Thermal Signature Investigation of an Electric Tractor for Military Applications 2013-01-2757
Technology is one of the key determinants of the outcome in today's wars. Many targeting systems today use infra-red imaging as a means of acquiring targets when ambient light is insufficient for optical systems. Reducing thermal signatures offers an obvious tactical advantage in such a scenario. One way to reduce thermal emission of combat vehicles is to adopt highly efficient electrical power trains instead of internal combustion engines that tend to reject a sizeable amount of the input energy as heat.
The tractor is one of the most versatile vehicles that are used in the theatre of combat for various operations such as haulage, clearing terrain, deploying bridges, digging trenches etc due to its excellent abilities in handling difficult terrain. A tractor powered by an all-electric power train was developed for civilian applications. The traction characteristics are identical to that of a conventional diesel powered tractor of comparable size. The vehicle has latent potential for military applications at the front lines with low thermal and acoustic emissions. This paper attempts to investigate the thermal emissions of the electric tractor. A comparison between the thermal signature of the electric tractor and a tractor of comparable haulage powered by an internal combustion engine is presented. Attempts are also made to compare the degree of contribution of each of the thermal emission sources in these two vehicles and identify the largest contributors to the overall thermal output.