Transmissions for Wheeled and Tracked Vehicles, Today and Tomorrow
Allison Transmission supports a wide variety of vehicles serving in the US Marine Corps (USMC) tracked and wheeled vehicle fleets, including the M1 ABRAMS and M1150 ASSAULT BREACHER tracked units and the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV), Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), HIMARS rocket system, P-19R fire truck, Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement and Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) for the wheeled fleet.
Ken Adgie, Director, North America and US Government Defense Business, told MON his company partners closely with the Marine Corps to ensure the current fleet is sustained for optimal performance throughout vehicle life cycles. “The Marine Corps’ decision to upgrade the LAV is an example. Upgrades include electronic controls that offer improved shift quality and prognostics capability[…] The USMC fleet of ABRAMS tanks and ASSAULT BREACHER vehicles are overhauled using kits with Allison Genuine Parts that ensure durability and reliability.”
Shifting focus to the vehicle fleets of tomorrow, the ACV is one of the Marine Corps newest vehicle programmes, replacing the legacy-era Armored Amphibious Vehicle (AAV). For this programme, Mr Adgie pointed out, “matching the Iveco engine to the Allison 4800 SP transmission delivers significant power and torque to move Marines from ship to shore whenever duty calls.”
Another embryonic programme has the Corps’ Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) addressing capability gaps and exploiting emerging technologies required by Marines for future missions. “The ARV architecture must be forward-looking and designed for upgrades in size, weight and power over the life of the vehicle,” Adgie pointed out.
Of added significance, Allison is continually refining its current products to meet customer needs. Mr Adgie cited one example, the Medium Duty 9-Speed, based on the proven Allison 2000 Series transmission. “Enhanced capabilities include improved performance, with 50% more ratio coverage than the current 6-speed transmission. It will have a gross combined weight rating up to 56,000lbs, improved fuel economy and enhanced electronic controls that protect against cyberthreats.”
Asked to identify corporate developments MON readers should be on the lookout for in the near future, Mr Adgie previewed three technology efforts.
In one instance, Allison’s emerging technology in commercial solutions and its advancing electric-hybrid technology will act as a bridge to full-electric vehicles. “We are currently developing two electric axle variants for commercial vehicle markets,” he explained. “The AXE e-axle variant is applicable to light-, medium-, and heavy-wheeled vehicles. The AXE is a fully integrated electric axle designed to fit between the wheels of trucks, replacing the traditional powertrain system.” The ABE e-axle variant has a unique design which eliminates the rear differential, allowing it to be used for tracked vehicles, transferring power directly to the sprocket drive.
Another effort reflects the demand for electric power having increased ten-fold since 2008. In response to this trend, Allison and Leonardo DRS have developed a Transmission Integral Generator (TIG). Mr Adgie explained the TIG is a complete propulsion solution with an integrated, high-powered permanent magnet generator to provide exportable power in the field without a towed generator. “The 3-TIG generates 60 kW continuous at 750 RPM, 120 kW continuous at 1750+ RPM and 600 vDC. The US Army will test the 3-TIG in the Family of Military and Technical Vehicles beginning early 2020. A 4-TIG, based on the Allison 4000 Series transmission, will be tested by the Army in late 2020,” he revealed.
A final technology thrust finds advanced control systems for cybersecurity including a new Transmission Control Module (TCM) and shift selector hardware that enables cyber-secure communication between TCM, shift selector and authorised external systems. “These advanced electronic controls also support a connected services features (telematics) and functional safety (ISO 26262) improvements. Key benefits include secure updating of applications, including over-the-air updates, secure diagnostic reporting and use history reporting. Allison is committed to providing the most reliable products to our customers. Marine commanders can remain confident that Allison transmissions assist units to safely and effectively achieve their objectives.”