Batteries suck. Can QinetiQ Find a Better Idea?
Modern technology gives soldiers many capabilities considered unthinkable 50 years ago, from ubiquitous night vision, to laser sighting that dramatically improves marksmanship, to GPS devices that make it possible for soldiers to know where they are at all times, and more. All these wonders come with a severe penalty, however: batteries. Power-hungry devices “eat” them quickly, and the batteries are not standardized for different systems. As a result, combat loads for already-overtaxed soldiers can easily go up by 10 pounds or more, just to accommodate the batteries.
This problem will only get worse as various “future infantry” programs continue to advance, bringing even more electronics in their train…
While the USA sponsors research into solar panels, hybrid vehicles as potential rechargers, and battery chemistry, Britain isn’t sitting idle. R&D specialists QinetiQ and ABSL Power Solutions Ltd. have just received a GBP 5 million ($9.2 million equivalent) contract for up to 3 years, in hopes of avoiding a future in which British FIST soldiers are gadget-loaded to death.
The award follows an open competition under the UK MOD’s “Technology in the Supplier Base (Output 6)” research program, and will be managed within the Army’s Dismounted Close Combat Integrated Project Team (DCC IPT).
Details re: the “Portable Power Systems Development Plan” can be found in their news release.