The Canadian military wants to make stealth snowmobiling something more than sneaking out of the house for a day of riding without the wife noticing.

According to a report on, Canada’s Department of Defence wants to build a new snowmobile for use in the country’s Arctic. A public tender has been posted for a hybrid-electric snowmobile and $550,000 has been secured for building a prototype.

The stealth snowmobile will be used for covert operations and the Department of Defence has made it clear that silence is a top priority.

“The noise level of an internal combustion engine cannot be reduced to an acceptable level for missions where covertness may be required, especially given the increased propagation of sound in cold, dry, Arctic air,” reads the tender. “Electric snowmobiles are a potential solution to this problem, eliminating the internal combustion engine and using a much quieter electric motor to drive the track system.”

You can bet that the Canadian military will be taking a close look at the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, an annual competition that challenges engineering students from colleges and universities to re-engineer snowmobiles to produce minimal emissions and operation sounds while maintaining or improving performance. You can read about it here.

According to the tender, the stealth snowmobile must have a range of at least 15 kilometers (about nine miles) at an average speed of 20 km/h (12 mph) when in quiet mode. Additionally, in gas-power mode the snowmobile must be able to travel at 30 km/h (18 mph) while towing a payload of 250 kg (551 pounds) with a range of 100 km (62 miles). It also must be able to reach a top speed of at least 75 km/h (46 mph).

The tender also states that the stealth snowmobile must have the ability to switch to silent mode easily and quickly with minimal tools.

All bids must be received by March 31, 2013.