By Dan Lafontaine, CCDC C5ISR Center Public AffairsOctober 16, 2019
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 16, 2019) -- The Army organization responsible for researching power solutions is partnering with the University of Texas at Arlington to improve batteries for a myriad of the service's modernization priorities.
The Army's Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center -- also known as the C5ISR Center -- began the collaborative project with researchers at UTA's Pulsed Power and Energy Laboratory in July.
The effort focuses on high power loads that use large amounts of energy stored in batteries and release it in a pulse measuring in nanoseconds. The process causes enormous power transients, which scientists and engineers can investigate for a wide range of purposes.
UTA's PPEL team researches the challenges faced when energy storage must be integrated in as small a footprint as possible, which often demands that the energy storage be safely operated at higher than normal power rates, according to its website. UTA researchers are developing a battery-sizing software tool, based on empirical data collected in the lab, which will enable the Army to determine the correct battery configurations for future Department of Defense programs.
Dr. David Alan Wetz Jr., director of strategic initiatives at UTA's College of Engineering, said the goal is to allow the Army to determine the types and number of batteries that will be needed, while minimizing the volume, for the large number of vehicle and weapons platforms that could benefit.
"Batteries hold a great deal of promise for use in these applications, but there are many out there and each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The challenge is to find the right ones that meet the power, energy and size requirements," Wetz said.
Three Army modernization priorities -- Future Vertical Lift, Next-Generation Combat Vehicle and Long-Range Precision Fires -- could benefit from the research and development partnership with UTA, said Julie Douglas, the High Power/Energy Development team lead for the C5ISR Center, which is a component of the Combat Capabilities Development Command and aligned to Army Futures Command.
Given a specific mission and potential size constraints, the Army will be able to use the UTA-developed software to determine which set of batteries is the optimal power source. Designing and building these high power loads into compact form factors is essential to fielding usable applications for a myriad of military platforms.
"UTA's tool will increase Army power quality. We'll improve reliability and availability of power on the platform," Douglas said. "Everything we need to adapt to changing requirements is going to be in this tool. As the Army develops new chemistries, we can use the sizing tool to understand ideal configurations and form factors."
Beth Ferry, C5ISR Center's Power Division chief, said working with academia for this type of R&D is ideal for the Army's needs.
"The UTA tool will be government-owned, and we'll be able to use it across DoD for any project," Ferry said. "This allows the military to save tremendous R&D time and money in the future."
The CCDC C5ISR Center is the Army's applied research and advanced technology development center for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- or C5ISR -- capabilities. As the Army's primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army Modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.
The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our Nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.