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The US Military’s Latest “Stealth” Bikes!

Published May 28, 2016

Although both of these models are still in development, DARPA couldn’t help but show them off at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference – that’s a mouthful, if you say it out loud. First off, we have the threateningly named “Nightmare” form LSA Autonomy, and secondly, the “Silent Hawk” by Logos. Both machines were born out of a stealth bike competition held by DARPA back in 2014, and now the first prototypes are on display.

LSAAutonomy1

LSA Autonomy’s “Nightmare” – a 400 lb stealth motorcycle that features both front and rear wheel drive, 17 hp at the front and 135 hp from the rear! It features an innovative, hybrid, multi-fuel engine that are capable of running on almost anything you damn well want – from JP-8, propane, gasoline, to Jet A-1. All you’ve got to do is tell the engine what you want to run it on, and it’ll do it.

SilentHawk1

The Logos “Silent Hawk” also features the front and rear wheel drive system, as well as the same cutting edge engine principles, which Logos engineer Alex Dzwill noted could “theoretically” run on lipids, such as olive oil. The Silent Hawk is smaller than the Nightmare, weighing in at the 350 lb marker, and produces a smaller horse power figure. But while we’ve been talking about front and rear wheel drive and engines that run on anything, we’ve failed to mention the bikes “Stealth” capabilities. Having an engine that can burn anything is great, but when you’re trying to scramble across enemy lines in a secret fashion, it’s not such a useful boon.

And that’s where “quiet” mode comes into play. When you want to be stealthy, a simple flick of a switch will turn the bikes over to an electric lithium-ion powered motor, which reduces the overall volume of the bike down from 80 decibels, to a stealthy and barely noticeable 55 decibels.

Even though lithium-ion batteries have a reputation for…exploding… (which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to be stealthy) the Silent Hawk has a special electrical system developed by Alta Motors: “They have purpose built this battery pack to be of higher density … They have an active cooling system in it that insures that even if there is a cell failure that one cell will fail with no explosion. It will remain operational,” Dzwill explained. The system is similar to the ones found in Tesla’s electric cars.

Of the other special features on board, we know that both bikes are capable of powering external electrical devices but that’s all we know for sure. Both bikes are still in the development stages, and we’re fairly sure that we’ll never know their full potential – they’re military products after all! But we’re happy with them in their current state. I wouldn’t mind a stealth dirt bike…

 

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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