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What’s so funny about a hybrid howitzer?

Editorial, Portland Oregonian
Presumably, the United States will be less likely to be accused of going to war for oil

A rmy green is more than a uniform color scheme — it’s the future of military vehicle technology. The Army is preparing to roll out the first of its next-generation hybrid vehicles, which will be a 155 mm, self-propelled howitzer, or short-barreled cannon.

Nobody will confuse it with a Prius.

But like a Prius, the howitzer will be powered by a fuel-electric drive train that switches back and forth between battery and liquid fuel, depending on the need of the moment. The military hybrid is a diesel-electric version.

After the howitzer, the Army and Marines have plans to introduce an entire range of hybrid vehicles, from Humvees to tactical trucks. The services aren’t doing this out of a sense of civic virtue, but because they like the advantages that hybrid military vehicles can confer. They can run silently, if necessary; they can maneuver more nimbly at low speeds; the vehicles’ electrical systems can be used in place of portable generators; and the fuel-cell process that creates hydrogen can even provide drinkable water in a pinch.
(1 February 2008)

Airbus A380 Completes Alternative Fuel Test Flight

Edited press release, Airbus via Dow Jones
An Airbus A380 aircraft has successfully completed the world’s first ever flight by a commercial aircraft using a liquid fuel processed from gas (Gas to Liquids – GTL), Airbus said Friday.

The flight was in the first stage of a test flight program to evaluate the environmental impact of alternative fuels in the airline market. The flight from Filton, U.K. to Toulouse, France, lasted three hours. It was piloted by Hugues van-der-Stichel and Frank Chapman.

… The A380 was chosen because the aircraft is already the environmental benchmark in air travel. It has four engines including segregated fuel tanks making it ideal for engine shut down and re-light tests under standard evaluation conditions. During the flight, engine number one was fed with a blend of GTL and jet fuel whilst the remaining three were fed with standard jet fuel.

This is the first step of a long-term Airbus testing phase to evaluate viable and sustainable alternative fuels for the future. GTL could be available at certain locations to make it a practical and viable drop-in alternative fuel for commercial aviation in the short term.
(1 February 2008)
Similar report in French.