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Hybrid electric/"stealth" snowmobiles

OldSolduer

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X Royal said:
To me the big question is why the thrust for "covert military operations in Canada's Arctic" when so little has been done to expand our conventional operational capabilities in the Canadian Arctic?
:facepalm:

The Good Idea Fairy landed on somebody's shoulder and was not knocked out by a whack upside the fairy head with a cast iron frying pan.
 

McBrush

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Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere. So here goes the Stealth Snowmobile Trials.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2013/08/18/north-arctic-snowmobile.html
 

OldSolduer

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McBrush said:
Not sure if this has been posted elsewhere. So here goes the Stealth Snowmobile Trials.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2013/08/18/north-arctic-snowmobile.html
:facepalm: I wonder how much cash we'll spend on this, only to have it shelved.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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No, no, no Jim. It would be useful. Look it's on the AOPS list:

"7- AOPS list of equipment fitted for but without:

...

g) "Sneaky Snowmobiles": qtty: 2 each;"

/SARC off.

 

McG

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Jim Seggie said:
I wonder how much cash we'll spend on this, only to have it shelved.
It is a DRDC research project.  As opposed to actually developing any future CAF vehicle, this project will probably do more to inform a future capital project to replace the LOSV fleet.
 

Kirkhill

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Diesel Electric systems have been applied to:

Ships
Trains
Buses
Trucks
Cars

and now Snowmobiles.

The advantages of Diesel(Gas) electric systems are:

Longer operating lives
Reduced fuel costs
Quieter operations (equates to fuel efficiency)
Exportable power.

It appears that the advantages demonstrated in large systems have now been tested in a small system.  The small system could end up powering not just snowmobiles but ATCs, UAVs and even small boats.  That would put the benefits of hybrids into systems that can be transported ship to shore by helicopter.

It would give the military some new options ..... and as a by-product possibly make cottage country a quieter place.

Given the usual March Madness spending shenanigans $625,000 doesn't seem to me to be an egregious waste of taxpayers money.  I can find you some much more expensive R&D projects with considerably less growth potential.



 

CougarKing

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007, North of 60: Canadian Forces test stealth snowmobile for covert Arctic ops
By Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

The Canadian military has been secretly test-driving a $620,000 stealth snowmobile in its quest to quietly whisk troops on clandestine operations in the Arctic.

The Canadian Press has learned that soldiers have taken the new hybrid-electric snowmobile prototype on trial runs to evaluate features such as speed, noise level, battery endurance and acceleration.


The Department of National Defence even has a nickname for its cutting-edge, covert tool: "Loki," after the "mythological Norse shape-shifting god."

Word of the federal hunt for a stealth snowmobile first surfaced two years ago when National Defence's research and development agency posted a public tender.

That 2011 tendering document, however, offered few details on the future of these missions, except for the top priority: silence.

The project kicked off at a time when the Conservative government was laying out promises to boost Canada's military muscle in the Far North, in a once-vaunted package of Canadian Forces upgrades the feds have largely failed to implement.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived in the Arctic on Sunday for a six-day tour of the region, where his government's main focus has gradually moved from improving the country's northern military capabilities to promoting economic development.

The stealth-snowmobiles project has withstood that political shift.

National Defence has made it clear it does not intend to spend any more money on Arctic mobility for eight years, but its research branch says the evaluation of the silent snowmobile, though still in its early stages, will continue.


The Canadian Press obtained a report that offers a behind-the-scenes peek at how soldiers ran the prototype through "informal" tests in February across varying snow conditions on Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

"These experiments compared Loki against commercially available snowmobiles already in use, testing a wide variety of the snowmobiles' characteristics, including speed, towing capacity, endurance, mobility, usability, and of course, noise emissions," says the heavily redacted report, acquired under the Access to Information Act.

In one test, military personnel used sound-meter readings to compare the prototype's noise performance against two gas-powered snowmobiles.

Another trial saw the machine driven at a steady speed on a mix of flat terrain and hilly snow-covered roads until batteries died.

Soldiers wielding a radar gun also tested the stealth snowmobile's acceleration as it raced 100 metres down a flat, snow-packed track.

"The prototype must be at least nearly as capable and reliable as a standard internal combustion snowmobile, while providing a significant noise reduction," the report said.

"For military purposes, it is not enough for a snowmobile to operate quietly."

The report also found potential gaps in the military's assessments.

"One of the difficulties encountered in evaluating Loki is the lack of a standard set of CF snowmobile requirements," the document said.

The quest, meanwhile, to develop a silent snowmobile remains highly secretive.

Large sections of the May report, such as test results and comments, were blacked out.

The document justified its omissions under different provisions of the Access to Information Act, including one that says information is withheld because releasing it could be injurious to the defence of Canada or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.

A government spokesman declined to make the report's author available for comment, nor did he answer questions on why Canada's military wants the unconventional snow machine.

"In general, anything in the military that's quieter is going to be advantageous," Noel Paine, a spokesman for Defence Research and Development Canada, said.

"Whether it flies or goes on the sea or anywhere else, if it's quieter it's advantageous to any military."

Later, in an email, Paine said the testing and evaluations are ongoing.

He also said the Canadian Forces are looking at different small vehicles that "can be modified to traverse all types of difficult terrain, under various conditions. This includes, but is not limited to, vehicles such as snowmobiles."

In the original federal tender, Ottawa said it was seeking a snow machine that would run by gas-powered engine, but would have the capability to easily switch to a "silent mode" electric motor.

"The noise level of an internal combustion engine cannot be reduced to an acceptable level for missions where covertness may be required, especially given the increased propagation of sound in cold, dry, Arctic air," read the tendering document, which also indicated bids could not exceed $550,000.

It also said National Defence's research agency was "pursuing the development of a 'silent' snowmobile for winter operations in Canada, specifically in the Arctic."

The Canadian Press obtained the contract, which listed the revised price tag at nearly $620,000.

The winning bid came from CrossChasm Technologies, which is based in Waterloo, Ont., and also has an office in Montreal.

Simon Ouellette, the firm's director of project development, refused to discuss the stealth snowmobile due to a confidentiality agreement with National Defence.

One Arctic policy expert questioned whether the cost of developing such a vehicle is money well-spent, particularly since he doesn't believe there are any significant security threats in the Far North.

"I don't see a whole lot of evidence that criminals and terrorists are scooting around Canada's North on snowmobiles and that we have to sneak up on them," said Michael Byers, a former federal NDP candidate who teaches international law at the University of British Columbia.

Byers said he's not sure whether defence officials have an accurate picture of Canada's actual needs. Perhaps, he added, they have an obsession with high technology.

"I can't help but wonder whether they've been watching too many (James) Bond movies."
 

dale622

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anyone tell the current government we already had a quiet arctic vehicle? BV206 anyone?
 

UnwiseCritic

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The states buys stealth choppers and Canada "buys" stealth snowmobiles. I hope they don't come in handy in the next war. Because that would mean that we got invaded and or we're fighting in some god forsaken frozen desert.
 

George Wallace

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If we listen to the Global Warning crowd, in ten years these things would become useless.  >:D
 

Kirkhill

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UnwiseCritic said:
The states buys stealth choppers and Canada "buys" stealth snowmobiles. I hope they don't come in handy in the next war. Because that would mean that we got invaded and or we're fighting in some god forsaken frozen desert.

Mongolia comes to mind.
 

The Bread Guy

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If you're interested in a bit of backstory, there's an earlier thread (now merged with this one) associated with the 2011 tender call, with the original 2011 MERX listing (with a link to the bid package) here.

Edited to add the following:
And this, from the company:
Insider’s info on electric snowmobiles

We woke up this morning and learned that we had been living the geeky engineer’s “dream life” for 15 months from fall 2011 to winter 2012 without even noticing it. According to the media rumor, we spent almost a year and a half working on some crazy stealth snowmobile vehicle straight out of James Bond’s legendary high tech lab operated by Q!

According to press reports, this all started in 2011, when CrossChasm Technologies, was awarded a research and development contract from Defence R&D Canada Suffield in order to research the noise emissions of off road vehicles. As part of this contract, a hybrid snowmobile capable of driving in electric mode had to be developed.

Scenario from a James Bond movie?  Not quite…

R&D project looking to advance the understanding of noise in off-road utility vehicles and foster technological development related to hybrid drive systems in extreme environments? Yes.

The reports make this R&D project sound like it’s straight out of a science fiction movie. Maybe it’s because we’ve been doing hybrid and electric vehicle R&D projects for automotive OEMs and tier 1 suppliers, the Canadian Space Agency and various other vehicle manufacturers for years that we failed to see the “James Bond” factor on this one.  When you work on electric and hybrid vehicles all the time, the lack of details on electric snowmobile in the published articles doesn’t really make your imagination run wild anymore.

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you want your imagination to keep running wild with regards to electric snowmobiles stop reading now! We’re about to show you pictures of what and electric snowmobile looks like.

So what does an electric snowmobile look like?!? Boringly enough, they look like a standard snowmobile. (Not that different from how an electric car looks like any other car)

Don’t believe us?

Here are pictures of the most northerly located electric snowmobile on the planet. Hard to tell it’s electric! You’ll have to believe us on this one. :)
DSC_0100_small_wText-150x150.png

G0020068_crop_wtext-150x150.png

G0020076_wtext-150x150.png


This vehicle, designed and assembled by CrossChasm on an existing utility snowmobile platform is currently in operation at a remote U.S. National Science Foundation research base in Greenland named Summit Station (www.summitcamp.org).

Thanks to the fact that it produces no emissions when driving, this electric snowmobile (nicknamed Edison by base staff) is capable of transporting scientists and equipment into a “clean air zone” atop the Jakobshavn glacier at an altitude of 10,000ft, one of the world’s most unique scientific research sites.

So where does that leave us now? Unfortunately, Miss. Moneypenny, still doesn’t work at our front desk and we have to get back to our calculators and our labs to do more electric and hybrid vehicle work. It’s not James Bond worthy but we enjoy our daily routine of custom designing advanced vehicle systems, developing mobile apps related to electric vehicles (Android, iPhone)  and helping utilities deploy charging networks around the globe.

That being said, if you hear that Q is looking for development partners, please let us know.
 

DirtyDog

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Kirkhill said:
Diesel Electric systems have been applied to:

Ships
Trains
Buses
Trucks
Cars

and now Snowmobiles.

The advantages of Diesel(Gas) electric systems are:

Longer operating lives
Reduced fuel costs
Quieter operations (equates to fuel efficiency)
Exportable power.

It appears that the advantages demonstrated in large systems have now been tested in a small system.  The small system could end up powering not just snowmobiles but ATCs, UAVs and even small boats.  That would put the benefits of hybrids into systems that can be transported ship to shore by helicopter.

It would give the military some new options ..... and as a by-product possibly make cottage country a quieter place.

Given the usual March Madness spending shenanigans $625,000 doesn't seem to me to be an egregious waste of taxpayers money.  I can find you some much more expensive R&D projects with considerably less growth potential.
Diesel/electric

Two things that absolutely love the cold.....

And I doubt we'll be seeing any consumer products in this configuration any time soon, or ever. 
 

OldSolduer

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The more I think about this the more I see a huge contract for a Canadian company.

We aren't any smarter than we were at the outbreak of World War One. :facepalm:

We ain't never gonna learn are we?
 

Good2Golf

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DirtyDog said:
Diesel/electric

Two things that absolutely love the cold.....

And I doubt we'll be seeing any consumer products in this configuration any time soon, or ever.

They do now.  Have you worked recently with modern Tier-2 common-rail diesels in the cold? They are not like the diesels of past.  Electrics, when primarily solid-state regulated are quite reliable in a wide range of temperatures.

When one also considers the logistics of fuel, particularly in the North, it's pretty hard not to give diesel consideration.  Add to that, the ability of a future LOSV to also output pure electricity for user consumption, and that's not at all an unreasonable power configuration.

:2c:

G2G
 

Kirkhill

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Colin P said:
You know, a dog sled with muzzles on the dogs......

sirius_patrol_team_web.jpg


Sirius Patrol

The concept seems to be a bit of dog.  Although the Patrol did get to dog it on the return trip to base (1100 km).  It was found to hard to teach them new tricks.
 

DirtyDog

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Good2Golf said:
They do now.  Have you worked recently with modern Tier-2 common-rail diesels in the cold? They are not like the diesels of past.  Electrics, when primarily solid-state regulated are quite reliable in a wide range of temperatures.

When one also considers the logistics of fuel, particularly in the North, it's pretty hard not to give diesel consideration.  Add to that, the ability of a future LOSV to also output pure electricity for user consumption, and that's not at all an unreasonable power configuration.

:2c:

G2G
I have spent a lot of my life battling to keep diesels running in the cold.  I do not have a ton of experience with anything new other than the new pick up trucks.  If there's a diesel that's as reliable in the cold and easy to start as a gasoline engine, that's (good) news to me.

When I said electrics don't like the cold, I was mostly referring to batteries.
 

Good2Golf

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DirtyDog said:
I have spent a lot of my life battling to keep diesels running in the cold.  I do not have a ton of experience with anything new other than the new pick up trucks.  If there's a diesel that's as reliable in the cold and easy to start as a gasoline engine, that's (good) news to me.

When I said electrics don't like the cold, I was mostly referring to batteries.

I've had a new common-rail diesel tick over in a half second crank with no glow-plugs at -43ºC....pretty impressive!
 
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