21 November 2023
The Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO) has trialled the electric protected mobility vehicle (ePMV) with a 2 Health Battalion (2HB) medical treatment team to test the viability of powering deployable medical capabilities.
The trial, conducted in the field at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane, found the ePMV provided sufficient power to run a PMV-command vehicle for about eight days without using a generator.
Following the vehicle's launch at the Chief of Army Symposium in August, the ePMV has been trialled and tested in a variety of conditions and by different units to better understand the opportunities and limitations of electric propulsion in an operating environment.
The lead for emerging technology within Future Land Warfare branch, Lieutenant Colonel Alex Palmer, said trials of the ePMV by soldiers within different units had been crucial in the exploration of a practical approach to helping people perform their roles to a higher, safer standard.
“We’ve been able to realise benefits, including thermal and acoustic signature management, the ability to export electrical energy, robotic and autonomous systems connectivity, instantaneous power and tactical agility,” he said.
“This learn-by-doing approach is about discovering just how far we can push the limits of the ePMV whilst also getting an understanding of their limitations.”
The ePMV was deployed during Exercise Talisman Sabre alongside other emerging technologies RICO is exploring, including a ground uncrewed system capable of providing continuous surveillance for 35 days.
The ePMV project has facilitated a learn-by-doing approach, connecting industry partner 3ME with feedback from soldiers using the technology from 5th Combat Service Support Battalion, 8th Combat Service Support Battalion, 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, and 2HB.
Lieutenant Colonel Palmer said there was a wide range of emerging power and energy technology that would impact many Army systems. Electrification technology could increase Army's energy performance, sustainability and reduce logistic demand across the whole force.
He said RICO was set to adapt the ePMV to a diesel-electric hybrid engine in early 2024. The hybrid-electric trial sought to deliver the benefits of electrification technology, while extending the bushmaster range.
To learn more about Army's power and energy experimentation, visit Power and Energy | Australian Army Research Centre (AARC).