We are all familiar with the military using motorbikes for their combat operations, but now the US military are taking it a step further with state of the art two wheeled stealth bikes.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (USA), or DARPA, launched the stealth bike competition back in 2014 with funding to develop a multi fuel, AWD motorcycle with the ability to accommodate varying specified tasks.
Enter the the LSA Autonomy Nightmare, shown here, one of two bikes that is in the final running for production. With a blend of dramatic versatility and stealth characteristics their petrol engines can run using either spark or compression ignition methods, meaning they can burn just about anything from petrol, jet fuel, propane, diesel, rapeseed oil to cooking oil, stated Alex Dzwill, an engineer with Logos the developers.
Running a bike on regular fuel is loud, which runs contrary to the idea of a “stealth bike.” When not operating in quiet mode, both are as loud as a usual modern bike, roughly around 80 decibels, however when running in quiet mode, the bike relies on a lithium-ion electric battery, which keeps the noise down to around 55 decibels, about as loud as an indoor conversation. When running on electricity the bike has AWD due to each wheel hub containing its own electric motor giving a phenomenal handling and traction improvement in performance. At present the distance for electric mode is around 50 miles, but this is said to be a minimum as new batteries are being considered for use.
Another bonus to making the bikes quieter, the hybrid systems can also power communication equipment and other ancillaries which the military relish when it comes to versatility.
The bikes are not expected to be used in full combat situations, but for reconnaissance and special operations where the bikes can be air-dropped into the areas of interest.
No doubt eventually, the technology will work it’s way down to the civilian markets and we may be seeing electric AWD motorcross competitions in the not too distant future.