Australian soldiers testing stealthy e-bikes for scouting missions


As reported by Kelsey D. Atherton in Popular Science, scouts from the Australian Light Horse Regiment with Queensland Mounted Infantry are testing e-bikes intended for silent special operations.
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Trooper Damian Day and Corporal Thomas Ovey from the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) conduct trials on Australian Army Stealth Reconnaissance E-Bikes at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland. (Picture source: Australian Defence Force/Cpl Nicole Dorrett)


The e-bikes used have a top speed of 55 mph and a range of 62 miles, which means the bikes can cover 30 miles in just over half an hour, and then return back to the unit before the bikes run out of charge. Even then, Kelsey Atherton points, the fact that it is a bike means soldiers could still pedal it to its destination.

With that range, and with the quieter profile provided by electric motors, the bikes could also work as battlefield couriers. “The footprint [with e-bikes] is minimised due to less power, less noise, and you’re not kicking up much dust that could be seen by enemy forces,” corporal Thomas Ovey of the Queensland Mounted Infantry said in a release. “It’s much more effective than a standard motorbike. It allows us to do safe-handling of information, whether that’s information people have found on the battlefield, or even if one of the troops takes photos on their phone and wants to send it back to headquarters,” Ovey said. “They’ll call us up, we’ll get the stealth bikes out, head down there and grab the information. It’s a lot quicker. We cover more ground much faster, and it saves time instead of waiting for troops to come to us when they’ve found something.”

In a 2014 program seeking to build a silent motorcycle, DARPA set a threshold for the bikes at 55 decibels when running on electric power. That’s louder than a conversation in a house but quieter than an air conditioner 100 feet away.

The Australian Department of Defence did not name the model of e-bike used, nor give a decibel read for the engine but it is quieter than a gas-powered motorbike. Will Australia adopt e-bikes into their forces?


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Trooper Timothy Palmer from the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) training on the Australian Army Stealth Reconnaissance E-Bike at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland. (Picture source: Australian Defence Force /Cpl Nicole Dorrett)


 

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