WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The U.S. military is investing in the development of a hybrid, stealth motorcycle for use by special operations teams in the near future.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a grant to the Fairfax, Va.-based Logos Technologies company to research and develop a lightweight, partially electric motorcycle for special ops troops navigating through rugged terrain, Live Science reports. The company stated that the stealth bike would utilize the company’s hybrid-electric power system with an off-road “barely legal” motorcycle developed by BRD Motorcycles.
“Quieted, all-wheel-drive capability at extended range in a lightweight, rugged, single-track vehicle could support the successful operations of U.S. expeditionary and special forces in extreme terrain conditions and contested environments,” Wade Pulliam, manager of advanced concepts at Logos Technologies, told Defense Tech. “With a growing need to operate small units far from logistical support, the military may increasingly rely on adaptable, efficient technologies like this hybrid-electric motorcycle.”
The initial Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from DARPA is valued at $100,000 for Logos to research whether or not the design can be developed, Wired reports. The stealth element of the motorcycle is the focus of the research, rather than efficiency.
The Logos Technologies hybrid-electric system would be fitted to the RedShift MX motorcycle, a 250-pound electric motorcycle that currently costs $15,000. The RedShift MX can reach a maximum speed of 80 mph in its current form.
“The team is excited to have such a mature, capable system from which to build, allowing an accelerated development cycle that could not be achieved otherwise,” Pulliam told Wired.
This is not the U.S. military’s first attempt at developing a silent motorcycle. Wired reports that last year the Zero Motorcycles company was awarded a contract to develop a motorcycle with replaceable battery packs that run for two hours, a keyless ignition system and blackout capabilities.