Military Engines

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Overview Military Engines
By Staff Writer Last updated: February 21st, 2024

Military Vehicle Engines

Engines convert chemical energy in fuel into mechanical energy, and are used to power almost all military vehicles operating on land, at sea or in the air.

Tracked and wheeled military land vehicles, such as tanks, armored personnel carriers and trucks, are commonly powered by petrol or diesel internal combustion piston engines. Some may use multifuel engines that allow for versatile refueling with whatever can be found in the area of operations. A few tanks also utilize gas turbine engines, which use high-temperature pressurized gas to drive the transmission.

Military Aircraft Engines

Military aircraft may use reciprocating or piston engines, which are very similar in principle to the automotive versions. They may also use turboprop or turboshaft engines, which harness the output of gas turbines to drive a propeller. Fighter jet aircraft engines use the thrust from hot compressed air and burning fuel to propel the aircraft. Military helicopters typically use turboshaft engines.

Naval Vessel Propulsion

Naval boats and vessels use a variety of marine propulsion systems. Small vessels such as RHIBs and light patrol and assault boats will typically be powered by marine diesel engines. Larger vessels, including warships such as frigates and corvettes, may use hybrid engines that combine diesel, gas turbine, and electric propulsion methods in various ways. Some of these systems include

  • CODOG – combined diesel or gas
  • CODLAD – combined diesel-electric and diesel
  • CODLAG – combined diesel-electric and gas

Some large vessels such as aircraft carriers and battle cruisers may use nuclear reactors.

Submarine Engines

Submarines are usually powered either by diesel-electric engines or nuclear engines. Diesel-electric engines work normally when the submarine is near the surface, and charge up batteries for use when the vessel submerges and has no access to oxygen. Submarine engines must run extremely quietly in order to make the vessel hard to detect.