MTU Diesel Drive Systems for Military Vehicles

Compact Drive Packages for Challenging Missions •The future for modern military vehicle drive systems: Series 890 •Compact drives for heavy tanks •Mobility that can save lives: MTU drives for armored infantry fighting vehicles

Issue 12 - October 2008

Modern armed forces need modern technology. The range of tasks facing military vehicles has become steadily wider and more specialized. It includes everything from support roles during humanitarian missions and natural catastrophes to peace-keeping and peace-making operations and from the battle against international terrorism to high-intensity combat situations. The motorized branches of the armed forces are realigning their structures to meet the increasingly important challenges of conflict prevention and crisis management tasks. Modern military vehicles are becoming more mobile, more flexible and even more rugged.
The range of military vehicles charged with these tasks today covers heavy tracked and wheeled vehicles, air-transportable units and fast, flexible combat-support vehicles capable of extremely rapid deployment, even over strategic distances.
MTU Friedrichshafen develops and produces the drives to meet these extreme challenges. Whether in the humid climate of the tropics, in the arid heat of the desert or in sub-zero arctic conditions, the vehicles’ drive systems have to overcome vastly varying types of terrain - on land and sometimes in the water.
MTU can look back on more than 50 years of experience in the field of military vehicle drive systems and the company now provides a total of six different engine series covering a power range from 50 to 2016 kW (75 to 2740 PS). Nevertheless, MTU sees its primary role as that of a systems provider for compact “Power Pack” drives consisting of engine, gearbox and specially tailored cooling and air filtration plant.

Series 890 for a new generation of compact military vehicles
Specially designed for light, air-transportable armored vehicles, MTU’s Series 890 engines are extremely compact yet powerful units. Available as 4- or 5-cylinder in-line engines and in V6 and V10 configurations, these units produce between 410 and 920 kW (610 to 1250 PS). Series 890 engines are around 50% smaller and lighter than their most compact predecessor Series 880 which powers the armored howitzer 2000.
That means vital space and weight savings for future cutting-edge vehicle systems such as the German Bundeswehr’s Puma armored infantry fighting vehicle and the new family of vehicles for US ground forces, the Future Combat System (FCS). The MTU 5R 890 engine projected for this application is at the heart of a diesel electric drive system for new, light armored vehicles with high combat speeds and APS facilities. These vehicles can, for example, provide a platform capable of taking on the roles of heavy battle tanks and armored howitzers or of reconnaissance and armored infantry vehicles.
A similar, future-oriented German vehicle concept, the GeFaS (Advanced Protected Vehicle System), utilizes a smaller (4-cylinder, 410kW) version of the 10V 890 Puma engine to generate the diesel electric drive on a common shaft. This vehicle design is intended to exploit the experience gained by the Bundeswehr during foreign service assignments. The hazards presented by mines, for example, are reduced by the highly compact, diesel electric GeFaS drive system as there are no drive shafts running below the vehicle’s crew and consequently no danger to personnel from shrapnel. If one of the axle modules is destroyed the vehicle can withdraw from the danger zone using the second axle module.
With a power/weight ratio of less than one kilogram per kilowatt and their highly compact design, Series 890 units deliver the best power/weight and the best power/bulk ratios. As a result, they are outstanding in conventional diesel drive systems as well as perfect for diesel-hybrid and diesel electric drives such as MTU’s mbrid System.

Drives for heavy military vehicles
Heavy military vehicles such as the Leopard 2A6 battle tank are the armored backbone of the army and the challenges they have to face are many and varied. The primary consideration, however, must always be the best possible protection for the crew coupled with a high level of mobility because battle tanks have to seek direct contact in combat situations. Alongside fire-power and heavy armor, mobility is the decisive factor in achieving mission success.
MTU’s first (Series 837), second (Series 870) and third (Series 880) generation tank engines all earned excellent reputations in their respective vehicles such as the Leopard 1, Leopard 2 and the French Leclerc tropicalized battle tank, setting new global benchmarks for mobility, power density and reliability under all weather and combat conditions. Following detonations of high-explosive mines, for example, and despite damage to their tracks, Danish and Canadian Leopard 2 battle tanks in action in Afghanistan were still able to withdraw from the danger zone under their own power thanks to their MTU drive units. The three engine series from MTU cover a power range from 735 to 2016 kW (1000 to 2740 PS).

Drive systems for light and medium military vehicles
Light and medium military vehicles such as armored infantry fighting vehicles, transport vehicles or mobile flak units play a crucial role in supporting heavy tank divisions. These units are usually involved in carrying out special tasks to the rear of advancing tanks and have to be able to keep pace with them at every step. They need to afford their crews optimum protection despite limited armor, they must be highly mobile and maneuverable and they must have the ability to survive hits on their drive systems. MTU’s Series 106 and 199 engines provide these vehicles with the necessary capabilities. Reliability, compactness and optimum power/weight ratio characterize these outstanding MTU-tailored Daimler engines just as much as their ease of maintenance. Engines from this series, which covers a power range from 130 to 600 kW are in service, for example, in the Spanish Pizarro armored infantry fighting vehicles and in the Austrian Ulan armored personnel carrier of similar design. In addition to their own crew, these 28-tonne (combat weight) vehicles are capable of transporting eight soldiers at speeds up to 70 km/h.

Systems expertise for military vehicles
MTU’s systems expertise in the field of military applications covers the entire spectrum of possible drive configurations and related components. In its role as a systems provider, MTU produces complex systems precision-tailored to fulfill the individual tasks allocated to light, medium and heavy military vehicles. To achieve this, MTU combines all the major components required in military drive systems in its “Power Packs” which, in essence, comprise the engine, gearbox and the cooling and filtration plant. It was these Power Packs which were, for example, used to repower the French Leclerc tropicalized tanks.