The U.S. Military is moving forward with the development of a silent motorcycle for its covert ops.
Technical details are still hush-hush, but the team behind the SilentHawk was recently awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The off-roader is based on the production Alta Motors RedShift electric bike, but is fitted with a hybrid-electric powertrain designed by Logos Technologies that was originally created for use in an unmanned aerial vehicle. It’s described as “multi-fueled,” which likely means it’ll run on either diesel or JP-8, like most military vehicles. The idea is to create a motorcycle that can combine the stealth capability of an electric over short distances with the much greater operational range provided by an internal combustion engine and easily refillable fuel tank.
Logos also describes the power system as “field swappable,” which suggests that a depleted battery pack can be quickly replaced with a fresh one, so no time needs to be wasted to recharge. And, as if it weren’t unique enough already, the SilentHawk features two-wheel-drive to give it the climbing capability of a mountain goat. The consumer version of the RedShift has an all-electric range of about 50 miles, a top speed of 80 mph, and a $14,995 starting price.
It’s not the only electric bike being looked by The Pentagon, however. Zero Motorcycles has already provided the U.S. Special Operations Command a fleet of its battery-powered MX bikes for evaluation under operational conditions.
Logos Technologies plans to have an operational prototype ready by the middle of next year, and the company says it believes “that the system resulting from this second phase of the program would have applicability to other ground vehicle systems beyond motorcycles.”