A unique technology partnership between Cranfield University and California-based Hayes Diversified Technologies (HDT) has created the world’s first production diesel military motorbike – and the first bike of any kind with a purpose-designed diesel power unit.
An initial order for 522 diesel motorcycles has already been placed by the US Marines. Delivery is due to commence in early 2005. In addition, keen interest is being shown by the US Army, the UK Ministry of Defence and other NATO forces. John Crocker worked alongside project leader Dr Stuart McGuigan of the Engineering Systems Department, Cranfield University at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire to design the diesel power unit.
The challenge was to come up with a low technical risk design that was sufficiently light and powerful, and with an engine speed (RPM) range wide enough to give the level of performance required for use as a tactical vehicle. John said: "The motorcycle also had to meet strict NATO requirements for all armed forces to operate their entire inventory of vehicles and powered equipment on either diesel fuel or aviation grade kerosene. "This capability has major logistic advantages in obviating the need to carry other fuels to battle. And their lower flammability, in comparison with petrol, also greatly reduces fire hazards."
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