British soldiers may be getting a new type of military vehicle, only this time it will come with just two wheels. According to top brass, rocket launchers mounted on electric bikes could soon be headed for the British Armed Forces.
The idea isn’t altogether new. In fact, Ukraine has shown great success using fast, high-powered electric bikes to get anti-tank missiles into position and disable Russian tanks.
It’s just one of several Ukrainian tactics that the British Army has declared it will be considering adopting for its own troops.
The news was announced by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin during the launch of a review of UK military tactics and spending priorities based on the conflict in Ukraine.
The announcement included examples of Ukrainian soldiers using Delfast electric bikes in combat roles.
Delfast e-bikes are produced locally in Ukraine and feature functional pedals allowing them to push their range to over 200 miles (320 km). However, they can also be operated in purely electric mode without having to pedal. When operated with their performance limits removed, they have enough speed and power to border on electric dirt bike territory.
A hand throttle means that riders can use the pedals as foot rests when necessary, focusing instead on maintaining speed and navigating tricky terrain.
That throttle allows the bikes to reach speeds as high as 50 mph (80 km/h).
Their long travel suspension and ability to carry heavy loads has made them particularly useful for navigating forested trails or overlanding when trails are nonexistent.
The bikes used by Ukrainian defenders have been modified to carried NLAW rockets, or Next Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapons, which are specially designed to allow a single operator to destroy an enemy tank.
The rockets are designed to be human-portable and carried by infantry, but the 28 lb. (12.5 kg) weapon is much easier to haul over long distances when carried on the back of an electric bike.
Electric bikes and e-motorcycles have been tested by several armed forces around the world and seen active duty use in several occasions.
The US military has been testing electric mopeds built in North Carolina by Huck Cycles for tactical use.
Patrol duties were also tested by the New Zealand Defense Forces in 2020 when they began trialing UBCO’s electric utility bikes.
Back in 2018 we learned that Norway’s armed forces were testing fat-tire electric bicycles in their own border guard patrols.
Australian soldiers have been trialing stealth electric bikes since 2021, and we also saw the first application of helicopter-mounted electric motorcycles during the same year in an application designed for quick insertion of special operators on low-signature electric dirt bikes.
Multiple special forces units in Europe and the Middle East have also tested high-power electric mountain bikes for field use, with paratroopers even air-dropping electric dirt bikes onto the battlefield.
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