Air Force Rolls Out Heavy Hybrid Refueling Truck

$1.2 million R-11 prototype is the first step in a spiral development between the Advanced Power Technology Office at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., and the Mack-Volvo Corporation.

Published: 26-Oct-2005

Air Force is seeking a way to save fuel and energy, while meeting mission needs.

The R-11 hybrid electric refueling truck is the first step in a spiral development between the Advanced Power Technology Office at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., and the Mack-Volvo Corporation to incorporate hybrid electric technology for military and commercial use.

The vehicle, which houses a 6,000 gallon aviation fuel tank, operates with a diesel engine, an electric motor and battery pack to optimize fuel efficiency, said Mike Mead, APTO chief.

"One of the reasons we're going toward hybrid electric technology is that it will advance the capability of the warfighter, reduce maintenance costs, reduce environmental impact and reduce our dependency on foreign energy sources," he said.

Robert David, APTO engineer, said the congressionally-funded $1.2 million R-11 prototype, which is undergoing a series of tests before its release later this year, uses a regenerative braking system to capture energy "bled out" during drivers' "stop and go" process.

"One of the benefits of having the hybrid electric technology is the fuel consumption savings," he said. "We can't give exact numbers at this time because we're building the prototype. But Mack-Volvo is planning a similar design, with a 20 percent fuel economy savings, which we think will provide similar results for this prototype."

Harvey Collier, an APTO program manager, said once the R-11 hybrid electric prototype completes its battery of tests, it will then go to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., where the technology will be demonstrated and validated for heavy duty vehicles.

John Chancellor, an engineer with the Support Equipment and Vehicles Support Group's Refueling Integrated Product Team, said his involvement in the project has been interesting and educational.

"It's here, and it's a technology that is being promoted throughout the world," he said. "It's where we need to go for the future, with the cost of fuel continuing to rise."

Mr. Mead said everything APTO does is a joint effort between the Defense Department and the commercial world to develop the technology for dual-use capability for both military and commercial applications. -and this time it's no different.

The fuel-saving technology has been widely used throughout the commercial vehicle sector, with companies manufacturing hybrid automobiles.

"World-wide, people are looking at ways to save fuel," said Zack Cooley, a program manager with the Refueling Integrated Product Team of the Support Equipment and Vehicles Support Group, said. "This is a great way to do it."


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Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


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