by Holly L. Birchfield
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
10/25/2005 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- The Air Force is looking for a way to save fuel and energy, while meeting mission needs. The R-11 hybrid electric refueling truck is one answer.
The truck -- which is undergoing a series of tests before its release later this year -- is the first step in a spiral development between the Advanced Power Technology Office here and the Mack-Volvo Corporation to incorporate hybrid electric technology for military and commercial use.
The vehicle has a 6,000 gallon aviation fuel tank. It operates with a diesel engine, an electric motor and battery pack to optimize fuel efficiency, said Mike Mead, chief of the technology office.
"One of the reasons we're going toward hybrid electric technology is to advance the capability of the warfighter, reduce maintenance costs, reduce environmental impact and reduce our dependency on foreign energy sources," he said.
Robert David, an office engineer, said the congressionally funded $1.2 million R-11 prototype uses a regenerative braking system to capture energy "bled out" during drivers' "stop and go" process. This saves fuel.
"We can't give exact numbers at this time because we're building the prototype,” Mr. David said. “But Mack-Volvo is planning a similar design, with a 20 percent fuel economy savings, which we think will provide similar results for this prototype."
Harvey Collier, a program manager, said once the R-11 prototype completes its battery of tests, it will go to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. There the technology will be demonstrated and validated for heavy duty vehicles.