Two days in the desert, focused on energy technologies
May 19, 2012
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (May 19, 2012) -- Senior leaders from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment (ASA IE&E), spent two days in the desert at the White Sands to see, touch and gain Soldier feedback on new power systems being evaluated in the field.
Assistant Secretary Katherine Hammack, Col. Tim Hill, director, operational energy and contingency basing, and Sgt. Maj. Tracey Anbiya, senior enlisted advisor, received a day long overview of the Network Integration Evaluation 12.2 tests. The second day was spent talking with and listening to the Soldiers of the 1st Battalion/6th Infantry, 1st Armored Division.
The Network Integration Evaluation (NIE 12.2), which began in late April, is the third in a series of Soldier-led, capabilities assessments and integration, during which they provide feedback on network and non-network capabilities in order to determine each systems implication across the Army. The Army's feedback will be provided to industry partners within weeks, so they can make necessary adjustments and appropriate investments regarding their technologies.
Although NIE is primarily focused on integrating communication networks spread across a battle space the size of Connecticut, the ASA (IE&E) team was focused on the power and energy required to operate those systems.
With each stop, the three leaders talked in depth to Soldiers who were evaluating several lightweight expeditionary power solutions designed for power scavenging, power distribution, power management, conformal batteries, renewable energy, and expeditionary chargers that are Soldier portable and/or wearable.
Among the systems being evaluated and demonstrated were the Expeditionary Soldier Power Suite, the Modular Universal Battery Charger, Central Cooling Command Post Operations, Net Zero Tactical Edge Package, Soldier Worn Integrated Power Equipment System, kinetic energy harvesting batteries, portable 1 kilowatt generators, and various solar panel and solar blanket units.
The Expeditionary Soldier Power Suite is comprised of power capability intended for sustainment of the Platoon, Squad, and individual Soldier. These systems provide expeditionary power in the Tier 1 Operating Environment.
Modular Universal Battery Charger is expected to replace the multiple specialized chargers required to support a variety of Lithium Ion batteries. The objective is to have a modular charger that provides either an 8 bay charger or 16 bay charger, depending on user needs, powered by multiple external power sources.
Soldier Worn Integrated Power Equipment System is a modular power distribution system designed for use with the conformal battery. For commonly used handheld communications, SWIPES utilizes MOLLE pouch mounted chargers to maintain a high level of charge (80 percent) within a original equipment manufacturer or OEM battery. SWIPES also provides direct power to various GPS units and Shot Detection Systems. This approach reduces the need for carrying spare batteries for each peripheral on multi day missions.
Soldier Power is a key enabler for dismounted combat operations. Providing energy alternatives to the most disadvantaged war fighter will allow a small unit to sustain themselves throughout extended missions while reducing battery load and reliance on logistics convoys.