Marine recon may soon get some new wheels: a vehicle with a hybrid electric and diesel drive. Fast, quiet, and with excellent off-road performance, the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Targeting Vehicle (RST-V)—less formally called the Shadow—last month successfully completed a 1000 mile test of its performance and reliability. It successfully sustained highway speeds over its extended drive through mountain passes, rain, snow, and rough construction zones.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored development of the Shadow by General Dynamics Land Systems. In a three-day test, the Shadow drove from Fort Benning, Georgia to General Dynamics' test facility in Muskegon, Michigan.
The Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle program is designing, developing, testing and demonstrating four advanced hybrid electric drive vehicles. They feature an in-hub hybrid-electric drive that lets them run for twice the range or length of time as other current systems. This in-hub drive uses powerful, affordable permanent magnets developed over the last twenty years by Naval materials scientists.
The Shadow has demonstrated maximum road speeds of 70 miles per hour; it's also a 4x4 capable of significant cross-country speed. Its hybrid drive lets the Shadow run silently—on batteries alone—for 20 miles. The vehicle can generate up to 60 kilowatts of auxiliary electric power on its own, reducing the need for Marines to tow bulky, noisy generators.
Readily deployable because it can roll on and roll off standard helicopters like the CH-53 and CH-47, and standard cargo aircraft like the C-130, the Shadow is designed to be easily carried inside the Marines' new V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Its integrated survivability technologies and advanced suspension give the Shadow considerable battlefield capability. Recon units will use its integrated precision geo-location, communication, and sensor subsystems to give commanders tactical ground truth on the battlefield.
The Marines can use it for fire support coordination, forward air control, reconnaissance, light strike, anti-armor, or air defense. It can also serve as a battlefield ambulance, cargo or personnel carrier, mortar carrier, command post carrier, and even a mobile 60 kW generator.