Home » Ford Sells A Jet Fuel-Powered Ranger Truck With A Secret ‘Stealth Mode’

Ford Sells A Jet Fuel-Powered Ranger Truck With A Secret ‘Stealth Mode’

Jet Fuel Ranger Ts3
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The Ford Ranger is a capable off-roader that can handle all kinds of tough conditions. However, for special customers, Ford sells a very special version. It’s even more rugged, it’s got a secret stealth ability, and it can run on jet fuel. Not even kidding.

The Ford FG-P is sold by the company’s Global Fleet Sales arm. It’s a “tactical” version of the Ford Ranger, designed more for aid, security, or military applications rather than on-road use. It doesn’t look that wildly different from a regular Ranger, but it’s capability set is built to make it ideal for difficult missions in far-flung locales.

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But enough about that—let’s get back to the jet fuel. We’re forever being told to put the correct fuel in our vehicles, lest the Car Gods (TM) reign great wrath down upon us. So let’s dive into how Ford got this thing running on the smell of a jet-fuelly rag. I’ll even tell you all about the stealth drive mode as a treat. Let’s go!

Fg P Light Tactical Vehicle Blackout Feature
Being difficult to see with the lights off is a key feature of the Ford FG-P. As Chief Wiggum might say—”it’s a ghost car!”

Multi-fueling

While the Ranger isn’t sold with a diesel engine in America, Ford happily supplies a number of diesel drivetrains in other markets. For the FG-P, however, Ford outfitted the truck with a version of its 2.0-liter Panther turbodiesel engine, also known as the EcoBlue in some markets. Ford designed road-going versions of the Panther engine to meet stringent Euro 4 emissions standards, and above. That meant the engine required some modification in order to let it run on alternative fuels.

At the most basic level, diesel engines don’t have a big problem running on jet fuels like JP-8, or F-63. The fuels are similar enough in combustion performance that they can work. Jet fuels are more similar to diesel than gasoline, or petrol as it’s called in the rest of the world. Gasoline tends to want to explode and detonate under the heat and pressures seen in a compression ignition engine. Kerosene-based jet fuel, like diesel, is happy to ignite under high compression while burning at a comfortable pace without detonation.

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Screenshot 2024 06 14 172002
Ford’s 2.0-liter diesel tops out around 170 horsepower. A few mods are enough to let this thing run on jet fuel.

Indeed, it’s for this reason that JP-8 jet fuel became key to NATO’s “Single Fuel Concept” in the 1980s. The military alliance sought to standardize things, mandating that a single fuel would be used for all land-based aircraft, vehicles, and equipment.  JP-8, known in NATO as F-34 fuel, was chosen as a suitable replacement for both diesel and the troublesome JP-4 jet fuel.

When it comes to compression ignition engines, the important figure is the fuel’s cetane number. Think of it like an octane rating, but for diesel-like fuels. It all comes down to ignition delay—the time between the compression ignition of the fuel, and the first detectable pressure increase. Fuels with a lower cetane number effectively take longer to burn, while the reverse is true for higher numbers.

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Fuel figures from the Department of Energy.
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The department used a complicated apparatus to measure differences in combustion between JP-8 jet fuel and standard diesel fuel.
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In these shadowgraphs taken using the apparatus above, we can see the diesel fuel begins to ignite sooner than the JP-8 fuel. This is evidenced by the growing transparent area which appears around the 1500 us mark.

As quantified by the Department of Energy, conventional diesel generally has a cetane number somewhere between 40 and 50 in the US. Premium diesel products in Europe have begun to push up to the 60-70 range, with their faster combustion better suited to high-performance applications. JP-8 typically comes in around 38—worse than modern highway diesel, but not especially so.

Many a diesel engine will happily burn JP-8 or regular diesel without complaint. The burning is the easy part. The hard part is getting the fuel into the combustion chamber in the first place. Modern fuel pumps, injectors, and common-rail fuel systems typically rely on the lubricity of diesel fuel for smooth operation. JP-8 and other jet fuels can lack this property, which can see high-pressure fuel pumps seize and fail in short order. Water that may be present in poorly-stored jet fuel can also pose problems.

A study run by the Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania illuminates this phenomenon clearly. Researchers found that running Jet A fuel through the fuel system of a Bosch-type high-pressure fuel pump caused excessive wear and a loss of pump capacity over time.

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Modern diesels also have a further problem thanks to emissions equipment. Diesel particulate filters and catalytic converters can quickly become clogged from contaminants in JP-8 fuel that aren’t present in highway diesel fuel. Exhaust gas recirculation systems can also see acid build-up from burning JP-8, which causes corrosion and clogging of the system.

Ford got around this by reconfiguring the Panther diesel for multi-fuel use. In the FG-P, the engine has a catless exhaust system with no diesel particulate filters fitted, either. It’s had its ECU recalibrated to allow it to run properly on alternative fuel. The EGR system has been mostly deleted and the relevant ports blocked off. The EGR cooler remains, though, it receives no exhaust flow and is essentially vestigial. The ECU is also programmed not to throw codes from the lack of EGR. Ford doesn’t make specific mention of any special modifications to the fuel pump, injectors, or other parts of the fuel system. However, it does offer a fuel cooler option for hot climate operation, to avoid issues with the low viscosity of JP-8 or F-63 fuels at higher ambient temperatures.

Stealth Mode and Other Upgrades

The other big exciting thing about the Ford FG-P is its stealth capabilities. It has a blackout system which turns off all vehicle lighting and all sound sources. That’s to stop Private Terrance from accidentally spoiling your mission when he leans over for his soda and elbows the horn button.

Blkout

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Fg P Light Tactical Vehicle Interior Blackout Features
All those lights turn off when blackout mode is enabled.

However, Ford didn’t stop there. It also equipped the FG-P with a highly-unique electric drive system. It’s not a properly-integrated hybrid system like you might see on a road-going truck. Instead, it’s a completely separate electric motor system that powers the rear wheels only. To engage it, the vehicle must be at a complete stop with the transmission in neutral. It runs off its own battery, and depending on the size chosen, the FG-P can travel anywhere from 1.2 to 18.6 miles (2 to 30 km) in silent mode. You won’t be going fast, as top speed is just 12 mph. However, you’ll have the benefit of generating no heat signature from the combustion engine, and virtually no noise. That could really save your bacon.

The truck also comes with suspension upgrades, which takes the gross vehicle mass up to 7,700 pounds. It also strengthens the suspension for rugged driving, such as you might be doing if you’re fleeing or chasing enemies over sand dunes or something. Ford notes the upgrade offers “enhanced handling and long-term durability under heavy loads and extreme driving conditions.” Basically, it’s built to hang together if someone’s possibly going to shoot at you and you need to leave, fast. 

Fg P Light Tactical Vehicle Roof Rack

Fg P Light Tactical Vehicle Side Step
The accessories are tasteful yet rugged.

Ultimately, the Ford FG-P doesn’t look like a whole lot. There are a million more lifted pickups out there with ridiculous “military-inspired” mods. What Ford built here was a truck that was actually built to handle real light tactical duties. It’s a worthy note to us all that function is more important than form in some contexts.

Image credits: Ford

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CEVette
CEVette
21 days ago

I love how everyone wants to save the environment…..until they want a diesel to be reliable like they were 10-15 years ago when there was no exhaust after-treatment.
Funny how governments can bypass emissions controls on vehicles, but get caught doing that as a private citizen and it is huge fines and jail time.
Meanwhile, I can be towing my 5th wheel and if the computer detects the slightest thing wrong with the DPF or DEF system……it will literally cripple the truck and limit top speed to 5mph.
I am all for a clean environment, and I do not wish to “roll coal” but ask any diesel mechanic and they will tell you how detrimental some of the emission controls have been to light diesel reliability and engine life span.
This is not seen to the same degree n European countries where the diesel fuel is cleaner and has higher cetane ratings.

Tacet
Tacet
25 days ago

Meh, a buddy used to work for a plant nursery over the holidays years ago that had a jet fuel powered Defender.

Basically to keep the plants alive over winter the greenhouses were heated from an oil boiler, a cold snap happened the the boiler burnt through the fuel faster than was expected and the fuel delivery was over a week away. Buddy was sent to go buy enough 25 litre kerosene cans to last until the delivery, using the nursery’s site only no MOT exMoD Defender 127.

He gets there and loads the back up with cans of kerosene but the thing dies on the way back (one of the reasons for not being MOT road legal, no fuel gauge, amongst other things). This being rural in early 2000’s no mobile to call for help so he just fills it up with the kerosene and drives back to the nursery.

Car Guy
Car Guy
27 days ago

“you’ll have the benefit of generating no heat signature from the combustion engine”…

Help me understand this scenario. You drive on diesel or jet fuel until you are less than 6km from your mission point, then turn off the engine and wait around in enemy territory for a few hours for it to cool, then go in using electric power? Or you only do stealth missions that are within walking distance of your home base?

Lally Singh
Lally Singh
25 days ago
Reply to  Car Guy

Yeah, you need the engine to cool down. Perhaps a way to keep the cooling system running after engine shutoff would’ve been nice. But drive in the morning, park in the shade, and it’ll be cool by dark. You probably want to stage somewhere relatively close to where you’re going in. Else driving for an hour in full armor and weapons may give people advance notice from friends with phones.

Sean Ward
Sean Ward
27 days ago
Cam.man67
Cam.man67
27 days ago

Damn…I love this so much. I need one. I wonder how much likes red diesel? Asking for a friend.

Angry Bob
Angry Bob
27 days ago

OMG I WANT THIS TRUCK WHY DON’T THEY SELL IT TO THE PUBLIC?!?!

Lally Singh
Lally Singh
25 days ago
Reply to  Angry Bob

Because the public can do better than JP8?

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
27 days ago

How many people saw the title, mentally autocorrected it to a jet POWERED Rsnger, and got really excited?

Just me?

Oh well…

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
27 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Not just you. I was trying to figure out how a jet powered truck could be silent and look so normal, I was definitely picturing a bed mounted jet engine and was disappointed to see that was not what we were talking about.

Cyko9
Cyko9
27 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Thunder Machine!

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
27 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Add me to the missing Fuel part too LOL

B P
B P
27 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Well, Bell Helicopter has made a JetRanger for quite a few years now… 😉

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
27 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Nothing is impossible.

Clear_prop
Clear_prop
27 days ago

But does it come with a 50 cal mount in the bed?

Asking for a friend.

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
28 days ago

Cetane number is functionally the inverse of octane number – fuels with a high octane number (or a low cetane number) are resistant to auto-ignition (self-igniting in a high temperature environment when mixed with air but absent an ignition source), while low-octane (high-cetane) are easily ignitable at high temperatures in air.

High octane reduces pre-ignition (knock) in SI engines since the fuel is typically mixed either before the intake stroke (carbureted or port-fuel-injected) or during/right after the intake stroke (direct-injected) and gets heated up by the compression stroke, but needs to resist ignition until the correct time as dictated by the firing of the spark plug. Even then, the early combustion flame kernel has to propagate outward, not just auto-ignite the rest of the mixture to avoid damaging the engine. High compression ratio and boost make the need for higher octane even greater, because the in-cylinder conditions near top-dead-center get hotter as you compress more mass to a greater extent.

High cetane is helpful for diesels because they typically do not want appreciable ignition delay – the fuel injection event itself (and subsequent fuel-air mixing process) is the ignition timing mechanism. Any delay after the ignition event will cause a larger ignition spike of a more pre-mixed fuel-air gas (since the fuel that was injected in the earliest part of the injection would have more time to mix before igniting). This pre-mixed spike causes higher peak cylinder pressures, increases engine-out NOx that needs to be cleaned up in the catalysts, and is primarily responsible for the distinct “clattery” sound of diesel engines.

Nic Periton
Nic Periton
28 days ago

I once had a ZiL that ran on pretty much anything, Paraffin,petrol, diesel or vodka, it did not care. Unlike many vehicles that are described as being built like a tank, it actually was. They were constructed for Soviet diplomats in a tank factory! It’s UK registration plate was KGB 2. KGB 1 was on an olive drab Lada Neva with a big red star on the bonnet. Their original owner lived in an isolated farm called Moscow.

MrLM002
MrLM002
28 days ago

Instead, it’s a completely separate electric motor system that powers the rear wheels only.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have it power the front wheels?

Get rid of the transfer case, have redundant drivetrains (one direct drive off of the engine, the other powered by electricity generated by the engine and a small battery pack), and in doing so have a lighter setup than whatever Ford hodge podged together.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
28 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Maybe, but it’s probably easier to slap it on the rear axle where there’s more room. Putting it up front would likely require reworking where a lot of underhood components sit and that would make this significantly less similar to the standard truck, meaning more expensive and harder to work on.

MrLM002
MrLM002
27 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I doubt it. You just have a small electric motor direct drive the front axle of a 4WD Ranger, and you use the rear axle and transmission setup of a RWD Ranger, with the battery pack of a Ranger Hybrid.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
27 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

Oh ok I see what you’re saying. Would it not then lose the 4WD capability though? I feel like if there was ever a truck that it made sense to need 4WD it’s this.

MrLM002
MrLM002
27 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

No, it would still be 4WD, you’d just have 3 drive mode options.

Electric only (FWD)

ICE only (RWD)

ICE and Electric (4WD)

While not 4WD in the traditional sense I wouldn’t call it AWD because unlike most AWD systems worst case you have two driven wheels (provided both diffs lack locking mechanisms) whereas with most AWD cars worst case all your power gets sent to the wheel with the least amount of traction.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
27 days ago
Reply to  MrLM002

But then you’re draining the battery in 4WD which would limit your stealth mode range. My guess is here that the battery does not get any juice from the ICE and is not integrated at all so your system would work, but sounds much more complex and expensive than having 2 totally separate powertrains like they did here.

MrLM002
MrLM002
27 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Not necessarily, the engine (if properly designed) should generate enough power to run the electric motor at full tilt and any external lights and other sources of electric draw, the battery is there as a buffer (like what a UPS is for computers) and when you need to be stealthy you run in battery electric only mode which is FWD. Not to mention regenerative braking provided by the front wheels when in ICE only (RWD) mode. Since all traditional RWD based 4WD vehicles run in RWD only when on pavement it will be a good place for the battery to recharge (if necessary) via regenerative braking.

Right now with what is described in the article it sounds like they have one drivetrain, with an electric motor hodge-podged somewhere into the rear part of the drivetrain.

MrLM002
MrLM002
27 days ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

If the motor is bolted onto the rear diff, where does the rear driveshaft bolt to?

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
28 days ago

Who’s going to be the first to swap the Panther engine into a Panther body? 4 Cyl turbodiesel jet fuel Crown Vic anyone??

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
28 days ago

Too bad they don’t sell these to private citizens. I really need a truck to compliment my tactical fanny pack when I’m taking the kiddo’s to Legoland.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
27 days ago

Don’t forget you tactical water bottle and tactical flip flops!

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
28 days ago

Like many people, I suppose, I imagined jet fuel to be some kind of exotic space age concoction similar to nitromethane. I was surprised and disappointed when I learned it was essentially just kerosene with additives to prevent icing and corrosion.

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
28 days ago

Yeah and actually a 12v Cummins like I have can actually run on Kerosene but it is not smart to run on it unless adding additional lubrication such as a cetane booster or two stroke oil. Which I actually add a cetane booster to my tank when filling with diesel since there is less lubrication with diesel now then there was when the older diesels were designed and can cause issues if you keep running with out that extra lubrication. Newer diesel obviously won’t have as many issues with the newer fuel.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
28 days ago

where to buy and how much?

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
28 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I wanna know too!

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
28 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Ford Global Fleet Sales. Military budget pricing.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
28 days ago

So to foreign govs, maybe $60k, but with the special DoD discount, $2.5M?

Kleinlowe
Kleinlowe
27 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Well, it’s 25k each with a commitment to buy 100,000 over a 3-year period, but after the contract was signed it was discovered that the rear passenger footwell was too small for the new standards regarding maximum boot size, so the tooling costs for new seat mounts and floorpan were folded in to the contract, but then it was discovered that the vehicle’s electrical system was incompatible with field radios used by Army operators, so there was a delay as that was sorted. In the meantime, an election year happened, and the spending bill to fund acquisition was held up until Ford committed to building them in the committee chair’s home state, which meant changing the production line location, but due to those changes and [classified] modifications to fit [classified], the vehicle is no longer legal to offer to foreign governments or private buyers, so the entirety of all R&D, tooling, etc, had to be absorbed by the DoD, resulting in a per-unit cost of $250,000/vehicle, and the Marines, Army MP, and Navy had already decided to go with their own internal projects, so the contract was cancelled, but the original spending commitment remained in place, leading to one vehicle delivered at $2.5m.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
27 days ago
Reply to  Kleinlowe

Haha thank you for clarifying, I was missing the background of what drove it up to the $2.5. But hot damn what a truck it turned out to be, and by truck I mean mess.

Kleinlowe
Kleinlowe
27 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I have friends who used to work for Boeing and that’s all I can say more.

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
24 days ago
Reply to  Kleinlowe

So on point, clearly experienced in government procurement! You forgot the step where there was an updated funding manual, so everything had to be started over again using the new codes. I feel like there should be a school house rock about this!

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