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UK Army Testing Electric Motorbikes for Military Airdrops

The British Army is currently testing the tactical advantages of its new Sur-Ron Firefly electric motorcycle, which will reportedly be included in military airdrops with paratroopers.

Featuring peak power of around six kilowatts, the lightweight and stealthy electric motorbike produces much lower sound and heat signatures than gas-powered motorcycles, making it suitable for military operations in hostile environments.

The Firefly can travel at a maximum speed of 40 to 45 miles (65 to 72 kilometers) per hour and is built with long-travel suspension and trail tires for rugged off-road riding.

The 47-kilogram (103-pound) motorbike is equipped with upgradable belt kits, allowing the drive chain to be made of a quieter carbon-fiber-reinforced belt for sound reduction.

Developers gave the electric motorcycle a lightweight design for parachute drops from planes and helicopters.

‘Need for Air Portability’

British Air Assault Brigade Captain Dan Lauder told American news site Elektrek that the Sur-Ron Firefly trials will provide a better understanding of the electric bike’s military advantages and how the British army could employ them on ground-based missions.

He added that the exercises conducted in France could help the service identify the potential implications for allowing the bikes to operate along with other in-service vehicles.

“One of the main reasons that we are interested in using motorbikes is because of the need for air portability and, in particular, airdrop,” Lauder asserted. “The good thing about such a small vehicle is that you can get it in the back of helicopters, you can undersling it from a helicopter, you can get several in the back of a plane, and then also, potentially you’d be able to drop it from the back of a plane under a parachute.”

In addition to addressing the need for air portability within the military, the captain stressed that the new vehicle would provide the service with improved strategic mobility. The motorbike can reportedly go “quite far, quite quickly, and relatively easy.”

‘Gaining Increased Military Attention’

Last month, the UAE Special Operations Command demonstrated how a pair of electric motorcycles can be side-mounted on a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter using an external stores support system.

Aside from the UK and UAE, several nations have reportedly integrated electric motorbikes into their paratrooper and special forces units. According to iNews, the armed forces of Denmark and another NATO member have tested high-powered electric bicycles for tactical use.

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