The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is investing in a research project to make use of the potential of the latest technologies for application in future ground combat vehicles.

The objective of the project is to explore the latest innovations in vehicle technologies to deliver enhanced capabilities to the British Armed Forces.

QinetiQ will lead the effort and work in partnership with Cranfield University, Williams Advanced Engineering, Horstman Defence Systems, MIRA, Contract Innovation, and Catalyst.

The project will study the potential of electric drive systems for ground vehicle mobility. It will also look at possible integration of the technologies with existing systems used by the UK Forces.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will fund the research project with an investment of £3.2m.

Dstl chief executive Gary Aitkenhead said: “We are working in partnership with QinetiQ to deliver a three-year programme, which will move from concept studies to prototype testing in a real-world environment. This project will help ensure we have the best ground fleet ever.”

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The MoD intends to bridge the performance gap between wheeled and tracked vehicles in terms of mobility.

The project will serve as a step in this direction by studying advanced running gear solutions for wheeled manned and autonomous vehicle platforms.

QinetiQ will look to combine the running gear with its in-wheel electric hub drive technology to achieve improved armoured vehicle design.

This approach is intended to enhance operational and tactical mobility of the future fleet, while also delivering benefits in the form of enhanced survivability and fuel efficiency.

A QinetiQ spokesperson said: “QinetiQ has supported UK Defence for decades, channelling the expertise of our engineers, scientists and many employees who have, themselves, served on the front line.

“This knowledge has enabled us to develop solutions such as our electric hub drive technology, which can truly change the way we operate on the battlefield and enable the use of power-demanding payloads, bringing added benefits to capability and the wider mission.”

Under the first phase of the project, the team will work on studies, concepts and modelling. This phase will run for one year.

The next phase will focus on prototyping and testing, and validating the benefits of the system in a real-world setting.