Babcock wins contract to electrify military vehicles

Lurcher Land Rovers undergoing drivetrain conversions Lurcher Land Rovers undergoing drivetrain conversions (Photo: Babcock International)

Defence company Babcock International, which offers services across a series of countries including the UK, France, Canada, Australia and South Africa, has been awarded a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to install electric drivetrains in military Land Rovers.

Partnering with Electrogenic, Babcock will convert four in-service Lurcher vehicles (the name given to military Land Rovers). Two are from general service, while the other pair are ‘protected’ vehicles featuring armoured bodywork.

The vehicles will have their diesel powertrains replaced with drop-in kits and modified battery systems prior to testing by the Armoured Trials and Development Unit in a series of military battlefield scenarios.

In the tests, the vehicles will go through various types of terrain, including steep climbs, water wading and towing. There will also be a range of climate tests.

Chris Spicer, Babcock’s managing director of Engineering and Systems Integration - Land, said: “This is a great opportunity to investigate alternative engine technology, which will enable the British Army to extend the life of its Land Rovers as diesel becomes obsolete. I’m excited to see how the converted Land Rovers perform in a test environment against diesel and hybrid equivalents.

“Sustainability is an integral part of our corporate strategy and by partnering with Electrogenic, we’ll be supporting the MOD to be prepared for the shift to electric vehicles from 2030 and the UK in reaching its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Babcock International was awarded the contract by Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement arm for the UK Armed Forces.

Corporal Bryan Munce, from the Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU) at MOD Bovington, said: “ATDU is supporting Defence to fully realise the strengths and weaknesses of electric vehicle technology through Project Lurcher.

“Mobility performance, exportable power, signature and cost reduction are just some of the considerations we will explore while partnering with Electrogenic and Babcock. In understanding what could enable our forces, it also informs MOD of potential threats to be cognizant of, to enhance our strategic approach.”

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