Special forces are getting a stealth motorcycle that’s silent and deadly

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POPULAR SCIENCE)

 

Special forces are getting a stealth motorcycle that’s silent and deadly

Here comes the dirt bike, beware of the dirt bike.

SilentHawk stealth motorcycle

The SilentHawk can also run on jet fuel.

Logos Technologies

A dirt bike is a tool for getting a person to a place they shouldn’t be. Lightweight, made for rough terrain, and fast, motorcycles allow special forces to slip through woods, navigate narrow canyons, sneak through alleyways, or hurtle down footpaths. There’s only one problem: dirt bikes are really, really loud, so any secrecy gained by using a bike is lost to the engine’s roar. Which is why DARPA, the Pentagon’s future projects wing, is funding the development of a versatile electric dirt bike, so that special forces can have as silent a ride as possible on two powered wheels. The bike is called “SilentHawk,” and after receiving the first prototype, DARPA liked to so much they asked for two more.

SilentHawk is a collaboration between Logos Technologies, which makes military tools like drones and sensors, and Alta Motors, which makes electric dirt bikes. Creating a silent motorcycle meant starting from an electric bike. As designed, one modification of the SilentHawk uses a hybrid engine, so it can run on gas most of the time, and on electricity when it needs to be quiet. And it’s not limited to gas: It’s can run on diesel, as well as JP5 and JP8 jet fuels, so that the special forces using it in the field can power it with whatever fuel they might encounter. When running on fuel, the SilentHawk recharges its own batteries and any electronic devices the troops might have, like radios, GPS receivers, or tablets.

SilentHawk

SILENTHAWK

The SilentHawk motorcycle has an expected top speed of 80 mph, on either electric or hybrid power.

Logos Technologies

“Because they’re motorcycles and they’re relatively small, you can put several of these in the back of a V-22 and they could be dropped off somewhere,” said Doug Rombough, VP of Business Development for Logos Technologies. “They could go 50 miles, and when they get within 10 miles of an objective, they could shut off that multi-fuel engine, and go all-electric—the only noise [they] will produce at that point will be the noise of the tires on the surface and or the chain of the motorcycle.”

Running on fuel with the generator activated, the bike is about 75 decibels, or the sound of a garbage disposal. Switched to all-electric, SilentHawk lead engineer Alex Dzwill says it produces less than 55 decibels, or about the sound of normal conversation. Is it possible to make it quieter?

“Literally the loudest thing is the chain, and it’s possible for us to outfit a belt, though there’s a whole host of reasons for why you wouldn’t want a belt on a dirt bike,” said Dzwill. “If you get a rock in there, it’s very likely that you’ll rip the belt up, but if you’re in a sandy location like the desert, it’s possible you could use a belt and be fine.”

So 55 decibels may be as quiet as a dirt bike gets. Competition dirt bikes are regulated to stay under 113 decibels, so compared to the roaring engines that normally come with such vehicles, the SilentHawk represents a world of improvement.

SilentHawk motorcycle

SILENTHAWK MOTORCYCLE

SilentHawk

Logos Technologies

The bike is so quiet it even surprised its designer. Dzwill recalls a testing session in the woods where a rider was able to sneak up on him undetected. “He just popped up behind us, like the sound of us walking was enough to completely hide the sound of the motorcycle approaching behind us.” As a comparison, they were able to hear a traditional gas-powered dirtbike from almost a mile away.

There are no other stealth features for the SilentHawk other than its quiet engine, but that’s still probably enough for the silent professionals that may take it into battle. Traveling undetected is a tremendous advantage, provided the bike itself doesn’t end up a encumbrance. Which nods to one of DARPA’s goals in asking for new prototypes: reducing the weight, while retaining all the added functionality.

Off the shelf, an Alta Motors electric motorcycle weighs 270 pounds. With everything added to the first prototype, including two-wheel drive, the hybrid engine, and the control system, the total weight is 350 pounds. To get that heft back down, Logos is going to need to rework part of the hybrid engine. Originally built for the Parahawk unmanned aerial vehicle program, the engine is liquid-cooled. A new air-cooled engine could do-away with the radiator and shed pounds in the process.

And to provide flexibility as well as lightening the load of the bike, SilentHawk is somewhat modular. One kit will provide auxiliary power, a user interface, and equipment storage. Another one will extend the range of the bike. Both kits can work with the hybrid engine, and the seat with generator attached can be swapped out for a standard seat. (The generator can work even if the bike isn’t moving, too). The end goal is something flexible for lots of needs, which can be adapted in the field.

“You can transfer a hybrid power motorcycle back to an all-electric motorcycle, in about 30 minutes, maybe an hour if you’re not experienced at doing it,” said Rombough, “You could leave that in the environment, go back and forth if you want a slightly more nimble motorcycle for your upcoming mission.”

The soon-to-be-signed follow-on contract with DARPA will produce these new prototypes within a year. If DARPA likes what it sees, the next stage would be more of a production model, and then after that it’s possible special forces could get a brand-new bike for moving undetected wherever they may need to go. Just don’t expect them to make a big noise about it.

Former Special Forces Officer: Gen. ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Left ‘My Men to Die’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

NEWS
DEC 2 2016, 2:00 PM ET

Former Special Forces Officer: Gen. ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Left ‘My Men to Die’

A former Army Special Forces officer is accusing retired Marine General James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be defense secretary, of “leaving my men to die” after they were hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2001.

Mattis has not commented publicly on the incident, which was chronicled in a 2011 New York Times bestselling book, “The Only Thing Worthy Dying For,” by Eric Blehm. The book portrays Mattis as stubbornly unwilling to help the Green Berets.

His actions, which were not formally investigated at the time, are now likely to get far more scrutiny during the retired general’s Senate confirmation process.

Trump’s transition team did not respond to request for comment from NBC News. Nor did Mattis, whose 2013 retirement from the military means he would need a waiver from Congress to serve as the civilian Pentagon chief.

Mattis is a highly decorated former wartime commander who became famous for leading the 1st Marine Division’s lightning fast movement into Baghdad during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Image: James M Mattis on the USS Peleliu before Afghanistan mission
James M. Mattis (2R), U.S. Marine General, aboard the USS Peleliu in 2001. JIM HOLLANDER / EPA

On December 5, 2001, as the wreckage of the twin towers still smoldered in lower Manhattan, a team of Army Green Berets accompanying Hamid Karzai, the future president of Afghanistan, was hit by a U.S. smart bomb in a case of friendly fire.

Two American soldiers died instantly and a third was badly wounded. He would later die. Dozens of Afghans also were killed, and the CIA officer who now runs the agency’s spying arm protected Karzai with his body.

Mattis, then a brigadier general commanding a nearby group of Marines, refused repeated requests to send helicopters to rescue the Green Berets, people involved in the operation tell NBC News. The helicopters under Mattis’ command at Camp Rhino were about 45 minutes away, according to the book.

And, as commander, Mattis had final approval for the decision not to dispatch a rescue mission from there.

Who is Gen. James Mattis? 14:50

“He was indecisive and betrayed his duty to us, leaving my men to die during the golden hour when he could have reached us,” Jason Amerine, who led the Army special forces operation as a captain, said in a Facebook post Friday morning.

“Every element in Afghanistan tried to help us except the closest friendly unit, commanded by Mattis,” added Amerine, who retired as a lieutenant colonel and made news in recent years as a prominent critic of the Obama administration’s hostage policies.

The 15th anniversary of the Afghanistan friendly fire incident is Monday. Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39; Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Henry Petithory, 32; and Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser, 28, were killed.

Ultimately, an Air Force Special Forces unit based three hours away, in Pakistan, sent older helicopters to rescue Amerine and his men. Three more Afghans and a badly-wounded American, Brian Cody Prosser, died on the way to the hospital, according to the book. It is not known whether any of them could have been saved.

Image: File picture of Gen. James Mattis testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing
FILE PICTURE: General James Mattis testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington July 27, 2010, on his nomination to be Commander of U.S. Central Command. YURI GRIPAS / Reuters

Mattis declined to be interviewed for the book, Blehm, its author, told NBC News. Other witnesses quoted Mattis saying that he didn’t want to send a rescue mission into an uncertain situation.

According to witness accounts in the book, Mattis reportedly questioned why a rescue mission was needed and worried about whether the situation on the ground was secure.

Later, when a special forces Sergeant, David Lee, protested his decision, Mattis threw him out of his office, Blehm wrote.

The Obama administration was criticized for years by many Republicans—including Vice President-elect Mike Pence — for failing to mount a military rescue when a diplomatic post was attacked in 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, despite military officials saying no rescue was possible.

In this case, another military unit had to act because Mattis did not, Blehm said.

“The Air Force Special Operations Command had the same exact information as Mattis. They launched immediately,” he said.

Image: FILES-US-POLITICS-TRUMP
Mattis with President-elect Trump and Vice president-elect Pence. DON EMMERT / AFP – Getty Images

Blehm spent three years researching the book, including a long interview with Karzai, he told NBC News.

He interviewed six of the surviving eleven Green Berets involved in the operation.

“Every one of them said, when they were this mass casualty situation, either wounded tending to the wounded of their buddies, every one of them were thinking, where in the hell are the Marines?”

In his Facebook post, Amerine — who declined to speak on the record to NBC News — said it was ironic that Mattis later became famous for relieving a battalion commander for alleged indecisiveness during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“The delay of Mattis in launching MEDEVAC on December 5th was never in question, not even by him,” Amerine said. “The only debate was whether it was justified and how many died as a result.”

STILEMINIMO

FACCIO PASSI

DAVE BAKES

Bake on through to the other side

Your Home for Homemade Japanese Food

How to cook "with visual instructions" healthy, traditional and delicious Japanese dishes!!

Done with Religion

Living for God Outside the Walls of Religion

Rock Bottom

My journey through the depths of hitting rock bottom and how I faced my fears and have started to turn my life around.

Christian Classicist

Exploring the Early Church to see what the church can learn from them today.

Joseph Sacco

Sharing with people ways to improve their lives, so that they can create a life filled with meaning and contribution.

Silent Songs of Sonsnow

"I have enough time to rest, but I don't have a minute to waste". Come and catch me with your wise words and we will have some fun with our words of wisdom.

Commonplace Fun Facts

a collection of trivia, fun facts, humor, and interesting notions.

www.ginabriganti.com

Be Inspired. Inspire.

%d bloggers like this: