The development of modern mechanics and supporting technologies can amaze even the most casual person in the field. Having a relatively short history of formation and development, armored vehicles nowadays are one of the most reliable, inviolable and unbreakable mechanism one can imagine. Due to the offensive and defensive functions they perform, armored vehicles need highly efficient and fuel-saving engines.
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Jackson notes that “today’s armored vehicles are a mix of technology, metal, and speed” with powerful engines than allow them “to move over uneven land and city streets” (8). Armored vehicle’s main purposes are to carry and defend the personnel inside, to withstand attacks and to conduct attacks in case an armed car is equipped with a weapon (Marshall Cavendish Corporation Staff 164).
Armored vehicles can be either wheeled such as, for instance, armored cars and armored personnel carriers or tracked represented by tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (Mastinu and Ploechl 401). As armored vehicles have a high power-to-weight ratio, they need less gear ratio, which in its turn increases tractive effort over the speed range and diminishes the effect of mass factor (Mastinu and Ploechl 435).
Most of the armored vehicles have diesel engines. Before the World War II, petrol fuel was more widely used. The main problem of petrol fuel in tanks and other armored vehicles was its high flammability rate (Dougherty 310). Comparing diesel engines with gasoline, one can state that the first are less fuel consuming, more thermally efficient and can operate for increased amounts of time.
Such peculiarities are especially important in tanks that have to cope with long distances with uneven surfaces and can be fueled not very often. Modern tanks usually carry about 1200 liters of fuel, which can be consumed to cover around 550 kilometers of the ordinary road; uneven off-roads require mode power from the engine, so more fuel is needed (Marshall Cavendish Corporation Staff 167).
Diesel engines are widely used for both wheeled and tracked vehicles. However, in the case of tracked vehicles diesel engines have to take less space. To achieve this aim, engines with air-cooling, steering and transmission systems are built into a power pack (Mastinu and Ploechl 436).
For heavier offensive tracked vehicles developed in the modern decades gas turbine engines are used. In this type of engine, fuel is not burned but the gas is compressed and heated. Afterward, the energy of the compressed and heated gas is converted into mechanical work on the shaft of the gas turbine (Lee 279).
Compared to diesel engines gas turbine engines have much more power and less weight while having the same size. They also are less noisy and emit less smoke. The vehicle with the gas turbine engine is easier to start. Usually, it is a matter of several minutes in comparison with the diesel engine.
In cold conditions, diesel engine needs to warm-up for a substantial amount of time while the gas turbine warms quickly despite the temperature (Walsh and Fletcher 25). At the same time, gas turbine engines require bigger amounts of carried fuel (Mastinu and Ploechl 437).
Overall, it can be seen that according to the goals, sphere and conditions of functioning of the armored vehicles different types of engines may be used. While diesel engines can establish in lighter armored vehicles that need to run a significant number of kilometers, gas turbine engines are suitable for heavy offensive tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.
Dougherty, Martin. Land Warfare: From World War I to the Present Day. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay, 2008. Print.
Jackson, Kay. Armored Vehicles in Action. New York, NY: PowerKids, 2009. Print.
Lee, T. Military Technologies of the World. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2009. Print.
Marshall Cavendish Corporation Staff. How It Works: Science and Technology. New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2003. Print.
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Mastinu, Giampiero, and Manfred Ploechl. Road and Off-road Vehicle System Dynamics Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC, 2014. Print.
Walsh, Philip, and Paul Fletcher. Gas Turbine Performance. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2008. Print.