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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hybrid tactical for U.S. Army

An old saying goes that an army travels on its stomach, while that may be true the real transport workhorse of the modern Army, the Heavy Expanded
Mobility Tactical Truck or HEMTT, may soon have a new energy source of its own, E85 ethanol or B20, otherwise know as biodiesel, a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aeromatics.

The Army, in conforming with a government directive in 2000,and the more recent Energy Policy Act of 2005, plans to buy about 1,500 of these tactical trucks over the next 10 years. The vehicles are produced in several specific versions required by the Pentagon including wreckers, cargo, tractor and tanker models.

The Energy Policy calls for a 20% reduction in fuel consumption and a move toward alternative sources of energy by all segments of the Federal Government, including the use of hybrid vehicles like the HEMTT.

HEMTTs are eight-wheeled vehicles that provide transport capabilities for re-supply of combat vehicles and weapons systems. The manufacturer, Oshkosh Truck Corporation provided the following video of the HEMTT A3 being put through its paces at their Wisconsin testing facility.

One version, the TFFT or Tactical Fire Fighting Truck has been designed specifically to meet new standards for fire fighting vehicles, which require a crew of four personnel and a water carrying capacity of 1000 gallons for fire vehicles covering Air Force planes landing at Army fields. The TFFT features all-wheel drive, the ability to ford four feet of water and is capable of hauling up a 60-percent grade at full payload. The fire truck will be deployed worldwide for structural fire protection, wildland firefighting, fuel storage protection, aircraft rescue and rescue extrication in almost any terrain.

by Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

::Don Bosch contributed to this article

Further reading::
Defense Energy Support Center
National Ethanol Vehicle Coaltion
DOE Clean Cities
National Biodiesel Board
Army Petroleum Center

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