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Cummins, Achates Developing Next-Gen Combat Engine

New powerplant needs to be more powerful, use less fuel.

by on Oct.04, 2017

Cummins and Achates are partnering to develop the next-generation Advanced Combat Engine that will be used in future vehicles as well as the Bradley fighting vehicle.

It’s not just automakers looking for new engines that provide more power and better fuel economy, the Department of Defense just inked a $47.4 million deal with two companies to develop and produce the new Advanced Combat Engine.

Cummins Corporate Research and Technology of Columbus, Indiana, and Achates Power of San Diego, California, will develop and demonstrate the next-generation powerplant for combat vehicles. The companies will work in concert with the research and development work of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Michigan.

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The ACE 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, TARDEC said.

“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, Corporate Research and Technology, Cummins Inc.

“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,” he said.

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The goal of the project is to significantly improve the performance, survivability and range of ground combat vehicles while reducing fleet fuel use. The engine will be a four-cylinder, 14.3-liter, opposed-piston diesel producing 1,000 horsepower and 2,400 pound-feet torque, Achates spokesman Andrew Schreck told Trucks.com.

Cummins and Achates Power plan to reach these goals by reducing heat rejection by 21% versus current Cummins-supplied combat vehicle engines, as well as improving power density by more than 50%, and reducing fuel use by 13%, compared with 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, president and CEO, Achates Power.

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“We are pleased to support Cummins on the Multi-Cylinder Advanced Combat Engine Technology Demonstrator program with our strengths in opposed-piston engine technology to deliver a superior engine for combat and tactical vehicles for the U.S. Army.”

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.

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Achates Power has been developing compression ignition engine with opposed pistons. The company already claims that they have developed a pickup truck engine that will 37 miles per gallon, exceeding the 33 MPG CAFE requirement for pickup trucks in 2025. It expects to have its engine ready for vehicle testing this year.

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