Northrop Grumman unveil the Hellhound at AUSA: their bid for the US Army LRV contract
Imagine an all-terrain vehicle capable not only of safely carrying six infantrymen into combat, but also of powering a disaster-zone hospital or a war-zone command post, or even an integrated laser weapon, using only its on-board power.
The Hellhound, revealed at the Association of the US Army’s annual conference in Washington this week, is Northrop Grumman’s bid for the US Army’s lucrative light reconnaissance vehicle contract.
The Hellhound is something of a beast, weighing in at 6.5-tons (5896kg), able to carry six (including the driver), and capable of producing up to 100kVA of power, which is impressively high for a vehicle of its (relatively) diminutive size (compare it to the 30ton M2 Bradley, which generates less than 20kW).
Pat Murray, Northrop’s business development director for mission solutions and readiness, said at the unveiling that “Hellhound addresses multiple Army war-fighting challenges faced by land forces today[and is] designed to maximise off-road capability to regain the advantage of manoeuvre and provide protection through speed and agility, protection for things like roadside bombs or IEDs.” She added that another challenge the vehicle seeks to address is the delivery of more on-board power: “the power demand has grown to the point where current ground vehicle energy systems do not meet the needs”.
Northrop is using a 120kW integrated starter generator system from German manufacturer JENOPTIK, which is capable of generating 100kW of “exportable, stable power”, said Jeff Wood, Northrop’s director of vehicle modernisation. “To jump to 100kW opens new possibilities that we are beginning to explore, [such as] directed energy weapons that we would once only see in Star Trek are now quite possible.”
Wood added that the increased power will “open new opportunities in powering expeditionary command posts or key infrastructure as part of disaster response teams” and allows for new and more powerful sensor suites in the vehicle.
The vehicle unveiled at AUSA was equipped with a large ATK M230 LF 30mm cannon mounted on an EOS R400 weapon station. Wood stated that the weapon “provides light vehicles with unprecedented access to firepower normally reserved for much heavier vehicles”, and Northrop claim that the vehicle is ‘laser-ready’ and that they plan to integrate a 10kW solid-state fiber laser capable of shooting down drones into the buggy.
Charles Beecroft, one of CBSbutler’s defence and automotive specialists, is ‘a huge fan of the modern technology being created at the moment. Not only is it exciting, but it is constantly improving throughout the years. Admittedly the Hellhound does not seem quite the finished article, with no RPG or IED protection, but is certainly a step in the right direction and [he] can’t wait to see what the future holds’.
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