The electric bike, one of the most innovative acquisitions by the British Special Forces in recent years, generates no heat signature or noise for enemy surveillance equipment to track. Called Zero, the bike can be parachuted into action. It will be used by Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) soldiers.
It needs no maintenance and is powered by lithium batteries, which can be recharged by solar power during extended periods of deployment. Initially developed for US Special Forces by a California-based company, the bike is already in service with the US Navy Seals and Delta force who have deployed it in the Middle East.
Motorbikes have been in service with the SAS and SBS for more than 25 years and have been used to great effect in recent operations inside Syria, as well as in the UK where undercover soldiers use them in covert counter-terror operations.
“This will allow us to operate further into the enemy’s backyard ”; Senior special forces source
In Afghanistan, SAS troops deployed in the hunt for Taliban commanders as part of a unit known as Task Force 42 used motorbikes to cover rough terrain but had to call in airdrops to re-supply them with fuel and spare parts, restricting their range and use.
According to the Zero bike’s manufacturer, the machine’s sealed engine, which has a brushless motor spinning at 4,300rpm, should never need any maintenance. If the engine is hit by a blast, it can be simply replaced with a new direct fit pack.
A senior special forces source said: “This bike is the start of a new generation of silent equipment that embraces electric engines – no noise, no emissions, no heat signature and most important no worry about stopping or sourcing fuel. This will allow us to operate further into the enemy’s backyard without giving any indication we are in the area. It will be a major asset in counter-terror ops in the UK where we may need to make a silent approach or just operate for long hours without fuel.”