CNN Proposes Climate Friendly Battery Powered Military Vehicles

EV Military Tank
Author’s impression of the Battlefield of the Future

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to CNN, the Pentagon is in a position to kickstart the USA’s green transport revolution through its enormous procurement needs.

Key player in war on climate change? The Pentagon

Opinion by Michèle A. Flournoy

Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT) October 26, 2020

Michèle A. Flournoy is managing partner of WestExec Advisors, a strategic advisory firm, and former Undersecretary of Defense in the Obama administration. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. View more opinion on CNN.

The Department of Defense has a critical role to play in this effort. It also has a strong interest in doing so.

Gradually replacing older vehicles with new hybrid or electric vehicles would not only be more fuel efficient, it would also grow the market for a nascent US industry. Similarly, retrofitting military facilities with green materials and technologies would make buildings more energy efficient, while also growing high-paying manufacturing and construction jobs.

Scaling investments in alternative energy like solar would lessen demand on local energy grids and help drive down the cost of renewable energy nationwide. By leveraging its procurement power to create large-scale demand, the DoD can accelerate market growth, helping green technologies become more viable and affordable for widespread use while enhancing American competitiveness. 

Obviously if the US army is going to start running around remote battlefields in tanks which only have a few miles range, someone is going to have to install a lot of EV stations in some pretty inhospitable locations. It might also impact battlefield readiness if US tanks have half the range of opponents, take at least half an hour to recharge, and have to sacrifice armour to be lightweight and energy efficient.

I guess US soldiers could ask enemy combatants to refrain from attacking for half an hour per day, while the tanks are on fast charge, and for the sake of the planet to please refrain from firing RPGs at the fragile base solar panel array and wind turbine systems.

167 thoughts on “CNN Proposes Climate Friendly Battery Powered Military Vehicles

      • W O W…
        Electric Tanks…
        20 minutes later the war is over, lost, TIMEOUT-we need to recharge overnight
        Electric Tanks?
        No Tanks

        • It’s not my impression that anyone is suggesting electric tanks or other frontline vehicles. At least from what is quoted here.

          I would imagine that the Pentagon probably has a fleet of about a million vehicles for administrative staff which never leave US soil and are not involved in combat.

          The best thing to do would be to clad the visible upper layers of the Pentagon bldg with styrofoam. This would protect them from attack by magical Pakistani acrobatic pilots at the same time as saving the planet.

          • “I would imagine that the Pentagon probably has a fleet of about a million vehicles for administrative staff which never leave US soil and are not involved in combat. ”

            But during a major war- those cars and trucks might need to drive long distances in a hurry.

          • By definition, when you need your military or emergency services to function, lives are on the line. Peolke die if you operate at less than maximum efficiency. That includes logistics, not just combat, and having multiple fuel requirements and vehicles with reduced duty cycles are two really obvious ways to create inefficiency.

            That is before we even start on the idea of inefficient purchasing of more expensive, less effective, less fit-for-purpose equipment from limited budgets. Contrary to myth and legend, the military is not over-funded and if any organisation needs the best available bang for their buck, it is one in which people die if they don’t get it right.

        • Really long extension cords.
          Or solar panels? Its why they were invented, because the extension cords to the satellites would kill birds.

    • A hit in the right place would incinerate the tank, using only the battery. A cheap fix for the enemy.

      • The Germans quickly found the weak point of the Sherman during WW2 and called them Tommy Cookers and the British troops called them Ronsons after the ad for the lighters which was “Lights First Time Every Time”.

        James Bull

        • When Brits got Grants and then Shermans in Africa, it was gamechanger for them. Sherman was best medium tank by far whole ww2. Survivability of Sherman crews was best in medium tank class.

          Logistic and strategic/tactical mobility of family of Sherman vehicles was far superior to any other tank in ww2.

        • Oh course what people usually don’t mention about the Germans relative to the Sherman is that in 42 when they first encountered them in North Africa they were screaming about this massive new powerful American built tank they were suddenly expected to fight against.

          The problem with discussing the any tank in WW2 is that you really need to place it in context of its service dates. The Germans for example encountered British Matilda ‘heavy’ tanks during the Battle for France and were very cautious about it for the next year and a half because nothing the German Army (note careful choice of words there) had as direct fire weapons could destroy it.

          Does that make the Matilda the ‘Best Tank of the War’?

          Well by late 41 it was slow, no longer immune to Panzer weaponry and undergunned. So by those judgements, NOPE, not a good tank. Early 40 – easily one of the most powerful tanks in the world.

          Tank development in WW2 was rapid (as was nearly everything else) so context is everything when judging equipment.

          Personally I feel the Sherman was a good tank that didn’t age well. The British recognised it was lacking firepower and went to great effect to develop the Sherman VC variant (V is the model of Sherman because the vehicle was made by so many different factories there were significant variations, and C defined that it had a different gun. The Sherman V was the M4A4 from memory under US naming convention).

          The US developed the 76mm upgunned version and COULD have invaded France with them. Instead US command said it was too close to the invasion date to train troops on a brand new gun and delayed bringing them into service. This, in my opinion, was a mistake.

          We digress.

          T-34? Horrible tank. Build quality is rubbish. C&C is rubbish. Vision is rubbish. Not a fan. Yes the Russians built them in GREAT numbers but take the production number and compare it to the total amount of tanks the Soviets still had operation by VE Day. Thousands were built. Thousand were destroyed in combat. Again, not a fan.

          (KV-1 on the other hand? Those things are huge. Remember seeing one in the flesh for the first time and being gobsmacked at how impressive they are. Not saying they are a wonderful tank, but grud they are impressive to look at!)

          But – we digress – the important thing here is none of the tanks mentioned ran on sodding batteries!!! 😀

  1. She is former Undersecretary of Defense in the Obama administration. Her Bachelor of Arts degree makes her an authority in all things technical and military.

    • She learned while serving under BOb that electric vehicles run on Unicorn farts rather than coal fired power plants and as Unicorns are so plentiful, we may never run out of power to fight a ground war.

  2. Inner city elitists, who have no idea about how reality works, will probably think that this is a great idea.

    I swear, nobody should ever be allowed to graduate with a science degree unless they do at least one year of engineering.

    • And no-one should hold any government office associated with technical matters without a science or engineering degree.

    • Oh no, we couldn’t do that. They would have to learn Mathamatics. And Matamatics is a tool of white supremacy don’t you know? (that was saracasm for those SJW’s who can’t recognize saracasm)

      • That’s right. Numbers are the first thing the cultural marxists go after (political polls, covid deaths, global temps, etc, etc), which is why don’t want education in math. Don’t believe ANY number(s) they put out there — it will be a lie.

    • The two years of Aero Engineering I did were very useful in my Science career. That is observational evidence to support your assertion. Geoff S

    • No need for a degree.
      The child soldier or farmer soldier without any formal schooling will be able to work out how to defeat theses battery tanks.

  3. All those tanks would have to tow around trailers with diesel generators constantly running in order to power the tanks that have to tow trailers with diesel generators and the fuel need to run them constantly… Makes more sense to have the diesel engine and fuel protected inside the tank in the first place.

    • “DonK31 October 27, 2020 at 6:26 pm”

      While tanks didn’t have to tow their own fuel about with them, fuel supply chains were an easy targets which crippled tanks. No fuel = no go = no war.

      • Patrick.
        All forms of supply have vulnerabilities…. but it’s easier to protect a tanker in one place than a power line stretching 1000 miles. It’s easier to hide that tanker than major electrical infrastructure. ….. and that’s before we start considering the inherent vulnerabilities of electric vehicles, the design compromises that have to be made and the potential inefficiencies of having vehicles requiring different energy supply requirements.

        There are good reasons why the military likes to standardise where it can.

          • Patrick… Don’t be silly.

            To reiterate. All power sources are vulnerable. Electrical power sources are more vulnerable than most. Electricity does not solve that problem. It makes it bigger.

          • @ Patrick MJD

            You fly in a spare battery using a battery powered drone, of course.

            (Some people just got no imagination. :))

          • If your tank is 1000 miles away from the nearest fuel source, then your supply officers need to be court martialed.

            You don’t really get how this supply thingy works, do you.

          • If my tank was 1000 miles away and out of fuel, I am likely grateful that I am 1000 miles away. (although it could be that my tank is still at the base and I am the one in the middle of nowhere … in either case, I see no benefit to ducking).

  4. I could actually see a diesel hybrid, like a train locomotive, for heavy vehicles. With the constant speed diesel generator, you would get very good mileage. I just don’t know how feasible it would be, or how practical.

    • I thought about that, but more things to go wrong. My guess is there might be room for electric assist in some cases, say to give a very brief burst of extra speed, but the assist device better be something a soldier in the field can remove with a hammer.

      • Keep thinking, young Eric, military hybrids are real and have been for years.

        Submarines. Or at least conventional submarines. Or Diesel-Electric submarines. Diesel on the surface. Electric underwater. Why? electric don’t make nasty fuels and is quiet. Why the diesel? Batteries run flat.

        Hybrid drives in tanks. Real engine makes electricity. Electric motors drive the tracks. Advantage is you no longer need a gearbox. Disadvantage is the massive amounts of copper needed and the fact they tended to burn out because tanks are heavy buggers that need lots of power to move. The Old Gang (yes, it is what they called themselves) in the UK tried to put this drive in the TOG tank (a massive experimental vehicle that was… well… largely pointless) during WW2 and Mr Porsche over in Germany kept trying to put it in his designs (which is why the Tiger tanks ended up being built to someone else’s design).

        Current military hybrids – as far as I am aware – are centred around the stealth aspect. Lower noise. Lower thermal while the engine is not running. There seems to be significant interest in developing recon vehicles using this tech.

        ‘Green’ only enters into the discussion because tanks are sometimes painted that colour. Making latte drinkers content does not.

        (Australian tanks are not green. They are Tan, Olive and Black. Not green.)

        • Desiel electric subs are the most stealthy subs out there when they are on battery. Not so very when charging.

          • Still a type of desiel electric. I didn’t realize how hard to find subs were until I got involved in finding them when I was in the Navy. Once I did I was glad that our battle groups were always shadowed by 1-2 of our subs to watch out for the ‘unfriendly’ subs. Once one of our ‘friendly’ subs popped a periscope up between the carrier I was on and a destroyer a mile behind us. No one noticed it except for the weather observer-go figure. In my opinion subs are the scariest Naval vessel there is.

          • As far as I remember, the newest German subs use fuel cells to generate electricity. No batteries to talk of, can swim under water for a very long time and extremely low noise.
            You can put your ear to the main electric engine and still not hear it is running.

          • Diesel anything would be out of the question without Fossil Fuel exploration, drilling, extraction and refining though. Without OIL, hybrids are just Low Range EVs

        • Some heavy equipment is electrically powered. My favorite is the dragline.

          The smallest and most common of the heavy type weigh around 8,000 tons while the largest built weighed around 13,000 tons.

          They dwarf tanks by around two orders of magnitude.

          • When was the last time your life depended on the ability of your dragline to manoeuvre at speed across rough terrain?

            Weight is not just an academic issue for military vehicle operators. Some of the comparisons here are downright thoughtless.

    • Diesel-electric has advantages for large equipment. That said, it looks like the idea has never made it past the prototype stage for military vehicles, tanks included. link I’d love to know why.

      • As I said above, the lives of most heavy equipment operators do not depend on their ability to operate at speed across rough and highly variable terrain. Military vehicles are always a compromise between speed, weight and carrying capacity. It is pointless having a tank so heavy that it cannot use standard bridges, bogs every time it leaves a hard road and is so slow that it cannot deal with an agile enemy.

        Make your armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) too large and you pay the penalty of requiring more HEAVY armour to keep it relatively safe in a hostile combat environment.

        The common factors in AFV power-plants are compactness, a high power-weight ratio, a common and easily available fuel and rapid refuelling. It’s one reason why turbines are so popular in modern Main Battle Tanks.

      • Past the prototype?

        Well ignoring recent developments/proposals, hybrid electric drive tanks have been developed over the years and sorta technically went into production.

        Back in the earlier days the Germans put word out to their major tank manufacturers and basically said “What we need is a Tiger Tank. Go and design one for us”.

        So Porsche and Henschel went off and designed their own versions of the hull while the turret was always intended to be a common design from Krupp no matter who won. The hull that did end up winning was Henschel, but Porsche was so confident his design was awesome he went and started manufacturing at risk.

        Now in context of what we are discussing these hulls used twin air cooled V-10 petrol engines each linked to an electric generator which in turn drove an electric motor on the final drive sprocket of each track. A hybrid so to speak. No batteries in the modern sense of hybrids with brake energy recovery (or whatever they call it) but lots of copper and an unproven design.

        So the Germans said ‘look, there is a war on, we need the copper for the U-boats and we don’t want our new big scary tank breaking down all the time, so… NO.’

        However Porsche had built about 100 of these hulls so eventually so they were not a complete waste they were converted into the Ferdinand heavy assault gun by changing the engines (still with electric drive), adding more armour to the front, a big armoured box on the back and an even bigger gun than the Tiger.

        It was an… okay vehicle. Not 100% successful. Big, nasty, broke down and was hard to recover.

        So technically it was an electric drive tank that made it into production, but only because Porsche decided to start building them at risk. Technically they were never ORDERED into production.

    • I think the heavy tanks are all turbine. The tanks are so heavy and they can move over 50 miles a hour so it takes more power than a reasonable sized diesel can provide. If done correctly, the turbines are not as picky about fuel so if it burns, they can probably use it. I know somebody who flew on B47s and while they normally used jet fuel, occasionally they would hit a tanker full of gasoline because that was when the air force was transitioning from propeller to jet. The engines ran a bit hotter and it clean the carbon buildup out of the engine.
      The other advantage of turbines is the cooling system. All the heat goes out the exhaust so no radiator to be puncture. Some of the WWII tanks were air cooled and that worked reasonably well however they didn’t put out nearly the horse power todays tanks require.
      Electric tanks would probably be a sitting duck and one shell fragment in the battery compartment would really ruin your day.

      • The big advantage of turbines is that they really don’t care what they burn, as long as the temps coming out of the combustor is in the right range. The problem with turbines is that they need a lot of airflow, so filtering can be an issue, and they’re thirsty. From all I’ve seen, the next-gen designs are all diesel-based, as they’re more fuel-efficient, especially at low power settings.

        • I believe that when we were looking to replace the Leopards a study was commissions to compare fuel consumption between turbines and diesels.

          As I had it very briefly explained to me was in real terms it evened out. Turbines idled badly, but delivered power well, while diesels sort of just ate fuel at the same rate regardless. Either was you were going to need a LOT of fuel to operate modern armour so just accept it.

          So then the US gave us a better deal with training (we could break their M1’s instead of ours) and now we use own and operate GD’s finest. Pity, cause I like Challenger but there you go.

      • Only Abrams is turbine. Modern German, British and Russian main battle tanks all use diesel engines.

          • True, but it flopped disastrously in Chechnya, and has never been used in combat again. By Soviet/Russian standards, fewer than 6000 T-80s produced is a negligible numbers. Replaced by diesel T-90.

    • The Germans in WW2 tried D/E tanks, they didn’t work. Probably would these days with small, high powered electric motors, but for land based vehicles, why bother? Try driving a 70+ tonne armoured vehicle around on battery power alone see how far you get.

    • Or how large would the tank have to be in order to be a hybrid? The main motors are usually just enough power to operate, not to go 70 on a motorway. And no matter what any electricity generated would have to be fossil fuel generated. Is there an electric motor that can move 84 tons at a speed of 45 mph?

  5. I guess US soldiers could ask enemy combatants to refrain from attacking for half an hour per day, while the tanks are on fast charge

    Is reminded me of the joke about Napoleon’s plan to invade England on the weekend because there would be no defence

    • Beware.. there is MUCH DUMBER, still to come. !

      Who knows what DEPTH OF DUMB these people are capable of !!!

      A battle tank full of lithium cells. ???

      What could possibly go wrong ! 😉

  6. Haven’t heard of anybody talking seriously about this stuff at work, though hybrid designs do potentially have tactical advantages – running on batteries for short distances would be much quieter than running a diesel all the time, allowing you to sneak up on the bad guys, but once the shooting starts the diesel would fire up and provide the main power. Future Combat System (FCS) was supposed to be diesel-electric drive system, and there have been some experiments with fuel cell vehicles, but as far as I know nobody is seriously considering a battery-powered combat vehicle. We already have enough issues keeping batteries charged for any robotic assets being used in the field.

  7. Thanks again Eric for posting a chuckle-fest article.

    Even in peacetime exercises, deployed frontline mobile weapons platforms have to scrounge fuel sources to reup at every opportunity.

    Imagine a lineup of tanks, apcs etc etc waiting in a 6-hour queue to recharge their conveyances.

    May as well regress to horse-drawn canons.

    Where do the numpties that propose battery-powered military platforms come from?

    (Don’t tell me – universities)

  8. Interesting that none of the reasons stated for using electric weapons systems have anything to do with the purpose of those same weapons.

    • Nor do any of those proposing such changes, expect their lives to rely on the capabilities of those vehicles. Academics and journalists with No. Skin. In. The. Game.

  9. Where to start with how daft and vapid this article is. Send all your money to the UN now so they can save us from any sanity we have left!!

  10. Green technology of the Obama administration continues. Undersecretary of Defense. Give her some slingshots. Just as effective as a dead tank. Super Genius. Where is Wild E Coyote when you need him?

  11. I can see the USAF using electric vehicles on the flight line and saving fuel for troops in the field. But really, ridiculous.

  12. What I always find entertaining it listening to senior military personal speak and comparing the words selected and the sentence structure with say political types, media and managers.

    Recently had the opportunity to hear the now retired former head of the RAN talk. The topic was future shipbuilding here in Oz and he summed up the three most important thing for a naval platform.

    – Lethal
    – Available
    – Sustainable

    (in that order)

    He went on to explain the points. A warship needed to be lethal so it can destroy our enemies. That was it. Clear and to the point. No woke waffle about conducting the nation’s interests in parallel with our values and traditions in an inclusive manner. It’s a warship. We use it to either threaten to kill our enemies, or to actually kill our enemies. If it can’t kill our enemies it should be replaced with a platform that can.

    Lethal = a core design requirement.

    He further expanded that Availability was vital because (my words) you can’t wait for the wind to blow the right direction and Sustainability, in context, was making sure it worked over the entire life of the platform.

    That is what Sustainability means in the real world. I want to be able to keep it operational today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year up until I take it out of service and replace it.

    Woke has nothing to do with it.

  13. …”tanks which only have a few miles range…”

    Eric You are too kind. Model S Tesla has a 1200lb battery pack. Motor plus battery is ~30% of the total vehicle weight. A 65t military tank would comparatively need a ~ 20t unit – probably much heavier for very rough off road use. The explosive to destroy the tank would be the battery itself. High voltage weapons might do the job.

  14. Best post ever! Our enemies would love to build the charging stations for us! With very little monitoring effort they would have pinpointed targets

    • The Peoples Liberation Army must be very enthusiastic
      about the battery powered combat vehicles for the US.
      Everyone will love the electric armored vehicle’s performance in extreme weather too.
      Those batteries work so well in ice cold conditions
      and temperatures above 100 degrees F

  15. Don’t worry….

    The brilliant military experts and environmental/PC engineers at CNN have thought of everything.

    When our tanks run out of battery power, a separate backup battery kicks in, raises a big white flag that waves like crazy, and speakers pop out of the gun turret playing Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” to boost troop morale..

  16. Eric
    You have got the electric battle tank concept all wrong! They will pull a diesel generator behind so that they will always have ready access to re-charging. Indeed, the batteries could be kept up to full charge all the time by running the diesel generator continuously. Oh, I forgot, hitched to the generator trailer, will be a supply tank of diesel fuel to run the generator. Of course, it may require some change of battle tactics. I don’t think that any foot soldiers would want to be anywhere near the caravan of targets.

  17. Wow! Is this how the term ‘military intelligence’ was labeled an oxymoron? In this case, it would seem to apply to both the proposal…. and its author!

    Michèle A. Flournoy is managing partner of WestExec Advisors, a strategic advisory firm, and former Undersecretary of Defense in the Obama administration.

  18. Now I’m convinced the entire MSM and a certain political party has just been bought by China.
    Only this makes any amount of sense after reading that article.

  19. Diesel-electric trains and ships run because of two different reasons. With the trains, you can use as many locomotives as you need, no throttle, diesels run wide open the whole time, and when coming into the station you can shut off two or three of them and send the extra electric energy through the resistors on the top of the locomotive.

    With ships, one diesel, the electric motor enables them to change propeller speeds to the most efficient as they accelerate out of port, avoiding cavitation. Some of them can shut off individual cylinders. None of this applies to tanks for the love of God, putting our military personnel at risk to support a Green Dream? Wow…

    • The film Sgt Bilko was my first thought and similarly ignorant to reality.
      A Hover Tank is most likely the next suggestion.
      Only a year ago a Danish MP suggested we go for flying cars in the near future.
      Next comes battery driven icebreakers to substitute the Russian nuclear ones.

      The solution for the DoD going battery driven, is small portable 100MW nuclear power stations for charging in the base camp and battery pack on trailers after each vehicle during combat.

      This is all very complicated, but there is a very simple solution suggested back in the 1970s by the Danish minister Mogens Glistrup: “A telephone answer machine could replace the military.”
      Glistrup was in line with Trump, in that he was angry with the socialistic big government tyranny and falsehood. The establishment saw to their horror that his party, The Progress Party, was about to be largest in the government. The establishment therefore filed a lengthy lawsuit against him, accusing him of paying too little tax. Eventually he was ordered to pay $500,000 in extra tax and a year in an open prison.
      Considering that $500,000 was a ridiculous small amount, compared to his fortune and income, they in reality had no case against him, but wanted to push him out of government.
      I remember the Norwegians telling me that they wished to borrow Mogens Glistrup to clean up their government.
      Glistrup was a professor, businessman, politician and a seeker of truth, was a bit of a redneck and would most likely have tweeted in the same rough way as Trump.
      Mogens Gristrup died in 2008.

  20. I’m no stranger to this line of thinking, that is, of using the military as a market for something no one wants. A decade or so ago, people looking for huge space launch markets began promoting space Solar power (beamed to the ground by microwaves or lasers) as a way to deliver power to military operations in remote locations. They did elaborate analyses of the cost of providing diesel fuel for field generators compared to the cost of sending up and operating space solar power stations, and “found” that in the case of the military, space Solar power was more economical.

    Now you have to admit that geostationary space solar power stations could provide 24/7 power, and in that sense would be superior to Earth-based solar power sources. However, the downlink issues are rather large – microwave would be the only all-weather transmission medium, and safety issues would limit the power density achievable on the ground. The cost of getting a geo Solar power station on orbit, using expendables of the pre-SpaceX era, would make the scheme a non-starter. But the whole idea was to have a huge launch market enable the development of low-cost launch, attracting private capital that has never been attracted to that field (and still isn’t, really).

    I’m not convinced that the cost case closes, and I’d be one of the first to embrace it if it did. But the military is not interested in advancing technology when the technology they have is reliable, and reliability is number 1 for keeping troops alive. When I was at DARPA, I developed an acquaintance with a nuclear physicist, and discussed the space Solar power concept with him. He didn’t look very closely at the idea, but said that it probably would never get any traction. He had approached the military with the idea of a truck-mounted, accelerator-driven nuclear fission power source for forward bases. It was arguably hugely less expensive and more readily brought to technical maturity than space Solar power. But the military has diesel, and it works, and they know it inside and out. His proposal got the same short shrift as the space geeks’.

    • The concept of power beaming was (usually) called SELENE. I had (unfortunately) some small involvement with the boondoggle since one of the principle investigator/instigators was Dr Hal Bennett, a very senior scientist at the Naval Warfare Center, China Lake. While the guy definitely had clout I had enough interaction with him over the years to basically try to avoid any association with him, his projects, and his sponsors. But, running the Optics Lab meant I had to sometimes be involved. Without dredging the DOD era effort, I’ll conclude with after Hal retired he started a small business called Bennett Optical Research (BOR), in which he got some grants from the state of California to further “development” of the SELENE concept. Mostly it paid for a Ridgecrest building rental and some old cast off optical equipment on which some of his retired cronies worked for free for a few years.

  21. There is an ancient proverb :

    “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”

    Maybe they wish to end western civilization, with this self destructive way of carbon foolishness .

    Actually in the ancient greek version the actual “make mad” is |”make a moron”, and morons were foolish brainless people. Even now “moro” means “baby”.

  22. Let’s look at the Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI) who wrote this garbage:
    Michèle Angelique Flournoy

    She was put in the DoD in 2009 to be an Obama anti-fossil fuel advocate at the Pentageon. Otherwise she is friggin’ idiot on defense. No background at all in actually knowing how to kill people and destroy countries that threaten the US.

    First off: She was an Obama appointee, no doubt associated with his as a campaign money bundler and got her a political appointed job in the Pentagon. Pay to play.

    Her bio:
    Flournoy attended Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California. She studied at Harvard College where she received a bachelor of arts degree. She received an M.Litt. in international relations in 1983 from Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar at Balliol College. From 1989 until 1993 she was at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was a Research Fellow in its International Security Program.

    Other words: the author here, Michèle Angelique Flournoy, is an IDIOT when it comes to actual military matters of being able to make sure the US military is NEVER involved in a fair fight with an adversary.

    Joel O’Bryan
    USAF retired.

    • Oh, don’t be too hard on her, Joel. she’s on the outside looking in and probably wonders why anyone would even want to join up in the first place.
      After all, the draft ended before she was even a bright idea in someone’s head, so there’s really nothing to protest these days…. is there?

    • Thanks for providing that info. But you left out her engineering degree from somewhere showing she knows how things like this actually work.

  23. Clearly the UN should do what the UN does and join such ideas by a directive that all wars are to be climate change friendly.

  24. LOL CNN is the biggest bunch of fools on the planet.

    I say build radioactive powered military vehicles – people will think twice about shooting holes in them.

  25. Oh, this is just rich!!! I have to tell my tanker friends who wax rhapsodic about their time in the driver’s seat and shooting off that cannon. They will not just fall down laughing, but they will ask if those are going to be made of plastic like the model airplanes and model tanks.

  26. The scary thing is there’s a pretty decent chance it could happen at least at some level.

    Except when fully engaged in all-out war (the last time this happened was WWII), military “leaders” are selected for political reasons, not military reasons. The ranks of flag officers are filled with politicians, not warriors. The military constantly makes decisions and engages in behaviors that directly harm military readiness or good order and discipline for no other reason than political expedience.

    Especially if the left wins both the legislature and the White House next week, flag level military politicians will be falling all over themselves to enact PC and “green” policies with no regard to their impact on readiness.

  27. Vague recollection is that the tank shown weighs >60 tons, has a a top speed around 40-45 mph, and ~250 mile range on road. Any electrical engineers out there, how much would batteries weigh for that performance?

    • …… and can refuel in ten minutes from a fuel system that can come to them, instead of the opposite.. That’s the other downfall of battery powered vehicles. Slow recharge and dependence on a grid or stationary installation.

  28. Once again some idiot wants to use the military for an experimental guinea pig. Thank goodness the military has stringent procurement system.

  29. Democrats have favored getting rid of the military for decades, so I guess making it ineffective would be a good first step for them.

  30. The current M1A2 Abrams battle tank weighs 73.6 tons (66.8 tonne), is powered by a multi-fuel turbine engine and has a fuel capacity of 504.4 U.S. gallons (1,909 l) for a road range of 265 mi (426 km) and a cross-country range of 93-124 mi (150-200 km).

    How long would this thing run for using batteries?

  31. I remember many, many years ago being on a committee that was to advise on how to protect the Bass Strait oil rigs. This included reps from RAN, and Department of Transport and from an oil company.
    The chairman, a Public Service type, posed the question, what happens if a merchant vessel approaches the oil rigs? These have a 500 metre safety zone around them which ships are prohibited from entering. The oil company wallahs said that it was essential that the prohibited zone be extended to about 2 km, IIRC. We pointed out that the size of the prohibited zone was determined by international agreement and that we could not unilaterally change it.
    The chairman posed to us “What action could be taken to protect the rigs, and suggested that rigs could send a message to their base and these could advise the Minister of Transport. We pointed out that if there was any real danger, by the time the Minister was advised the rig would have been hit. What was the action that could be taken on the spot? We pointed out that the rigs could try to communicate with the ship by radio or by using an Aldis to alert someone on the bridge. But what if there was no-one on the bridge, or they were not looking? The rigs had sound signals which might alert the ship. But what if no one was listening? I suggested that then that would be a job for the RAN patrol boats that were normally on standby. What could they do? At that stage the RAN blokes started listening with great interest. Well they could come up alongside the ship and try to get someone to pay attention. But what if no one paid attention? Well they could fire a round or two ahead of the ship. But what if still no one took any notice? Then they should fire a round into the rudder and disable the rudder and/or the propeller, and so stop the ship. Great merriment from the naval blokes – at last someone was suggesting that they could be put to their intended use. I have a feeling that the chairman then asked, but supposing the weather was too bad for the patrol boats to put to sea? Get better patrol boats! Hearty nods and broad grins from the naval blokes. I am not certain what went into the minutes of the meeting! I was not asked to be in another meeting on this subject, in fact I am not certain that there was one.
    Back to the subject, I recall hearing a Public Service type wondering why a tank had to have a reverse speed equal to its forward speed? The answer was that a tank had to be able to come out from a hidden location, fire at the enemy and then retreat into its hide before its location could be spotted. Hence a high reverse speed was essential!

  32. The great thing is that CNN are actually frightened Trump might lose the election. Their general business prospects were going down the toilet before they got to constantly blabber about the second coming of Hilter, aided and abetted by Russians, for reasons never made clear.

    When he leaves office the downward trajectory will probably resume and they know it.

  33. To quote Donald Sutherland in “Kelly’s Heroes”.

    The only way we keep them busy is to let them shoot holes in us.

  34. I think to know that electric vehicles use high power converters. Power electronics circuits that switch currents in excess of hundreds of Amperes at frequencies of 30 kHz and above.

    Performed by power MOS-FET transistors, this “chopping” leads to a sustained generation of sharp electromagnetic pulses of much higher widespread spectrum of frequencies.

    Last time I checked, military often require stealth operations. Including radio silence.

    Electrically powered vehicles are, no matter how well shielded, potentially detectable with passive radioelectric sensing equipment.

    Their typical “electromagnetic signature” can probably be also assessed as well as their numbers and progression characteristics.

    Aviation radio is mainly carried by amplitude modulation transmissions, which despite their lower immunity to noise provide other advantages.

    And when the rejection is set to low (think: squelch), we can often hear noises that are nothing common to voice or data communication or even a plausible jam of several overmodulating (overlapping) transmitters.

    Industrial spread of high power electronics is probably the main source of these nuisances.

    Electromagnetic parasitic noise is surely detectable over considerable distance.

    I’m not sure that the military personnel would be safer when even relatively inexpensive and vastly known receiver technologies could target ordnance as selectively as on specific models or vehicle types.

    However what I know for sure is that, whenever there’s a security breach, someone’s tempted to take advantage of it.

  35. You just need to understand forward thinking.

    She probably is fully aware that during their invasion of France in WW II, the German panzers were able to refuel at gas stations along the way. If the greenies win, they will mandate the end of fossil fuels. Certainly, they will also provide US taxpayer funds to subsidize solely electric power around the world, with fast charge capabilities at many locations. Therefore, rather than requiring long supply lines, the American tanks can simply recharge where they find themselves. See?

    I learned how to think that way from some of my students.

    • And the military would deploy solar panels and windmills to recharge their equipment ? Tactical range anxiety ?

      Now it get’s interesting. A “heavy” flying at low altitude with full throttle, all irons out at high angle of attack is all it takes for a “gone with the wind” sequel.

    • But is she aware that the USSR burned and destroyed all they could? They tried not to leave a building standing. Think they would leave running electricity?

  36. Next you know, they’ll be asking for “carbon-free non-polluting” explosives.

    It would not surprise me.

  37. Are tanks really any use given modern anti tank weapons? These now have an 8km range, warheads which defeat reactive armour… some are ‘fire and forget’

    Anyone seen the footage of tanks being destroyed in the recent Azerbijan flare up?

    • Those are Russian tanks, with ammo in an autoloading carousel under the turret. leading to the classic “lollypop” effect, with turret embedded in the ground by the cannon barrel.

      Your knowledge of military affairs is on a par with climatology.

      Modern weaponry is even more effective against light armored and thin skinned vehicles. So should we give up on vehicles altogether and go back to marching, horses and oxen?

      • The tanks in Azerbijan may be, but then we also have the Israeli experience in Lebanon – and nobody has tested NATO vehicles against the latest Russian and Chinese designs.

        • Wrong again!

          Merkavas in Lebanon were MkIII and earlier versions. Twenty were kocked, but only 15 crew were killed.

          Some Turkish German Leopards were destroyed in Syria, but had been used improperly. One US Abrams was knocked out by a Russian ATGM in Iraq, but the crew survived.

          Tanks have always been vulnerable to one weapon or another.

  38. Now come along all you sceptics. I am surprised they only suggested battery powered tanks. What about wind powered battleships. As I recall that Nelson chap seems to do OK with just wind power in the sails.
    Then again the Greens could have gone all out, and suggested a wind turbine on each tank! That way, the chance of recharging the battery could be done at night, as well as via the solar panels on its outer skin during the day. Well providing the wind decided to blow of course.
    Oh the mind boggles at the opportunity for Green warfare.
    I have always thought how much better I would feel, if the incoming shell about to terminate me, was fired from a eco friendly tank…..

    • It’s OK to have Wind Powered Battleships so long as your enemies are limited to the same technology. Tanks with a 50 mile range and a 22 hour recharging cycle are also OK as long as your enemy is limited to the same tech. Fight wars for 2 hours per day and R&R for 22 hours a day.
      Just have to invent that ‘Lectrick rocket engine for the Nukes

  39. Lets get Serious…
    These are the equipment scales for a US Army Armoured Brigade Combat Team effectively a WW2 Panzer Division…

    Once it starts kicking Asses and taking names it requires daily thousands of tons of Ammunition, Food,Water,Spares and whatever provides it’s Motive power. Reinforcements need to go up, bodies, wounded and prisoners need to come down. Broken Vehicles and equipment need to be recovered, Repaired/Replacement need to move up…

    An Abrams Tank weighs about 70 tons And has an energy supply of 64,000 Mega Joules as about 2000 litres of Turbine fuel which will take it about 275 miles at economy cruise.

    Specific energy of Lithium Ion Batteries is best case 0.8 MJ/KG so same energy would require 80,000 Kg of batteries… Lets be super kind and assume the electrical drive train is 5 times more efficient that’s still 16 tons of battery per tank as opposed to between 2-3 tons of fuel and fueltank…

    Repeat the same calc for all the other driven vehicles….

    It’s a bollocks idea…..

    That’s before we get into the difference in time between pumping turbine fuel from a bowser and recharging a 16 ton battery. Or the fact that standard infra-structure will be damaged in battle or deliberately destroyed by the enemy… Now the Army has to plan generating capacity and power transmission to replace it’s liquid fuel…

    The stupid really does burn…..

  40. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale to support the conclusion that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. So even if all the countries in the world zeroed out their military CO2 emissions, the effort would have no effect on climate. The military needs to have an all weather capability so even if all their vehicles were battery powered they would still need portable changing stations that would run on fossil fuel. The real fossil fuel guzzlers are aircraft and I doubt that battery powered military aircraft will become available any time soon.

  41. My freshman assignment as an infantry officer was as the XO of a Mechanized Infantry Company; we had maybe 18 M 113A1s; the full battalion must have had about 60-70 tracked vehicles (this is from memory from 1967). The full brigade must would have had three infantry battalions; three brigades made up the infantry portion of the division. I forget what the tank and cavalry complement of vehicles was (maybe 2 tank battalions and 1 cav squadron plus an aviation battalion); add in the division artillery (at least three artillery battalions and maybe a battalion or two of really big artillery guns) and then all the logistics vehicles. One would need a lot of Megawatts to keep all those vehicles charged and running.

    I know that we had an SOP for a daily top-off while in the field. Don’t know how you do that if you need a lengthy charging time. A field power station; one per battalion?

    Maybe every division could have its own solar and mobile wind factory brigade or two. That’s it. And some hand cranked generators for back up.

    Where does on get the idea to not give the military, military grade equipment?

    I think horses and mules would be a greener and wiser choice. Oh, and the Navy can go back to sailing ships. Maybe sailing submarines. And the Air Force? If they need fossil fuels just do without air superiority or long range bombing.

    Where do we find these people. No one should have a job at the Pentagon (especially civilians) who have not done 4 years on deck or in the mud

    • ToE of the Americal Division, 1967:

      No organic tank battalion, but had armor in its brigade cavalry troops: 9 M48A3 tanks, 16 execrable M114 scout vehicles, six M113 APCs and three M106 mortar carriers. The little M114s were soon replaced with M113s.

      Three infantry brigades meant a divisional organic total of 27 M48A3s Pattons, which maintained the original 90mm main armament, upgraded to 105mm in M48A5 and M60. Of course, a tank battalion could be attached for offensive ops.

      In the ’50s, tank battalions in infantry divisions still had 70 tanks, as in WWII, while those in armored divisions had 53, in three companies rather than four. Dunno about 1967. In WWII, medium tank battalions had a light tank company, but I think new M41 Walker Bulldog light tanks (replacing M24 Chaffees) were restricted to cavalry units in the ’50s and ’60s.

      • By the 1970s, US tank battalions had 54 tanks in four companies, each with 14 instead of 17, ie platoons of four rather than five. This organization allowed easy cross-attachment of tank companies to four-company mechanized infantry battalions, which would lend the tank battalion a mech company in return, forming brigades of two tank and one mech battalion or one tank and two mech.

      • Now we field combined arms battalions in Armored Brigade Combat Teams, with one or two (Abrams) tank companies and one or two mechanized (Bradley IFV) companies.

  42. They should power it with a portable windmill powered by climate alarmists blow hot air.
    (Like the Al Gore – Arnold Terminator cartoon where the Terminator is powered by a windmill with Al Gore blowing hot air.)

  43. That’ll work, you betcha! Come the day when there is a battery that can support 4 or 5 days worth of use. And tanks or Semis?
    The Mother Earth News offers plans for a hybrid vehicle,using technology available when the first electric vehicle was built and sold. It works, I’ve seen two little pickup trucks whose owners had modified their PUs using the MEN plans. One of them was using a three phase motor for motive power and a small diesel generator to power the system.
    Neither owner was happy about how many batteries it took to power their motors, and the guy with diesel replaced and added to his batteries in ’91. He had driven from Sacramento to Eureka in ’92, and had modified his Toyota 4wd in ’88.
    Just about the only way an affordable electric vehicle can be had, and will stay that way UNTIL battery technology is improved and made affordable.

  44. I haven’t read this whole thread so someone may have said this. Way back in my misspent youth I worked for a major defense contractor who made military vehicles. I was at an AUSA (Association of the US Army) convention/show and we had a prototype of a diesel/electric light armored vehicle. The drive train was essentially copied from a standard diesel electric locomotive. It had a diesel generator that powered traction motors at each wheel. It was lighter, less complex, and more maneuverable than the same vehicle with a conventional drive train. And it had more range. As I recall the traction motors were OTS motors used in electric buses in Switzerland. So, in some applications a “hybrid” could work.

  45. I searched the comments for “Toobin” and was disappointed 🙂

    – CNN seem to be obsessively pleasuring themselves – a la Guardian / Bloomberg

    • I think many people on different teams are pleasuring themselves instead of searching for the truth, which exposes oneself to many contradicting arguments, studies, pieces of data, models, simulations… which can be exhausting. Many people only look for confirmation and accept obvious untruths and that’s the case in the “climate skeptic” groups which tend to reject any argument about the abject risks and unproven benefits of many vaccines. On the (so called, fake) “conservative” side, the benefits of vaccines is axiomatic, even on TheDC, even when Tucker Carson is the one and only host in all mainstream media that suggests that “provax” is religious not scientific!!!!

  46. “Author’s impression of the Battlefield of the Future”

    The photoshop not nearly as ugly and pathetic as the one of the Russian BUK missile in Ukraine that is “proof” that Russia is the responsible for the downing of the MH17 (which is probably the case).

    An abjectly bad BUK launcher photoshop that managed to convince the French most known and respectable “peoples” news magazine: “Paris Match” (usually called just “Match”).

    Well, they say their own reporters “photopgraphie” it. They meant photographié ou photoshopé?

  47. Has anyone heard of the EMP generated by battlefield nuclear weapons? All the electrics in each army will disintegrate. So Green bonus.

    • Not really. Tactical nukes don’t do much in the way of EMP.

      Greens will have to earn their civilization destruction the hard way.

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