Tag Archives: batteries

Recharging the Force

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Energy Harvesting and the Future of Warfighter Power

By George Jagels

The growing power demands for modern warfare, in which batteries for radios, GPS receivers, computers, and optics, among other devices, compete for rucksack space with water and ammunition, are forcing the U.S. military to rethink how it powers the warfighter. A reliable source of renewable energy could allow for fewer batteries clogging an already heavy rucksack. This would reduce both the numbers and variety of batteries carried, as rechargeable units could do most of the work. The result could be a more resilient force less dependent on complicated logistics and, consequently, engaging in fewer dangerous resupply operations.

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Electrons to the Lowest Echelon

The Army and USMC Get Power to Dismounted Troops

By George Jagels

Over the past ten years, American warfighters have become increasingly technologically advanced. More and more soldiers and Marines carry GPS, smartphones, networked radios, nightvision systems, and laptops. These devices give Americans an edge on the battlefield few can match; from long-distances to the darkest night, U.S. personnel talk to and see each other remarkably well. Through this interconnectedness and awareness, the dismounted squad, which the Army has been focusing on beefing up, might be able to achieve a major goal: supremacy over adversaries in the same way U.S. armor and air branches face no peer competitors.

This equipment, however, does not come “free.” With more power, so to speak, comes more responsibility—much of which literally ends up on the backs of soldiers and Marines. Though their capabilities are improved, the overall weight carried by warfighters changed little during the last decade (the soldier humps about 16 pounds of batteries, according to the Army). As a result, the DoD must strive for a near perfect balance: lower weight and greater capability.

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Operational Energy by the Numbers

Take a look at the DoD’s energy use by the numbers. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke has worked diligently over the past few years to make energy a greater consideration in acquisition and strategy. (Graphic courtesy of OASD OEPP)

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