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Canadian Military Developing Stealth Snowmobile 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the quite-as-the-snow dept.
innocent_white_lamb writes "The Canadian military is currently testing a $620,000 hybrid-electric stealth snowmobile. Testing includes speed, towing capacity, endurance, mobility, usability, and of course, noise emissions. The testing and most other information about the stealth snowmobile is secret and very little information has been released other than the fact that it does exist. One document reads 'The noise level of an internal combustion engine cannot be reduced to an acceptable level for missions where covertness may be required, especially given the increased propagation of sound in cold, dry, Arctic air.' Therefore, National Defence's research agency is 'pursuing the development of a "silent" snowmobile for winter operations in Canada, specifically in the Arctic.' Michael Byers, an Arctic policy expert, questions the need for a stealth snowmobile. 'I don't see a whole lot of evidence that criminals and terrorists are scooting around Canada's North on snowmobiles and that we have to sneak up on them,' he said."
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Canadian Military Developing Stealth Snowmobile

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  • by Dj Stingray (178766) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @07:25PM (#44603357)

    Step 1.

    Paint it white.

    Step 2.

    Have a beer eh!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 18, 2013 @07:26PM (#44603363)
    One of them falls in and sinks. Another one goes in and pulls him back into the boat and starts giving him mouth-to-mouth. He stops and says "Phew! I don't remember Stosh smelling this bad!". And the other one says, "Yeah, and I don't remember him wearing a snowmobile suit, either."
  • by Velex (120469) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @07:28PM (#44603371) Homepage Journal
    I attempt to cross Nunavut in a Range Rover. Captain Slow takes a rather novel approach. And Hammond uses a state of the art stealth /snow mobile/. Tonight on Top Gear. *cue theme*
    • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @07:38PM (#44603421)

      And then halfway through they completely fake the snowmobile failing and spend the rest of the episode poo pooing it over something that never actually happened.

  • Commies to her right, stealth snowmobiles to her left. Does DEFCON go to 11?

  • has been used for arctic warfare for hundreds of years as a cheap, effective way of stealthily moving a snowy environment. Hopefully the stealth sled won't ruin those capabilities.

    • has been used for arctic warfare for hundreds of years as a cheap, effective way of stealthily moving a snowy environment. Hopefully the stealth sled won't ruin those capabilities.

      Presumably they want something faster and with greater cargo capacity(with the expensive-but-punchy missiles you can get these days, a tank-killer wouldn't be out of the question), or with better margins for the contractor. Maybe both.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Plus, you can tow 10 skiers behind a snowmobile. And a dog team seems to meet most of your requirements. Depending on the size of missile you can strap to a dog.
        • Plus, you can tow 10 skiers behind a snowmobile. And a dog team seems to meet most of your requirements. Depending on the size of missile you can strap to a dog.

          In Soviet Russia [wikipedia.org], if you have the dog and the warhead you can skip the missile...

      • by Arker (91948)

        Arctic troops have been dragging anti-tank weapons around on sleds since... well the first time the Russians showed up in Finland with tanks. In the winter war they used a 20mm lahti which weighs about 150lbs with a few rounds of ammo on the sled. Modern anti-tank missile systems like the Spike weigh in the same class or less, and arctic troops are already familiar with transporting them on sleds.

        • I shot a lahti at the Reno machine gun shoot a few years ago.

          Awesome rifle. Huge brass Finnish balls had to interfere with cross country skiing.

      • The Fin's used bicycles to the regret of the oncoming Russians.
        • by Ocker3 (1232550)
          It's not snow-related, but the Japanese used Lots of bicycles to move infantry quickly through certain parts of Asia
      • Cross-country skiing also takes a fair amount of training and practice, and there are going to be times when somebody you need on your team doesn't have either the skill or the time to learn it. Having some quiet way to get them where they need to be sounds like a good idea.
    • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @09:38PM (#44604121) Homepage

      I dunno if you have any experience pulling an ahkio sled for several miles with a squad in rucks and overwhites, but it freaking SUCKS. Tennis rackets or white rockets, it doesn't matter, it is an awful experience. There has been no experience in my life (which has experienced some exhausting things) that made me more exhausted.

      When some Canadian "Arctic policy expert" opines that no one needs a small, quiet, efficient prime mover because of a lack of "terrorists", I am reminded why no one asks "Arctic policy experts" about military matters. Same reason I don't ask soldiers about environmental policy.

      • When some Canadian "Arctic policy expert" opines that no one needs a small, quiet, efficient prime mover because of a lack of "terrorists", I am reminded why no one asks "Arctic policy experts" about military matters.

        I don't think the "policy expert" is arguing against snowmobiles. I think the "policy expert" is questioning the value-for-money of 'stealth' snowmobiles costing a hundred times as much as the regular kind. The number of likely (or even unlikely) missions that can be fulfilled with a $600,000 snowmobile that couldn't be completed with a $6,000 snowmobile seems to be rather small.

        At best, this is an attempted distraction from the current government's utter failure to adequately fund and equip the countr

    • by grcumb (781340) on Monday August 19, 2013 @02:20AM (#44605127) Homepage Journal

      has been used for arctic warfare for hundreds of years as a cheap, effective way of stealthily moving a snowy environment. Hopefully the stealth sled won't ruin those capabilities.

      Not always useful in the Canadian Arctic. Pack ice sometimes extends for miles out to sea. It's a maze of 3-10 metre ridges that are an absolute bitch to navigate. Trying to pull ammo and supplies through on skis would be absolute torture. Hell, just crossing on a snowmobile through the pack ice on each side of the bay in Cape Dorset (maybe a kilometre and a half) left me sweating like a horse in -25 degree weather.

      There's not a lot of pack ice on the old Finnish/Soviet border....

  • All efforts are lost if you're carrying your iPhone on a stealth-snowmobile. (It's a sticker)

  • "Expert" ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arisvega (1414195) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @07:35PM (#44603405)

    Michael Byers, an Arctic policy expert, questions the need for a stealth snowmobile. 'I don't see a whole lot of evidence that criminals and terrorists are scooting around Canada's North on snowmobiles and that we have to sneak up on them,'

    Then Michael Byers is not quite the expert: when the ice cap in the North Pole shrinks or disappears completely, [wikipedia.org] a whole new theater will come into play. Claims have already been filed for integration of the North Arctic Ocean into their exclusive economic zones from several countries, including Canada. [wikipedia.org]

    • That might be why he said 'criminals and terrorists'.

      If the various other disputed aquatic zones are anything to go by, it's a lot of dick waving and diplomatic grandstanding, the occasional shootout between somebody's probably-illegal fishing boat and somebody else's quite-possibly-trigger-happy coast guard, and not too much else.

      There's a first time for everything, of course, but it'd have to be a pretty juicy territorial claim to be worth getting into an actual war over.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Some pretty juicy contracts are floating around too for a new version of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distant_Early_Warning_Line [wikipedia.org]
        http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/darpa-wants-ultimate-technology-sensor-network-monitor-vast-arctic [networkworld.com] (03/20/12)
        "DARPA wants the ultimate technology, sensor network to monitor the vast Arctic"
        Under-ice awareness, surface awareness, unmanned autonomous systems, anti-submarine warfare - guess Canada is doing its part with snowmobile upgrades.
        • And you're gonna be damned glad they have that technology when this new uber-smart network becomes self aware, taps into the local cable feed and decides that it better stomp out the human race before something really bad happens.

          You'll definitely want a stealth snowmobile. Mark my words.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            How about an USV Unmanned Snow Vehicle? They are part of Skynet. The only safe place to be is somewhere without snow. Everyone, to Qatar!.
      • by Immerman (2627577)

        How many of those disputed aquatic zones contain some of the richest untapped oil deposits on the planet? Not to mention extremely lucrative new trade routes.

        Make no mistake, there's going to be some serious guns brought to play in the fight to claim this newly accessible territory, both metaphorical and quite possibly literal.

        • Umm, que joke about not bringing a snowmobile to a gun fight?

        • by dbIII (701233)

          How many of those disputed aquatic zones contain some of the richest untapped oil deposits on the planet?

          We don't actually know because it's difficult to do a marine seismic survey when there is ice getting in the way.

      • Re:"Expert" ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by quantaman (517394) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @08:49PM (#44603849)

        It's not about a war. It's about establishing sovereignty, and to maintain control over a territory you need to be police it.

        The northwest passage is a big issue over whether it's international waters or Canadian waters. Not just because of potential oil drilling or fishing, but shipping is a big issue. It's a lot easier to ensure the shipping is done safely so a ton of oil isn't dumped on our coastline if we can police the waters. Security is also a concern as there's a lot of unpopulated places for smugglers to drop cargo or illegal immigrants.

        A military grade stealth snowmobile is part of the bigger picture, it makes it easier to patrol the territory and search for smugglers or other criminals as well as shows we're taking that part of our territory seriously.

        • by gagol (583737)
          Dude, the Far Canadian North is NOT used for smuggling anything in the country, it is just not economical. You also have to move the stuff to consumer centers. As we speak, you need to transit via Greenland by plane to reach the far north, and you cen expect delays if there is a storm on the way.
          • by grcumb (781340)

            As we speak, you need to transit via Greenland by plane to reach the far north, and you cen expect delays if there is a storm on the way.

            Uh, no [firstair.ca]. We have domestic service. You can get charters to pretty much anywhere in the eastern Arctic from Iqaluit as well.

            Some military flights to CFB Alert do pass through Greenland, but aside from that....

            • by rtb61 (674572)

              So does my brain hurt or are you starting to talk about tracking naughty planes with stealth electric snowmobiles, WHY?

              This sounds more like a designed tender to feed money to an insider family company, already associated with the Canadian government, basically a tender only one company can win and where the research conducted can be used in other areas.

              Seriously $620,000 dollar snowmobiles. OK so say a company of high tech snow mobilers. So say five thirty man platoons, each one needing a snowmobile an

          • by quantaman (517394)

            Dude, the Far Canadian North is NOT used for smuggling anything in the country, it is just not economical.

            Load a pallet of drugs onto a ship. Coast guard can't do anything because it's international waters.

            When the coast is clear send in a smaller boat (or rendezvous with one) and dump it on the shore. Then hire a bunch of guys to ride in on snowmobiles and take it down south.

            If you're shipping enough drugs or other contraband the low risk could make it economical.

        • by steelfood (895457)

          smugglers to drop ... illegal immigrants.

          I'm not sure you thought this all the way through. This is the arctic circle we're talking about, not Vancouver.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Your reading comprehension needs work. People are well aware of that motivation, especially in Canada.

      It still doesn't mean it's an issue usefully addressed by a stealth snowmobile, which was Byers' point. It would make a lot more sense to deploy, say, ice-capable military ships (Canada doesn't really have any, yet), subs that can actually work under ice (the very modest Canadian sub fleet is diesel, and ill-suited for polar work), or long-endurance manned planes and/or aerial drones. The biggest problem

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        They're Canadian carrier-based fighters, but probably without the fighting.

        Considering the sheer size of Canada's thermally-hostile northern regions, patrolling a territory with anything ground-based is impractical because of the amount of space to cover, and patrolling from the air leaves too long a delay between seeing something suspicious and being able to investigate it. What's effective is a combined force, using aircraft to survey the landscape for anything suspicious, and using ground craft for targe

        • by mirix (1649853)

          This is the same army that isn't equipped with enough parkas and the like to monitor the north.

          Besides that, it's just too bloody big and cold to effectively monitor. Canada and the US can't even secure the southern border well, it's much shorter, has civilization, better weather.

          The biggest island up there is 3/4 the size of texas, with 10k population total (with over two thirds of that in one town). That works out to one person per every 20 square miles, if they were distributed evenly. In the middle of n

      • It seems likely that the stealth snowmobile would only be used for the last leg of any journey, or at least you wouldn't need the stealth mode until you got rather close. I can easily see a mission plan that has the team fly in from wherever's appropriate, land outside of any possible observation and use the snowmobile with stealth off (for greater speed) until they're almost close enough to be heard, then turn on the stealth for the final approach. In fact, it might be a case of several regular snowmobil
    • by Stoutlimb (143245)

      I think that's why he failed. He's just an Arctic policy expert. Snowmobiles are excellent vehicles in any place where snow falls... and in Canadian winters, that's just about freakin' everywhere. It's not about the Arctic, this is about being able to fight a war in the wintertime better than anyone else can. Afghanistan gets snow in the winter, and snowmobiles get to drive just about anywhere, so avoid roadside bombs. They could have been very useful in Afghan winters for swift strike teams. If it s

    • by D1G1T (1136467)
      For which the players will need ships not snowmobiles.
  • I guess they painted it white and put a muffler on it. :D

    Well, if you wanted it quiet, I don't think a muffler would really do it.
    I suspect you'd have to put in a completely different engine.
    I'm not giving a large probability to a pure electric for two reasons:
    . . First, most batteries don't seem to do that well in the really cold environments. You know, like Canada and Alaska, among many others.
    . . Second, batteries, especially ones designed for really cold places, just wouldn't give it much range, which w
    • Probably end up with a small internal combustion engine generator of some sort feeding and electric motor. Shouldn't be too hard to muffle the noise if you can keep the RPMs down to a reasonable range. I'm not sure how you block the IR signature. Any combustion based motor is going to bright lite a FLIR system. Maybe the Canadians will get clever - use it to heat beer* (or is that just the English?).

      *Beer is consumed, IR blocked by body and whatever insulation the human is wearing. Added bonus is that

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        In the snow, it would be easily identifiable on FLIR with a battery/electric system and a human sitting on it. In a snowmobile, the tread throwing snow on the radiator helps cool it, so long use on a packed trail could cause over-heating. The same thing could be considered for a stealth machine. Have it kick up snow to cover the engine, exhaust, and rider, so there's always an insulating covering of snow, which would go far in hiding one from FLIR. I've not ever messed with one, but my understanding is
      • "I'm not sure how you block the IR signature"

        Probably the same way aircraft deal with limiting their thermal signature, they pull in air and mix it with their jet exhaust. I believe they also try to extend some bulkheads or cowlings over the engines to prevent them, or the exhaust immediately exiting the engine, from being directly seen. And not that I particular like the hybrid-electric rig for a snowmobile, but pairing a rather small but efficient electric generator (running gas/diesel/kerosene/etc) wit

  • After the dual poutine cannons find their mark, targets will feel sluggish and satisfied. Canuck tech rules the globe.
  • Paint it white....just don't you canucks forget where you park it.
  • Canada has concerns about protecting the sovereignty of its arctic territories. Snowmobiles could prove useful in that.

    Battle for the Arctic heats up [www.cbc.ca]
    Defending our sovereignty in the Arctic [ucalgary.ca]
    Why everyone wants a piece of the Arctic [macleans.ca]

  • You don't poke a turd without getting shit on your finger,

  • What will be said is, "Sooo, you didn't hear us coming, sorry, eh."
  • ... the Canadian Armed Forces have undertaken a $2.5 million dollar (CDN) program to develop a tuque not visible from space.

  • by XB-70 (812342) on Sunday August 18, 2013 @10:18PM (#44604299)
    April Fool's is actually celebrated August 18th in Canada.
  • A hybrid-electric snowmobile seems a bit excessive if you're just trying to make it more stealthy. Switching up from a two cycle to a four cycle, adding some soundproofing and extending the muffler system would make one pretty quiet but not cost much as most of it would be off the shelf tech and would probably extend the range by using a more efficient engine and keeping the weight low. You're going to lose a bit of performance but that is always to be expected when going for stealth.

  • I mean we're canadians we should have the best damn snowmobiles for our army money could by, i'd rather spend the cash on that than those crappy jets the US is pushing on us or spending the money sending our people to some 3rd world shit hole helping solve problems created by americans

  • They wouldn't even have to ask twice.

  • Snowmobiles are irritatingly noisy. for homeowners in Arctic regions, for animals in their native habitats, for hunters or photographers exploring those regions, and even for kids and hobbyists tooling around for fun, reducing the noise impact of snowmobiles would be very useful. A much quieter snowmobile would have a ready market, as long as it wasn't ridiculously expensive.

    That raises the question of "Why isn't there already a privately built such vehicle?". Do they face the problem we in IT constantly se

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Monday August 19, 2013 @10:11AM (#44607027)

    After Spectre or whoever heisted their Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve [slashdot.org] last year, it only makes sense to beef up their military. To do any less would be irresponsible.

    After all, next time it might be C.O.B.R.A. Make sure to load those snowmobiles with parachutes.

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