British troops to use e-bikes to sneak up on enemy

Army inspired by Ukraine’s example after soldiers attacked Russian tanks usin e-bikes during early days of invasion

Maanya Sachdeva
Wednesday 19 July 2023 10:49 BST
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The British army is trialling battery-powered bikes to gain a tactical advantage on the battlefield, following Ukraine’s example in its war against Russia.

During the early days of the invasion, Ukrainian troops attacked Russian tanks using Delfast e-bikes that have a range of around 200 kilometres.

Now, British soldiers are experimenting with using Carl Gustaf shoulder-fired rifles from a £6,500 electric bike called the Stealth H-52, that would enable fighters to attack the enemy undetected.

The Stealth H-52 can reach a maximum speed of 80km/h or 50mph, has a range of 60 kilometres, and its handlebars are fitted with gun carriers. Most importantly, these off-road bikes can be recharged on the battlefield

The use of the bike was demonstrated by soldiers last week, during a multi-domain immersive showcase of military equipment and capabilities at Lulworth Range in Dorset.

The Stealth H-52 was reportedly displayed at the Defence and Security Exhibition International arms exhibition in London two years ago, where several off-road, battery-powered “combat bikes” were presented to special forces clients.

The army has previously also tested the quieter Sur-Ron Firefly electric motorcycle for parachute drops, in a bid to becoming more agile and avoid being detected by the enemy.

The long-awaited Defence Command Paper was published by the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday (18 July), as the government set out how it will reinforce the country’s armed forces.

The Stealth H-52 bike
The Stealth H-52 bike (Stealth Electric Bikes)

The defence ministry said it would invest an additional £2.5bn “in our munitions and stockpiles through the coming decade” and highlighted the need to prioritise investments in science and technology to modernise forces.

The updated defence command paper also confirmed the ministry’s plans to reduce troop numbers from 82,000 to 73,000 by 2025 – its smallest size ever.

The Labour has said the outgoing defence secretary Ben Wallace’s plans “are not a good enough response to war in Europe”.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey in parliament said Mr Wallace “must explain if he is pledging new money for stockpiles or these are funds already announced”.

He added: “The British army is being cut to its smallest size since Napoleon and there is still no plan to ensure our Nato obligations are fulfilled in full.”

Mr Wallace has defended the cuts, explaining the troops must also be well-equipped with artillery.

“If it’s going to be a battle group, are you going to buy 300 armoured vehicles or am I just going to give them a pitchfork? I mean, that’s the choice.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in