Commandos’ New Stealth Bike Has Drone Origins

We talked to the developers

Commandos’ New Stealth Bike Has Drone Origins Commandos’ New Stealth Bike Has Drone Origins
Commandos’ New Stealth Bike Has Drone Origins We talked to the developers In early April, the Pentagon’s fringe-science Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded... Commandos’ New Stealth Bike Has Drone Origins

Commandos’ New Stealth Bike Has Drone Origins

We talked to the developers

In early April, the Pentagon’s fringe-science Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a grant to BRD Motorcycle and Logos Technologies to develop a stealth motorcycle.

Optimized for Special Operations Forces, the quiet-running bike combines a traditional body and a repurposed propulsion system—from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

War is Boring spoke with Logos Technologies and BRD Motorcycle via email about the new stealth bike. When we asked the rep from Logos—the company designing the engine—when the firm thought it’d have a prototype, the rep didn’t provide a specific date.

But the rep did say the Logos team churns out projects quickly, usually in under 12 months. For a military project, that’s fast.

The Logos rep went on to explain that the bike’s engine tech is a known quantity … in the air. “Our hybrid-electric propulsion system has already been proven on a prior aircraft program.”

An aircraft engine in a motorcycle? Strange. We asked about it.

“Logos is unfortunately not cleared to discuss it,” the rep told us. “What I can tell you is that the system was developed for a UAV platform at the request of a customer who is not yet ready to make that information public.”

So the propulsion system Logos plans to use in the stealth bike already powers a drone. A secret drone.

We asked about the conditions the bike might encounter. What kind of damage are the companies designing the bike to take? “We have not encountered a military-use scenario that is more brutal to a vehicle than, say, the Erzberg Rodeo, or casing a 120-foot jump,” a BRD official told us.

“We’re likely to see fewer large-scale land operations and more smaller, distributed tactical forces operating autonomously and at extended range from supply and logistical centers,” Logos added. “This vehicle is envisioned to allow special operators to conduct their missions with the ability to travel long distances, rapidly, over unforgiving terrain, while remaining undetected by hostile forces.”

About those long distances …

This isn’t the military’s first foray into stealth motorcycles. A little over a year ago, U.S. Special Operations Command acquired the Zero MMX, an all-electric, all-terrain motorcycle.

The electric systems were a problem. Each battery holds a two-hour charge and needs to be recharged or replaced to keep the bike moving. To go longer than that in one trip, a soldier has to carry extra batteries. But that’s space a soldier would rather reserve for ammo and food.

The Logos-BRD bike is an upgrade. A hybrid-electric rather than an all-electric. We asked Logos about the battery-powered Zero MMX. The Logos rep explained that the company’s bike operated more like a Chevy Volt than a Tesla.

“One of the major values of the hybrid drivetrain proposed for this vehicle is that range is not limited by battery capacity … the operator is using the 100-percent electric mode for tactical reasons”—it’s quiet—“rather than efficiency. So this is a very different solution than a pure battery-electric like the Zero MMX.”

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