July 12, 2006 Swedish BAE Systems subsidiary Hagglunds AB offered a glimpse of the future of military land systems at the recent Eurosatory military equipment exhibition in Paris when it showed a completely reconfigurable electrical vehicle with interchangeable, specialized mission modules, and a choice of wheeled or tracked drives, both electrically driven. SEP has a low total weight of just 17 tonnes and an ingenious load changing system which enables a vehicle to be quickly refitted with specialized mission modules suitable for different tasks (from towing and ambulance through to troop carrier, rocket launcher, command centre, etc). The vehicle can run in stealth mode on the battery in complete silence and the electrical drive and electrical gearbox enable a number of new capabilities not possible with a traditional diesel power. For example, with the 6X6 configuration, the six wheels can be controlled individually which enables the vehicle to turn on the spot. An 8X8 version is under development and expected by the end of the year.
Hagglunds reports that during the development period, a strong emphasis was placed on reducing maintenance and running costs and adjusting the vehicles towards the environmental demands of today.
Development of the SEP has now been underway for a decade, with six years of testing going into the electric driving system across four vehicles and a bench demonstrator.
The first test rig developed was in a tracked configuration. The emphasis was put on thorough tests and testing of the electric driving system, silent running with battery drive, brakes, speed, Vetronic (the vehicle´s electric system), fuel consumption and redundancy tests.
The second test rig was a 6x6 wheeled variant. Also here, testing of the electric driving system was a priority. The unique thing with the six wheeled vehicle was its ability to make a pivot turn around its own axis. Furthermore tests were done by Hillhold (ability to stand still in inclination with the help of electric engines) and EMC tests (Electro Magnetic Conductive) as well as software. The vehicle was also tested in the most extreme winter climate.
The third rig was used to test the degree of maturity of the electric drive system (e-drive) and the electrical gear box (x-drive) that Hägglunds has developed. During the six months of evaluation a total of 3 000 kilometers has been driven. The type of tests has been about reliability, brake tests, speed, steering, hillhold and EMC-tests. The vehicle´s weight is just 17.5 tons enabling it to be easily transported by air.
The fourth test rig that recently has begun its test program is a tracked vehicle also with a weight of 17.5 tons. The work with developing the next generation´s electric transmission continues.
A bench demonstrator was also developed for studies of e-drive, software, brake tests and hydraulic tests.
The Eurosatory show saw a great deal of international interest in SEP from the European Defence Agency, Norway and Australia and the BAE SYSTEMS Land Systems has been awarded an SEK 65 million contract for technology studies for the British army´s Future Rapid Effect System (FRES). FRES will provide the British Army with a family of medium-weight, network-enabled, air-deployable armoured vehicles. FRES will be the central pillar of a capable and highly deployable medium force which will be able to project power rapidly world-wide, complementing the UK’s existing heavy and light forces. Current estimates indicate a potential requirement of over 3,500 vehicles