Is there a better badge to show the intellectual collapse of The West than the idea, from a NATO chief, that we should put solar panels on battlefield tanks? One hundred years from now, there will be a stage in the collapse of civilization called the “Solar powered battle tank” phase. An idea so radioactively stupid that any science writer’s first question is “is this satire?”
Apart from the whole power to weight ratio non-starter, there is the problem of night time and rainy-day warfare, camoflaging a shiny surface, and the general vulnerability of glass and electronics in a situation known to “have bullets”.
Not only are these Solar Powered Tanks at risk of being immobilized by a stray shot, they could be struck down with a paint bomb.
Another day in Fall of the West
Thomas Harding, National News
The Nato chief [Jens Stoltenberg] suggested that militaries should advance research into low-emitting vehicles because of the advantages they bring, at an online seminar titled New Ideas for Nato 2030.
“Nato should do its part to look into how we can reduce emissions from military operations,” he told the Chatham House event. “We know that heavy battle tanks or fighter jets and naval ships consume a lot of fossil fuel and emit greenhouse gases and therefore we have to look into how we can reduce those emissions by alternative fuels, solar panels or other ways of running our missions.”
The carbon emissions from a 60-tonne US Abrams main battle tank are calculated to be the equivalent of 10 Mercedes-Benz cars.
Jaime Carrasco: The Russians and Chinese would love that.
Nick DuCate: How woke do you need to be to suggest “zero-emissions warfare”?
Payal Hindu says “What next … “biodegradable nuclear weapons ?”
Jon Salero: The worlds first sail-powered aircraft carrier coming right up…
EEF [describes Jens Stoltenberg as] “A Labour Party Norwegian who lives in a country with no sunshine 1/3 of the year, geographically some of the most inimical to tank warfare and possesses some of the greatest oil reserves on earth.” [Shows video of Putin dissolving into laughter].
To solve supply line issues, surely the answer is — find more fossil fuels on your own land.
If the aim is a greener military, the answer is — a/ go nuclear (where possible), and b/ get a new commander in chief.
In Stoltenberg’s defense, (if that’s not abusing the word defense any more than he already has) he’s probably not talking about pure solar powered tanks but a kind of Hybrid Tank and while his aim is unmistakably “climate warfare” (how evil are those Mercedes Benz?), he argues that it would also reduce the need and risk of supply lines. Given that tank MPG is about half a mile per gallon on a country road, the sheer wattage required to move a 60 ton object makes the “savings” in the order of 0.2% of total requirements or so. It’s not clear the benefits are even measurable on the same scale as the costs of complexity, components, and failure rates.
Willis Eschenbach calculates: 1 gal. diesel = ~ 40 kWh. Solar panel, ~ 1 kWh per day. Solar panel ~ 17 sq. ft. You MIGHT fit four on an M1 tank. Plus 4 Tesla Powerwall batteries, 1/2 a ton. Every 10 days you could move your tank 0.6 miles … in summer.
Stoltenberg is not the only military man trying to go green. The Truman Centre in the US argues the military should not be so reliant on fossil fuels:
The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of fuel in the world, accounting for 2% of our nation’s petroleum use and 93% of the U.S. government’s energy use. For every $10 rise in the price of oil, the Department of Defense must come up with an extra $1.3 billion annually, which must be diverted from training, maintenance, and other mission-essential items in the DoD budget. That means our reliance on oil directly threatens the readiness of our troops.
Best way to reduce emissions in the military is to have such a big military in such a powerful economy that you never have to fight a war. Burn those fossil fuels!