FED ALPHA fuel-efficient military vehicle by Ricardo

FED ALPHA fuel-efficient military vehicle by Ricardo 11.10.2011
FED ALPHA fuel-efficient military vehicle by Ricardo 11.10.2011

Engineering firm Ricardo teams up with the U.S. military to create an eco-friendly war vehicle

Engineering firm Ricardo has teamed up with the United States military to create this FED ALPHA, a more fuel-efficient armored personnel carrier.

The FED ALPHA is part of the Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) program by the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The vehicle has been undergoing testing at the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

The FED ALPHA is made of an Alcoa Defense lightweight aluminum structure with armoring and an underbody blast shield. The vehicle features a Cummins I4 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission from Aisin and is fitted with Goodyear Fuel Max low roll resistance tires developed specifically for the FED ALPHA.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to continue supporting TARDEC in its objective to increase the fuel efficiency of the U.S. Army's vehicle fleet," said Robert Ellis, of Ricardo's U.S. subsidiary.

The vehicle will be on display October 10-12 at the 2011 AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Source: Ricardo


Ricardo today announced that it has completed the build of the FED ALPHA vehicle as part of the Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) programme for the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) - the company has been awarded a contract for the testing phase, which is currently underway

"We are extremely pleased to be able to continue supporting TARDEC in its objective to increase the fuel efficiency of the U.S. Army's vehicle fleet," said Robert Ellis, director for military vehicle programmes for Ricardo's US subsidiary, Ricardo Inc. "The FED programme represents an ideal application of Ricardo's expertise in armoured vehicle design and fuel efficiency improvements."

The goal of the FED programme, launched in late 2008, is to improve military vehicle technology, reduce fuel consumption on the battlefield and reduce the nation's dependence on oil. Ricardo has applied its expertise in the design, development and manufacturing of special vehicles, and advanced automotive technology to create a demonstration vehicle that maximizes fuel economy while maintaining the capability and performance of light tactical wheeled vehicles.

The FED ALPHA includes numerous fuel-saving features, including:


  • A Cummins I4 engine that Ricardo calibrated specifically for tactical vehicle fuel efficiency in Ricardo's Detroit Technology Campus engine test facilities
  • Goodyear Fuel Max low rolling resistance tyres specifically designed for the FED ALPHA
  • A high efficiency 28-volt permanent magnet integrated starter-generator from Kollmorgen that enables electric accessories and 20 kW of power for on-board equipment
  • An Alcoa Defense lightweight aluminium structure, armouring, and underbody blast shield which support and protect the vehicle while reducing weight
  • An improved driveline that utilizes a unique carrier and differential assembly from Ricardo and AxleTech International, including non-geared hubs and REM Chemicals Isotropic Superfinished gears to reduce friction and increase fuel efficiency
  • Accelerator feedback pedal and fuel economy display to inform drivers how to operate the vehicle to produce the best fuel economy
  • A 6-speed automatic transmission from Aisin


In early July 2011, the FED ALPHA was on display for two days in the centre courtyard of the Pentagon. Since that time, FED ALPHA has been successfully completing government testing at the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. One key facility that is paramount to validating the fuel economy of the vehicle is Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) Roadway Simulator. This facility is the world's largest automotive test simulator and designed to perform vehicle dynamics, powertrain performance, shock and vibration testing in a laboratory environment. This facility enables the FED ALPHA to be tested in a highly controlled environment so that small changes in fuel economy can be verified.

ATC will test the FED ALPHA over the drive cycle that TARDEC and Ricardo developed during the first phase of the programme. This unique cycle is comprised of various real world type activities (convoy, urban assault, cross-country and extended idle) that a typical military vehicle would encounter on a mission-to-mission basis. The real world testing of the FED ALPHA will assist in demonstrating and advancing the various technologies that could be utilized to improve fuel efficiency for other U.S. Army vehicles.

"The FED ALPHA vehicle is the culmination of Ricardo's total vehicle system methodology," said Wes Scharmen, Ricardo's chief programme engineer for FED. "Each technology that made its way onto the vehicle was properly vetted to ensure that it aided in achieving the program goals of making a fuel efficient and creditable military vehicle."

Army Power and Energy along with TARDEC will be showing the FED ALPHA vehicle at the 2011 AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition in booth 4224. This event is open to the public and held on October 10-12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.


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Comments (10)

ReadHere ReadHere
It sounds so sweet! Now the militars care about the planet! Well, if so, the tank should have a compartment to transport back to the Body deposit the bodies of civilians killed in the action, I mean, they will not dirty the floor! would have to fit bodies of minimum 30 children per vehicle. This is progress!
Oct 13th, 2011 12:41am
1 0
Cohiba-lover06 Cohiba-lover06
Oh, look its the remake of the 1939 VW Kübelwagen! and with its cigarette paperthin doors also about as blast and bulletproof.
Oct 12th, 2011 2:10pm
0 0
in any battlefield , fuel economy is paramount and spells the difference between victory or defeat especially when a vehicle is operating remotely from fuel supply depots. hybrid-engined military vehicles offer the tactical advantage of surprise as they can quietly approach a target area in a stealthy manner .
Oct 12th, 2011 1:28am
1 0
Grey Grey
im a registered democrat but this looks like left wing tree hugging nut bags gone wild! safety and capability is the number one key when taking out soldiers out into the field. probably countless millions of dollars go into developing this white elephant!
Oct 11th, 2011 10:56pm
0 0
Tackleberry Tackleberry
I guess you have to start somewhere.......
Oct 11th, 2011 9:56pm
0 0
crazy car
Oct 11th, 2011 7:24pm
0 0
blaksabb blaksabb
I'm surprised that fuel economy is a priority considering most theaters of operation are brimming with oil. The whole battlefield is a gas station. Why else would U.S. be there?
Oct 11th, 2011 6:38pm
6 0
norther norther
man, you could not have express this more clearly. i mean, here i was sitting pig ignorant in my chair, in front of my computer, trolling ignorantly on forums (like we all do in this high tech century) and then it hits me. the US army does care about the planet even though they are bombing alot of nations. ntz ntz, i realy need to get my facts straightened. =))
Oct 11th, 2011 8:54pm
1 0
Mister Stig Mister Stig
Whats next? A military EV? Stop the battle - I need to recharge!
Oct 11th, 2011 5:23pm
4 0
v6s_stink v6s_stink
Let's just make sure that armored personnel carriers are safe and tactically sound. This isn't the mission for a Hummer/Prius love-child.
Oct 11th, 2011 5:17pm
3 0