Columbus-based Cummins Inc. has received a $47.4 million contract from the National Advanced Mobility Consortium to develop and demonstrate a technologically advanced engine for the next generation of U.S. combat vehicles.
The Advanced Combat Engine (ACE) project, led by Cummins Corporate Research and Technology and supported by Achates Power, is aligning with the research and development work of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
The project is a key component of the Army’s 30-year strategy to modernize tactical and combat vehicles, with potential for future production configurations being used in the Bradley Family of Vehicles and the Next Generation Combat Vehicle.
“Cummins is pleased to partner with Achates Power to employ our technological expertise to create the most advanced combat vehicle powertrains for our armed forces,” said Wayne Eckerle, vice president, Cummins corporate research and technology. “We are confident we can achieve significant improvements in mobility, power, range and fuel economy, creating combat vehicles that are safer, faster and have clear advantages in the field. Our technical teams are looking forward to leading a project that can make a difference in the lives of men and women who serve our country.”
The goal of the project is to significantly improve the performance, survivability, and range of ground combat vehicles while reducing fleet fuel use. Cummins and Achates plan to reach these goals by reducing heat rejection by 21 percent versus current Cummins-supplied combat vehicle engines, as well as improving power density by more than 50 percent, and reducing fuel use by 13 percent, versus current typical combat vehicle engines.
“This award builds upon 14 years of extensive development by Achates Power to modernize and optimize the opposed-piston engine,” said David Johnson, CEO of Achates Power.
An overarching project integrating and validating ACE as part of a system of other key innovative powertrain technologies will be conducted by TARDEC’s Ground Vehicle Power and Mobility technology focus group in 2019. Along with ACE, the system will incorporate an Integrated Starter/Generator, Advanced Combat Transmission, Advanced Thermal Management System, and other key components of the Advanced Powertrain Demonstrator. Results of this program are expected to position the Army and the defense industrial base for future generations of combat vehicles.