Thermal Imaging Device); the local situational awareness suite; turret traverse and elevation, door opening; weaponry; the filtration / ventilation system; and auxiliary systems (lights etc.).

As the vehicle engine does not provide on-board auxiliary power, and due to the extremely fuel efficient utilisation of the HAPU, there is a significant reduction in refuelling requirements and associated engine maintenance.

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This delivers a low operational life-cycle cost, especially when the maintenance-free nature of the ESS is considered. The system also reduces the thermal signature and acoustic trace of the vehicle, giving critical operational advantages to the crew. It can be utilised to provide a “power export” capability to other vehicles and/or forward positions (temporary C2 installations), thus transforming the vehicle into an “Energy Hub”, under APU operation or in Silent Watch mode.